The T and Large Events

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby BandA » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:46 pm

or they could have the parade in Providence. Or Foxborough.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby CRail » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:39 am

If the crowds are that significant during a day of the week, imagine what the crowd size would be on a weekend. It may be less of an impact on the transportation system but it would have a much greater impact on crowd control and public safety. Having them during the day in the middle of the week is quite deliberate.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Red Wing » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:25 am

On the Keolis side, What if there are more "short turn" trains? Turn more trains around at say Anderson or Littleton. Shorter trips mean faster turn around times. Of course that would be at a cost to riders from the ends. What parking lots have the most capacity? This could be another option run more trains to those stations. Why not contract lower used stations to Peter Pan on those days? Why not contract with the Island Ferries to run some trips up here for parade days, they surely have extra capacity when most teams end their seasons.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Trinnau » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:54 am

I'll point you back a few pages to my response in 2017 after the Patriot's parade. That's what they do. They ran 30 extra trains this time around.

The reality is the commuter rail system is designed and resourced (staff, coaches) to handle the current volume of regular commuting passengers. Sure there is some excess capacity in the early/late peak and the off-peak hours, but simply put, they can't ramp up any more than they did. If they had tons of spare employees and equipment around, we'd be criticizing them for being wasteful.

And for those of you who are lobbying for a weekend, sure the regular workforce won't be impacted, but the T would still be taking the same kind of criticism. Again, resources are designed and planned around Monday-Friday. It's impossible to run a weekday schedule on a Saturday or Sunday - or you could, but you would devastate a Monday or Friday to do it. Federal Hours of Service regulations are a big factor. The railroad doesn't have forced overtime, so all those engineers and conductors who work Mon-Fri, who you would need to cover a weekend parade, are not obligated to work, and if they did, it might impact their ability to work their regular job. Just go back and look at articles on the Bruins 2011 and Red Sox 2013 parades for the last time they were on the weekend.

If there is a parade and the fans come out, no matter what day of the week, the T is not going to be able to move everyone. There simply aren't unlimited resources.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby RenegadeMonster » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:40 am

Red Wing wrote:On the Keolis side, What if there are more "short turn" trains? Turn more trains around at say Anderson or Littleton. Shorter trips mean faster turn around times.


It might work on some lines, but overall I don't think it would work Across the board. On the North Side a lot of people from Maine and New Hampshire were catching the train in Newburyport. I have heard from co-workers who did go into work that morning that the trains were all full by Ipswich. This resulted in a several trains passing Salem completely because they were filled to capacity. I'm sure Haverhill and Lowell lines probably saw similar but not as high demand from the origin station due to being a little further out from 95. To the south probably the same with the Providence line.

The main issue on the Newburyport line was trains were filling up in Newbury port like an evening rush out of North Station and then only had to pile more people on at every stop.

We are exceeding capacity on normal commutes let alone on rush days. For example the train I ride in the morning the conductor says calls for 6 cars, 2 of them being double deckers. At least 2 or 3 times a week we get a 4 car set that only contains 1 double decker. It's not uncommon for people to be standing down the aisles because there is no seats starting at Salem. Very rely do we see that 6 car set. When I have complained about the 4 car sets to Keolis the answer has always been "It's better to run with what we got than not run at all".

And that's true of Parade day. They did the best they could with that they have.

The only real solution to make things run smoother in future events is invest in more coaches. We can continue to run at or above capacity routinely and expect to be able to handle big events.

When I talked to Keolis management they know they need more coaches. They admitted they should be ordering more every year for the last few years to just cover the coaches going out of service for midlife overhauls let alone expanding capacity. Also that any coaches ordered take 5 years from when they are ordered until they are delivered. They of course defer the blame to the MBTA for not ordering coaches.

I wonder what the root reason is why the MBTA has not been ordering any coaches. Is it a budgeting issue?
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby jmar896 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:35 pm

Personally, I think that the coach issue could be resolved to an extent without significant fiscal hardship to the MBTA, and in a relatively short period. How? The MBB cars could get a very baseline rebuild to stay in service for the next 5-10 years. They are structurally integral (or, they would not be able to be leased), and are still relatively young so a rebuild would be an option that has some sensibility to it.

Floors rot out on every vehicle - see midlife overhauls on buses and more. That seems to be a pretty large complaint of the MBB's, but for 30 years old it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Easy fix, not super expensive. Control cars lack PTC? Do what has been done many times and convert them to BTC cars. I think many of the biggest issues in peoples eyes have feasible solutions.

CtDOT spend 4.45 million on rehabbing the 16 MBB's they leased, which breaks down to ~280K a car. As we all saw, they were basic repairs at the least, but provided functional coaches including a paint job (or wrap) and more. Its a far cry from the ~1.5 million a car K-Car rebuild, which is probably of similar scope to the original intent when the MBTA looked into rebuilding them in 2013. I don't doubt there is a company that would be willing to do a similar level rehab for that ~250K mark, and even if they only last another 10 years it solves at least the short term problem at hand.

In any case, the rule of thumb is have an additional 20% of your fleet for spares. The MBTA clearly doesn't have that now, so even the extra 20 or so coaches that could be rehabbed could make a huge difference.

Of course, they still would need to order more new cars in the timeframe of the rehabbed ones in service, but it will prevent this issue becoming more & more prevalent over the next 10 years.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby diburning » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:35 am

CRail wrote:If the crowds are that significant during a day of the week, imagine what the crowd size would be on a weekend. It may be less of an impact on the transportation system but it would have a much greater impact on crowd control and public safety. Having them during the day in the middle of the week is quite deliberate.


Agreed. I'd imagine that more people would go to the parade on the weekend. When they have the parade on a weekday, there would be plenty of people (myself included) that have to work instead of going to the parade. Having the parade on a weekend would result in even more disappointed folks who can't get on the train, the system would be woefully understaffed for the crush load because they can't reasonably schedule weekday staffing on the off chance that the event occurs. And on top of that, there would be a lot more vehicles on the road.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Disney Guy » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:32 am

Who wants to guess the latent unmet demand?

That is, if we imagined more train service, would there be more people showing up at the stations and/or not giving up and leaving unaccommodated so that the level of crowding and discomfort and waiting in line would be just as great as it was for this Super Bowl parade?

How much more service would need to be added (another guess -- 50% more, 80% more?) to get to the point that crowding and discomfort are noticeably alleviated?

To the guy looking out the window on the top floor of the ugly City Hall down on Scollay Sq. drenched by pouring rain: "What if this were all snow?"

To the guy looking out the window on the top floor of the ugly City Hall and off in the distance at the huge crowd waiting for trains at North Station: "Think of all the cars that did not come into the city since those folks all rode the train!"
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby CRail » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:01 pm

Keolis is hired to operate and maintain the MBTA's equipment, none of it is theirs (except that they own the lease on the GATX work units). They have nothing to do with procuring the Authority's equipment, which is a capital expense. Capital expenses are not budgeted and are typically underwritten by the federal government facilitated by some state and MBTA funds. They're not going to order a handful of cars so a few trains can go from 4 to 5 or 5 to 6 cars, as the cost per car would skyrocket if they did, they'll wait until a big order is necessary and justifiable to Uncle Sam. I don't mean to negate the need for more equipment, as it certainly is real, but when you're in a crowd of public agencies hungry for funding, you have to prove your hunger really loudly to get fed.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby benboston » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:21 pm

Remember, the Netherlands has announced that train service between nine cities will reach frequencies of 10 mins by 2040. This means that we should strive for the same on our commuter railroads. The MBTA must be electrified for faster acceleration and faster turn around times.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby CRail » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:31 am

Why does what happens in the Netherlands dictate what US cities need and what does systemwide electrification have to do with how the MBTA handles ridership for large events?
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Rbts Stn » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:36 am

BandA wrote:Somebody needs to stand up and say no, we aren't going to have the parade on a weekday, normal business is too important. The T needs to say no, we aren't going to provide ANY special service for the parade.

You could move someplace where they don't have parades like this. New York City, for instance?
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby charding » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:24 am

...or Los Angeles...or San Francisco...or Philadelphia...or Jacksonville...or Green Bay...as both the Globe and Herald published, 'it never grows old'...Go Sox!! Go Pats!! Go Bruins!!! Go Celts!!
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby CRail » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:45 am

Burn!
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