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This will be our new home

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MBTA expanding its driver’s license requirement – Boston.com

MBTA expanding its driver’s license requirement – Boston.com

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Blaming BC students? Not so fast – The Boston Globe

Blaming BC students? Not so fast – The Boston Globe

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MBTA sacks five more managers in alleged mileage scheme – Local News Updates – MetroDesk – The Boston Globe

MBTA sacks five more managers in alleged mileage scheme – Local News Updates – MetroDesk – The Boston Globe

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Some T stations to be unstaffed at night?

A customer service agent told me that some T stations, including Davis and the outbound side of Central Square, will be unstaffed every night starting this Saturday. She wasn’t sure whether the last station agent would leave at 7 pm or 10 pm.

Needless to say, she doesn’t think this is a good idea, and neither do I. Anyone know more?

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MBCR replies to Worcester Line service complaint

Kelly Crosby complained to MBCR about consistently late trains on the Worcester Line:

Greetings,
I have been very happy with the results I have received from this form in the past, and hope to get an answer now.

I understand why the Framingham / Worcester line has so many problems; I knew its situation when I started riding it. Most of the time, service is acceptable.

However, I have one question. I take the 7:07am train out of Worcester daily (boarding at Ashland and riding to South Station.) I take the 4:58pm Worcester express home (exiting at Ashland.) I have been riding these trains for many moons now, and they are consistently 10 to 15 minutes late. I have come to accept that this is just the way it is, but my question is this: why does the MBTA not update the schedules to allow for these extra daily delays? Are the schedules posted for the Worcester line just goals? Why not just say that the 7:07am train will arrive in South Station at 8:35 (as it consistently does) rather than aim for 8:23am, which is, frankly, impossible?

I am not trying to be rude or complain about a certain incident. My fellow passengers and I discuss this often and would truly like a valid response. We would be a lot less frustrated if the schedules were updated and followed accurately, even if it meant admitting that the trains would be arriving later.

Linda Dillon of MBCR Customer Service replied:

I have read your email concerning the scheduling of trains on the Worcester Line.

Please allow me to attempt to explain the rather unique situation we encounter on this line.

Scheduling trains is a difficult process, and with each review that is done prior to a change, a number of factors are taken into consideration. With some trains, or train times, crew and equipment availability is a problem. In other areas, we have to balance our schedules with other companies, whether passenger rail or freight. Of course in this instance, on the Worcester Line, I am sure you are well aware that we are at the mercy of CSX, the owner/operator of this line; whether it is a matter of imposed speed restrictions, the times that they are running their freight trains, or the ongoing track work along the Worcester main line. There is also the impact that changing the time of one train will have to not only other trains on the line, but along the system as well. Many lines share stops as they come closer to Boston, so there must be some balance between the trains.

I have forwarded your comments about the Worcester Line trains to personnel in the Operations and Planning Department, to be considered in future discussions.

While I realize that I have not provided a solution, I do apologize for the frequent inconveniences and hope that this information is helpful.

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A reader writes: Disappointed in Mac Daniel’s column today

[Until Charlie returns from the West Coast, I’ll be occasionally fillling in for him. — Ron Newman]

From today’s mailbag:

Hi Charlie on the M(B)TA,

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the Globe today. Nothing new
in it, but I was really dumbfounded by the silly Starts & Stops
column this morning
.

BTW, I’m a native SF-er who’s lived in Boston for the past three
years. Glad you liked “my” city and its transit system. BART is far
better than commuter rail (hey — it may be dirty, but at least the
lights work!), and I think is a good model for an commuter-friendly,
region-wide system.

MUNI has gotten a lot better over the last 10 years; former mayor
Willie Brown set out to fix it, and I think he did a pretty good
job. Shows that maybe even the stodgy ol’ MBTA could be given a
shaking-up.

Jon Roberts
Boston, MA

Date: March 11, 2007 9:32:05 AM PDT
To: starts@globe.com
Cc: ombud@globe.com, letter@globe.com
Subject: Disappointed in reporting

Dear Mr. Daniel,

I enjoy your column and the “transport beat” that you have at the
Globe. But I’m starting to wonder where the teeth are in your
articles. In today’s Starts & Stops, you mention three people who
complained to the T, but whose complaints the T has no record of.
A new customer service system “may” be the issue for having, it
would seem, systematically tossed complaint letters in the trash?
Why let it go at that? Why not ask the next five or ten questions
that naturally follow on?

It seems that of all the local travesties, the T is handled with
the “kiddest” of gloves. Massport, the Turnpike Authority, and
others all get a good grilling, but the T is let off with their
spokespeople saying “oh, good point, we’ll look into it.”.

I think the Globe really needs to turn its eye to some of the
fundamental issues at the T. A few that pop right to mind:

* Why is customer service responsiveness so poor? Why does the T
feel so unaccountable to its customers and to the media?

* Why are projects so delayed? Kenmore Station? Charles Street?

* Why is service so spotty? The boarding delays with Charlie on
the Green line? Commuter rail cars with no heat or lights?

* Are funds being spent properly?

These are important local issues that deserve strong investigative
reporting. The T isn’t the Kremlin; it’s a taxpayer-funded,
service-providing, fully accountable agency. I would hope Globe
would treat it as such.

Best,
Jon Roberts
Boston, MA

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