Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Disabled Trains and Signal Problems

Dear MBTA,

Terrible Red Line service this morning. My normally 15 minute commute took me over an hour. First I was on the disabled train at Harvard which took nearly 15 minutes trying to move itself out of the station and which was later decommissioned at Central, and then to top it all off, there was a signal problem at Park Street that kept me on the new train moving between Central and Park Street for over a half hour.

For today, I got to Porter at 7am and arrived at my destination at Ruggles at 8:15. I was fifteen minutes late to work, a job that doesn't enable me to just make up the work later, as I'm a teacher. My students were left waiting for me.

I am writing for a fee reimbursement for this horrendous commute. While $2 is certainly nominal, I buy a monthly pass and with all of the service problems I've experienced, I feel I am entitled to a free yearly monthly pass. But I'll settle for $2 for this morning's commute.

I'm 26 and in my years taking the T for work from high school to present, I've had more harrowing experiences than I can recount. But let me try: I once had to disembark a blue line train in a tunnel and walk with fellow passengers in a single-file line to Airport, had a door on a blue line train swing open in between a stop, been in a car where the doors didn't open for my stop but the train proceeded to the next station, of which I had to use the emergency call button to tell the driver for the other passengers, a green line train where the top bulkhead of the door fell on my head, subway AND commuter rail trains where the heat was blasting in the dead of summer, and have been on more disabled (or should I say, soon to-go disabled) trains than I can remember; not to mention the countless waiting times at stations while service was clogged with disabled trains (of which, the system desperately needs a third rail to move disabled trains onto to wait out peak hours).

I know the system is over a hundred years old. As a student of history, I appreciate the historical nature of the MBTA and for the most part, I believe the service provided is strong. Of course the negative is always going to outweigh the positive in the minds of patrons, but in the MBTA's case, it feels as though things are going poorly without any signs of improvement. I also understand that the system is a "bit" strapped for cash at the moment, which is why I advocate for more federal and state funding to assist our nation's ailing transportation systems. Sadly our nation is too dependent on cars and those who have their pockets lined with oil are too busy disabling, dismantling, or out-voicing public transit needs.

As for the MBTA's poor service, in my opinion I think it would be a show of good faith for the GM or someone of similar position to write an editorial apologizing to the thousands of Boston-area workers who have been late to work due to poor service within the system. While some workers can show up late with little or no repercussion, many lose wages for showing up late. And others, such as myself, leave eager students waiting for a teacher stuck underground.

I'm a loyal rider and proud to rely on the MBTA for my transportation needs. However more needs to be done to improve service during peak hours, and if that isn't a possibility, then the MBTA needs more people on the ground to be the face of the organization to appease unhappy riders such as myself.