You can always tell there was a holiday weekend

Because public transit systems go to absolute shit.

Today’s was interesting. Got to the North Quincy station at 4:08. Usually it’s just a couple minutes and the Red Line into Boston is there. Not today – no it got there at 4:17PM which means I missed the 4:35PM commuter back to Providence. Had to wait until 5:00PM for the next one. And of course the Red Line drivers go REALLY slowly between North Quincy and JFK.

And then there’s RIPTA – now up to 7PM the #27 and #28 bus run every twenty minutes, staggered so service to Broadway where I live is every 10 minutes. Not so tonight, Got to the berth at 6:30PM and waited – at 6:45PM and no bus I walked home.

Now I understand that after a holiday weekend you’ll have your no-shows as far as co-workers and bus drivers. But really this type of behavior on the part of RIPTA is irksome – because all the buses are GPS tracked. On the entire 20 minute walk home I didn’t see on westbound bus at all.

I’ve now made a resolution to put money aside and buy a car. I’d rather put up with traffic then to have trains to stupid things like move like a snail, or park in Mansfield for 10-15 minutes so Amtrak trains could go by us.

Now I know, I-93 and i-95 could be slightly hellish. But I’ll take that hell over commuter rail and subways.

MBTA Commuter Appreciation Day

Or as I call it their Mea Culpa for a few months of services that were slow as shit running down a wall and at times didnt even run at all.

And what was going on – on the commute home both yesterday and today I noticed an inordinately high number of kids on the train. Not something you see all the time. Was it bring your son/daughter to work Thursday and Friday or something? I can understand why I didn’t get the memo – the fantasy of having kids is vastly overruled by the old frontal cortex that chimes in about how expensive a kid can be and all the attendant grief that ensues.

Anyhow back on topic – the Commuter Appreciation Day. The nice part was the flow at South Station. Much better when they leave the gates open. In fact that got me to thinking, where does the command for the gates to stay open come from? And it is it possible to say hack into that system from my phone and well you get the idea right?

Slightly hellish commutes and the reason for them (MBTA Commuter and Red Line)

So this evening I get to Central square and the next train isn’t for another ten minutes. What the fuck? Get to South Station with seven minutes to spare, or so I thought. The 4:08PM commuter from Boston to Wickford Junction didn’t leave until 4:23PM.

It pulled into Providence at 5:45PM. But the beautiful part – for once the RIPTA #27 bus was on schedule.

Now why does this happen, particularly to the MBTA commuter side? Its because the signalling and switching on the tracks is in serious need of replacement/improvement. Of course those objects don’t belong to the MBTA – they belong to Amtrak, the same Amtrak where Congress refuses to inject money.

Meanwhile in Japan they’re testing out a Magnetic Levitation train that does 313MPH. I would love to lobby congress to fund something like that that starts in Boston, stops at Providence, Hartford, NYC and DC. Build it right above the current track right of way. You realize – at 313MPH Boston and Providence become bedroom communities for NYC because a ride into the city is about 40 minutes at MagLev speeds.

So to start I’m tagging my federal elected congress critters on this post. Maybe, just maybe that will get their attention.

For once the MBTA was on time today

Amazing. Sometimes the planets and stars align such that the MBTA commuter rail from Boston to Providence was on time this evening.

Of course this morning it was a different story. Mechanical issues delayed the 6:33AM train until 6:55AM.

But as I said, accolades for running right on time this evening.

Today’s MBTA What the Fuck Moments

So as has been the usual the commuter from Providence to Boston has been consistently 15 to 20 minutes late coming into Boston. Granted – sometimes they left Providence late but the past two days they switched it up. The commuter was there and parked in Providence Station at 6:15AM, and departed on time at 6:33AM. But still 15 minutes late into Boston.

And then there’s the Red Line subway. I get to the platform in South Station and I note the minutes to next train aren’t decrementing as the time on the clock to the upper right. It takes approximately 11 minutes to decrement the train time by 1 minute. After 20 minutes the train shows up. It’s packed. But as we get to Kendall Station an announcement is made.

Yes, from Kendall to Alewife they decided to make the train I was on an EXPRESS train, meaning they skip Central, Harvard, Porter etc. My stop is Central. So I get off the train at Kendall and wait for the NEXT Red Line. That one delivers me to the Central stop.

I once thought that only RIPTA could be a total cluster fuck – but no the MBTA takes the cake.

RIPTA and their Clock Problem

So today – I get to Bus Stop V at 5:48PM. And the #27 bus is taking off. I give it the old open palm gesture – I know the driver could see me but he kept going.

I figured I’d wait for the 6:00PM #28 as it goes down Broadway too. But it never came. By 6:10PM I gave up and walked home.

But then it struck me – all RIPTA’s clocks are two minutes fast.

But then MBTA today was fun – the 4:08PM didn’t leave until 4:15PM because, and I kid you not, they couldn’t find the engineer.

Why do public transit systems go to shit in cold weather?

So this evening on the way back to ¬†Providence on the MBTA Commuter and announcement comes over that dispatch is ordering them to stop at Route 128 and Canton Junction. Something about that struck me as odd and I’ll explain why.

At each stop only one person got off the train. But here’s the rub – how did the dispatchers know that people go on the wrong train in the first place? Yeah – something reeks on that one. But the end result is we get into Providence at 5:50PM a full 25 minutes late. Of course the MBTA service has been shit all week. And I suspect with 12 inches of snow coming next week will be awful too.

And RIPTA true to form whenever it’s cold and snowy/rainy ¬†– RIPTA is always late. It’s funny they put up these displays on all the shelters in Kennedy Plaza but the one for the 27/28 buses isn’t switched on yet. I wonder why. And I’m pretty sure they have GPS tracking on those buses now. In fact the level of technology on a bus has gone up seriously in the past 40 years. I remember when buses had manual transmissions, no air conditioning, no electronic fare boxes, no tracking, no traffic light holding equipment, and no cameras. Now of course all of that has changed, they’re automatics now and air conditioned. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that RIPTA is consistently late.

I’d like to see about 50 Billion dollars invested in improving public transit in the northeast region. I’m pretty sure if you got the congressional delegates from New Hampshire on down through Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island you have quite a few congress critters and senators. Maybe if they put their heads together we could get first class public transit systems.