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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Running late

MBTA management is mimicking its own on-time performance in dealing with chronically delayed new commuter rail cars.

A letter threatening manufacturer Hyundai Rotem with cancellation of a $190 million order if they don't get off the stick may have finally gotten the company's attention but you have to wonder why it took so long for that train to enter the station in the first place.

T officials were not talking to the Globe and one can assume there is at least a hat tip to new general manager Beverly Scott for launching the warning shot across the company's bow.

The contract signed in 2008 called for the delivery of 75 coaches, with final deliveries promised by the end of 2012. When the clock struck 12 on the last year, the T had received only four coaches -- all within the previous four months and all now being tested.

While the sleek new cars promise improvements over the ancient, ventilation-challenged coaches now in use, it would be hard for a cynic not to think of one word in response.


Years of delays and excuses produced cars that spent their first months in service derailing and still leaving passengers climbing up and down stairs through narrow clogged aisles, a  real joy when the Green Line refuses to open doors as its primary attack on fare evaders.

Let's think for a second what would happen if the order was indeed cancelled: how may more years (and millions) would be involved, all the while commuters are forced to pay constantly escalating costs for substandard service the breaks down at the slightest hint of bad weather.

I suppose Scott deserves an A for effort on this but the threat seems awfully late -- and hollow.

A bigger test will come in seeing how the T handles the new contract for running the train system.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

When suburbanites complain about the fact that the Green Line has switched to front door only loading, I am always amazed that they dont realize this is how it always has been for bus riders. Why isn't there similar demands for us bus riders to be able to just hop in the rear door of buses. It would certainly speed loading, but like on the green line there would be cheaters. Why should green line riders be allowed to use all doors but not bus riders, who endure the slowest commutes in the MBTA system?

January 11, 2013 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we as a society began to enforce codes of conduct on each other to make people abide by the law we would all have an easier time. If you saw a fare cheater and your seatmate did and someone across the aisle, and reported them and they were forced to pay up then costs would go down and convienence would go up. The same for welfare cheats, tax evaders etc.

January 11, 2013 12:02 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Last time I looked Commonwealth Avenue through BU was not suburban. And bus riders are expected to exit through the rear door, not the front door, as the T is demanding of Green Line riders who are paying a price in inconvenience because students are not paying. And if I recall, many of the suburban D Line stations have shelters and fare machines that allow all-door operation.

January 12, 2013 6:50 AM  

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