The theory behind this process, whereby trains meet at a central location and transfers are guaranteed, is sound. However, in practice, things go awry.
Here’s what happens. If trains adhere to schedule and meet at 12:45 a.m., they should all leave downtown by 12:55 a.m. However, the last train to Heath Street arrives there at 12:47 a.m., and turns around to head back downtown. This last train is designated as a “w” train, which means that all other trains wait for it to arrive at Park Street. Although those trains (if they are on schedule) are ready to head out at 12:45 a.m., they must still wait at least another 21 minutes for our lonely E-Line train to arrive. If the E-Line train is running late, the trains wait longer, sometimes pushing an hour.
In the past 30 days, on no day did the trains leave before 1:09 a.m., and on average they sat at Park and Downtown Crossing 10 minutes later than that. On some nights, if the Lechmere train is late, other trains may not get to the end of the line until 2 a.m. And the problem doesn’t end then. It is exacerbated because the buses waiting for transfers from Wonderland to Forest Hills can only begin their trips once the trains have departed for their night’s rest.
This may all seem a bit mind-numbing, but here is the bottom line: because of one E-Line train traveling from Heath Street to Lechmere, the rest of the system sits idle, often longer than half an hour, costing the T millions of dollars every year, decreasing the time available for subway maintenance, and depriving T riders of funds that could be put to much better use than paying conductors and bus drivers to sit idle every night.
In particular, the claim that the MBTA spends upwards of $3.8 million per year on connections for wait trips each night is wrong. In reality, this figure is much lower, as the wait trips are estimated to cost roughly $500,000 annually. Also, the assumption that the MBTA end-of-day service shutdown is delayed solely because of one Green Line E branch train is incorrect. The shutdown is a deliberate, impressive, and well-synchronized process, which is managed by dispatchers each evening.
The shutdown is a deliberate, impressive, and well-synchronized process, which is managed by dispatchers each evening.
BostonUrbEx wrote:The shutdown is a deliberate, impressive, and well-synchronized process, which is managed by dispatchers each evening.
That alone is a load of bull, as every person who has ever taken the last train can tell you. How could the MBTA even keep a straight face when their little press release was put out?
The issue I brought attention to is one that people are experiencing every day. The data, and the experience of people who use the system, demonstrate pretty clearly that shutdown of service at night is rarely (if ever) on schedule. Whether the reason is late E-Line trains or other late trains), the problem is costing the MBTA precious funds that could be usefully deployed elsewhere.
CRail wrote:After seeing what? I've witnessed the routine quite a bit myself.
Regardless of what your twitter data app feed map google droid says, it's a bogus claim, that's NOT what happens.
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