Weekend Service on the chopping block

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby Red Wing » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:20 pm

On the Northside I know that LRTA owns the parking in Lowell and North Billerica. MRTA owns Leominster Fitchburg and Wachusett soon to be Ayer when the new garage is built. MVRTA owns Haverhill, Bradford and Lawrence. The catch is most are farmed out to LAZ. I'm sure there are more throughout the system owned by other RTA's or municipalities
Red Wing
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:55 pm
Location: On the B&B

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:49 pm

Red Wing wrote:On the Northside I know that LRTA owns the parking in Lowell and North Billerica. MRTA owns Leominster Fitchburg and Wachusett soon to be Ayer when the new garage is built. MVRTA owns Haverhill, Bradford and Lawrence. The catch is most are farmed out to LAZ. I'm sure there are more throughout the system owned by other RTA's or municipalities


These are the RTA- and town-managed stations that fall outside traditional T maintenance. . .

RTA's
BAT (Middleboro Line) -- Brockton
GATRA (Providence Line) -- Attleboro
LRTA (Lowell Line) -- Lowell, N. Billerica
MRTA (Fitchburg Line) -- Wachusett, Fitchburg, N. Leominster
MVTA (Haverhill Line) -- Lawrence
MWRTA (Worcester Line) -- Framingham

Other agencies
Amtrak (Providence Line) -- Route 128 (platforms & waiting room only; garage is MBTA/LAZ)
Massport (Lowell Line) -- Anderson RTC
Out-of-state (Providence Line, RIDOT & sub-contractors) -- Providence, T. F. Green, Wickford Jct.
Private (Newburyport/Rockport Line) -- River Works (GE)

Town-control
Fitchburg Line -- Shirley, Ayer (until the MRTA garage comes), South Acton, West Concord, Concord, Lincoln, Hastings (Town of Weston), Kendal Green (Town of Weston), Waltham Ctr.
Lowell Line -- Winchester Ctr., Wedgemere (Town of Winchester)
Haverhill/Reading Line -- N. Wilmington, Greenwood (Town of Wakefield), Melrose Highlands, Melrose/Cedar Park, Wyoming Hill (City of Melrose)
Newburyport/Rockport Line -- Rockport, Beverly Farms, Ipswich
Worcester Line -- Worcester, Wellesley Square, Wellesley Hills, Wellesley Farms, Newtonville
Franklin Line -- Endicott (Town of Dedham)
Needham Line -- Needham Center
Providence Line -- Mansfield, Sharon


NOTE: List doesn't get into splitting-hairs matters of what/how much shared control there may be between T and other parties, and detail may vary on MBTA.com's station pages on who controls what. The RTA-managed stations usually--but not always--are part-and-parcel the RTA's responsibilities. Town-control stops can run the gamut. All you can deduce for-sure from those is that the towns do the parking fare collections and lot management (plowing, etc.) and not LAZ, and in *more cases than not* the town would handle platform snow removal in lieu of LAZ. A million different fine-print variables could throw other forms of shared control in a blender.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7010
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby leviramsey » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:55 pm

Weekend service isn't why the commuter rail's subsidy per ride is so high. Maintenance of rolling stock (a function of fleet size more than mileage) and way (almost zero effect from train-miles) is where the costs are, and weekend service at the current levels contributes basically nothing to those: the weekend service (a train each way every 3 hours or so) requires only a fraction of the double-track that is extant and you could meet the weekend service level with less than a quarter of the fleet. On a marginal basis, the cost of weekend service is mostly fuel (call it $300 for a Wachusett round trip) and staffing ($500 including benefits for engineer/conductor/ass't conductor for said roundtrip): maybe toss an extra $200 in expenses to get to a round $1,000. 180 pax per roundtrip (allowing for discounts etc.) yields a positive profit margin and that isn't that far from the actual weekend ridership (even taking the reduced ridership implied by Keolis into account). A rush hour train on the same route likely has a marginal cost of 10x that (and there aren't many rush hour round trips with 1800 pax).

There are basically 3 reasons people ride CR: to save gas costs, to avoid traffic, and because they don't have easy access to a car. For the first, fares have increased by, what, 20% since 2013 while gas prices are a little more than half what they were (i.e. CR fares have basically doubled relative to gas). The second reason is basically a non-factor on the weekends. The third may have increased, but nowhere near enough to offset the first.

I strongly suspect that:

* 25% hike on peak-direction rush hour trains
* c. 50% cut on off-peak trains

Would probably cut the subsidy per ride in half (and represent a fare cut to low-income/carless riders (who are disproportionately off-peak) on balance)
leviramsey
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:12 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby Abe Froman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:56 pm

leviramsey speculated:

"On a marginal basis, the cost of weekend service is mostly fuel (call it $300 for a Wachusett round trip) and staffing ($500 including benefits for engineer/conductor/ass't conductor for said roundtrip): maybe toss an extra $200 in expenses to get to a round $1,000. 180 pax per roundtrip (allowing for discounts etc.) yields a positive profit margin and that isn't that far from the actual weekend ridership (even taking the reduced ridership implied by Keolis into account). A rush hour train on the same route likely has a marginal cost of 10x that (and there aren't many rush hour round trips with 1800 pax)."

Weekend RT runs to/from Wachusett do not come anywhere close to 180 passengers boarding per weekend total let alone per trip-and that includes the 3-4 months of snow train operation.

Therein rests the most visible cause for the commuter rail operating deficit, i.e. unwarranted and unnecessary costly expansion and the extension of service(s) for which there is minimal, if any, demand. Obviously, the cheapest possible method-and the most effective method-to address this is to lop those exhibiting such mindset from the decision-making process.
Abe Froman
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Leviramsey's calculation was based on all the passengers on a Wachusett train, not just the ones who get on or off at Wachusett.

Weekend travel is different from weekday travel. Teens travel in packs. Families travel together. Parking is easier. Fares should reflect that. I've mentioned Metra's cheap weekend deal (kids free with adults) before; it's more generous than the T's family fares, and it seems to get families onto trains to get to family-attracting things like museums. Oslo offers the same deal on all public transport on weekends. UTA in greater Salt Lake City offers a group rate 7 days a week: up to four adults traveling together can get a day pass for less than half the price of four separate day passes. I assume so few people commute together that UTA loses essentially no revenue by offering this group rate, and gains riders and revenue by luring some groups and families out of cars. If any parent on the Needham Line could take two kids to the Children's Museum for the price of a round-trip adult ticket, or if four could ride together for less than half the price of four separate tickets, the T would probably earn more in fares on that line on a Saturday than they do now. And so on for other destinations. Right now the T is losing a bunch of fares because people drive instead, yet I'm guessing the people in charge can't get past the idea that some people who are now paying full fares would pay less, so they keep pricing groups and families into cars.

And where are all the posters advertising destinations along the lines? Where are the campaigns to get people to take the T to North Shore beaches, to Lowell's museums, to downtown museums, etc., etc.? All that wouldn't cost much; a lot of it could be on the T's own website for very little cost.
Arborwayfan
 
Posts: 649
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:27 am
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby Abe Froman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:02 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:Leviramsey's calculation was based on all the passengers on a Wachusett train, not just the ones who get on or off at Wachusett.

Weekend travel is different from weekday travel. Teens travel in packs. Families travel together. Parking is easier. Fares should reflect that. I've mentioned Metra's cheap weekend deal (kids free with adults) before; it's more generous than the T's family fares, and it seems to get families onto trains to get to family-attracting things like museums. Oslo offers the same deal on all public transport on weekends. UTA in greater Salt Lake City offers a group rate 7 days a week: up to four adults traveling together can get a day pass for less than half the price of four separate day passes. I assume so few people commute together that UTA loses essentially no revenue by offering this group rate, and gains riders and revenue by luring some groups and families out of cars. If any parent on the Needham Line could take two kids to the Children's Museum for the price of a round-trip adult ticket, or if four could ride together for less than half the price of four separate tickets, the T would probably earn more in fares on that line on a Saturday than they do now. And so on for other destinations. Right now the T is losing a bunch of fares because people drive instead, yet I'm guessing the people in charge can't get past the idea that some people who are now paying full fares would pay less, so they keep pricing groups and families into cars.

And where are all the posters advertising destinations along the lines? Where are the campaigns to get people to take the T to North Shore beaches, to Lowell's museums, to downtown museums, etc., etc.? All that wouldn't cost much; a lot of it could be on the T's own website for very little cost.


(leviramsey's pointed) Possibly so, but let's not overlook the obvious fact that a weekend passenger riding from (for example) Porter Sq. to South Acton pays less in fare, which tends to mitigate your point from a fiscal perspective to a distinction lacking a difference. Riders/users travelling shorter distances pay less and contribute less to deficit offset. I've viewed the Fitchburg route more than any other-weekend trains are all but MT from South Acton west and have been for the past 25 or more years.

Second, is it an exaggeration to suggest that every failing brand or product-from Edsel to Hydrox cookies to Fuller Brush products-attempted various marketing or fare/cost ploys as mentioned in your comment-yet still faded from the scene? Why would commuter rail or the T in general be the exception?

Let's concede the obvious-a year long commuter rail operations weekend hiatus is simply not in the cards for several reasons-but should, nevertheless, be implemented. It won't this year because to do so will require Courageous Charlie Baker to concede at least partial defeat of his T overhaul effort; the nutbags who bring the same old Tall Ships into Boston every few years as if it is some "once-in-a-lifetime" event will scream; 81 Red Sox home games (many on Sat/Sun), etc., etc. Not to mention the Tourist & Convention industry and, of course, the suburbanite voters who decry any loss of any service, for which they pay little, as a merciless cut and, to boot, 2018 is an election year, doncha know!
Abe Froman
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby rethcir » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:37 pm

WRT The ride - I had heard that there was a successfully pilot program to offer subsidized Ubers instead of the expensive Ride drivers. I'm all in on that proposal.

WRT Weekend commuter rail - the subsidy numbers are indeed sobering. I would hate to see the service killed, but perhaps a series of express bus routes and/or special trains could be used instead (CapeAnnFlyer, Weekend heartToHub). With traffic being much lower on the typical weekend, a comparable service level could be reached. Or perhaps other rideshare subsidies could be tried.
rethcir
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 am

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby dieciduej » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:47 am

Remember, if the Commuter Rail is to be replaced by some bustitution for weekend service, the buses would have to travel down the side streets to get to some commuter rail stops. This would not lead to faster or normal time service. And what buses to use, a MBTA bus or contract with some bus company? Either of those will still cost money and possibly not have the capacity in the number of seats.

What about the "Boston Woman's March for America" back in January that brought large crowds to the MBTA and Keolis. If the commuter rail is shutdown for weekend service you couldn't just start it up for just a Saturday because there may or may not be large crowds going into Boston for an event.

Again I am sticking to my scare tactic comments of earlier.

JoeD
User avatar
dieciduej
 
Posts: 545
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 9:37 am

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:21 am

As far as any of us know, they never even mentioned the idea of bustitution - just outright cancellation of weekend service. But you are correct, replacement buses are slower than the trains even with no traffic, due to many stations not being right on main highways.

WRT The ride - I had heard that there was a successfully pilot program to offer subsidized Ubers instead of the expensive Ride drivers. I'm all in on that proposal.


Yup, paratransit users can sign up to receive subsidized Uber or Lyft rides instead of using The Ride. The T subsidizes costs of the ride between $5 and $20. So if your ride is $15, you pay $5. If it's $30, you pay $15. Supposedly this is significantly cheaper for both customers and the MBTA, and the T would like to expand it.

And where are all the posters advertising destinations along the lines? Where are the campaigns to get people to take the T to North Shore beaches, to Lowell's museums, to downtown museums, etc., etc.? All that wouldn't cost much; a lot of it could be on the T's own website for very little cost.


To be fair a lot of this should be the responsibility of the destinations, not the T. And some do a good job. CATA for example heavily advertises on the T in the summer for its Ipswich-Essex Explorer, encouraging people to take the train to Ipswich to then catch a special bus to Crane Beach and other destinations.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.
deathtopumpkins
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:55 am

"Second, is it an exaggeration to suggest that every failing brand or product-from Edsel to Hydrox cookies to Fuller Brush products-attempted various marketing or fare/cost ploys as mentioned in your comment-yet still faded from the scene? Why would commuter rail or the T in general be the exception?"

I hardly think the MBTA is a failing brand. This forum and the news and my Boston friends' FB feeds are full of reports of really crowded trains, of CR trains so full the conductors can't lift all the tickets, etc. Failing at making a profit, but we basically know that big transportation systems are going to be somehow paid for collectively through taxes (that is, they are all subsidized, not just transit). Regular taxes, not gas taxes, build all the city streets and a many of the secondary roads, for example. If patronage on weekend trains is erratic, it seems perfectly reasonable to try to raise patronage at the times that are currently slack; that's exactly what pretty much every business tries to do, from after Christmas sales to early-bird blue-plate specials to midweek hotel deals.

Many, maybe most, successful brands have also cut prices or adjusted them to market conditions. Look at airline ticket prices, or smartphone rates, or laptops. Cell-phone providers utterly abolished long-distance charges, and then pretty much abolished roaming charges, and did very well for themselves out of both changes.

Adjusting prices to attract more customers and having it actually work would not be an exception. It wouldn't even be an exception to what works currently for transit systems in the US. Those Utah commuter rail trains (every half hour most of the time, 6 days a week (no Sundays); with 1-hour headways at the slacker times) always seem well patronized to me: they run three 2-level cars and one older flat car from NJIT, and on a typical midday run in summer I generally see the three doubles about half full, usually few or no pax in the flat. I see a lot of family groups, and groups of young people. It's worth noting that the UTA commuter trains are part of the same fare and schedule structure with the light rail and buses: every commuter rail ticket includes a matching light-rail and bus ticket (a one way ticket lets you use bus or light rail at either end for the same fare, a r/t lets you do the same in both directions, a day pass covers the whole system, etc.); it's all POP using paper tickets or plastic cards, and the trains have no conductors, only cheery helpful "train hosts" and the occasional roving inspector. This is in a very car-heavy metro area, and yet the system gets a lot of riders. I haven't compared their farebox ratios, so I don't know how much subsidy is going into the UTA, but I do know that it gets a lot of riders and that the fare structure I describe works.
Arborwayfan
 
Posts: 649
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:27 am
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby NRGeep » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:20 am

And Baker's misguided Weld era poison pill dumping Big Dig debt on the T continues it's toxic destruction.
NRGeep
 
Posts: 985
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby fitch77 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:23 pm

Could the MBTA consider cutting weekend service on the lesser used lines like Greenbush while keeping service on the lines that get more weekend passengers like Newburyport/Rockport?

Unless there is an event at the TD Garden or Red Sox game, the weekday trains that run after 10pm seem to get very few riders, they typically just open up one bilevel coach, would it make sense to cut those instead of weekend trains that fill up 2-3 cars? Maybe they could still run special late night trains, but only on event nights.

Would it make sense for the MBTA to use the shorter trainsets on weekends and leave the longer trains in the yard so they don't have to pay for hauling a bunch of empty cars around?
fitch77
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:00 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby saulblum » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:54 pm

fitch77 wrote:Unless there is an event at the TD Garden or Red Sox game, the weekday trains that run after 10pm seem to get very few riders, they typically just open up one bilevel coach, would it make sense to cut those instead of weekend trains that fill up 2-3 cars? Maybe they could still run special late night trains, but only on event nights.

No, no and no.

Cut the last trains and the new last trains will see reduced ridership. I'm guessing most passengers would rather not take their chances with the last train of the night, knowing that if they miss it, they're stuck. So cut those last trains and now you'll either be calling to cut the new last trains, with their reduced ridership, or you may see inbound ridership decrease too, if the cut back last trains make the commuter rail less appealing.
saulblum
 
Posts: 276
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:42 pm

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:39 am

fitch77 wrote:Could the MBTA consider cutting weekend service on the lesser used lines like Greenbush while keeping service on the lines that get more weekend passengers like Newburyport/Rockport?

Unless there is an event at the TD Garden or Red Sox game, the weekday trains that run after 10pm seem to get very few riders, they typically just open up one bilevel coach, would it make sense to cut those instead of weekend trains that fill up 2-3 cars? Maybe they could still run special late night trains, but only on event nights.

Would it make sense for the MBTA to use the shorter trainsets on weekends and leave the longer trains in the yard so they don't have to pay for hauling a bunch of empty cars around?


Cars in consists aren't a big budget-buster. 4 cars are the minimum consist anyway except on lines like Fairmount that have special 5-car minimums for signal system limitations. And they have no choice but to run some big sets on Sat. AM and Sun. PM to shuffle weekday rush equipment to/from the outer layovers. But they aren't required to open all cars, and a near-empty consist weighs so little and uses so little HEP electricity that the power barely breaks a sweat or uses much fuel on the whole of the weekend. I've seen some curiously over-long regular 5-car weekend consists on the Fitchburg Line that really could/should be trimmed to 4 and run with more bi-levels instead of all/nearly-all flats. I get the purely anecdotal impression that Southside's a little more miserly about consist makeup than BET. Even on weekday off-peaks the Old Colony, for instance, will nearly always run no more than 4-car all-bi's for maximum efficiency and rarely sport 5th cars or flats except on those shift-change restock runs. But there are too many mitigating circumstances in-play to call that a problem. Northside has far fewer bi-levels and is stuck with majority of the flat cab cars, so lack of progress on the coach replacement procurements undoubtedly ties many hands.

One more example of why the FCMB has to get out of its abstract universe of trying to prove some thinktank whitepapers correct about cost savings and start spending money on the essentials backlog that enables them to save money later in the field. See also the "Ring of Steel" thread. As long as CR fare collection means are such a stitched-together mess efficiency is hard to achieve, and there's no real solution but spending the damn money to implement world-proven next-gen fare collection cleanly. Captain Obvious-level stuff they're just not pushing hard enough because top-down leadership is way too obsessed with the inverse: the chintziest bottom-up waste.

Weekend cost efficiency is more a staffing issue. Are they using 2 conductors on too many trips when 1 will do? Obviously on shift changes when one on-duty conductor is being ferried to/from work to an outer stop they're going to unavoidably have multiple staffers. But is Keolis paying enough attention to staffing levels vs. passenger load and staying as lean as possible? I'm not sure it's quite as tight as it could be. But this also is more about tightening bolts on details and small cost leaks rather than turning up scandalous bloat like another cash room exposé. By and large they aren't overstaffed, and any efficiency savings through precision and vigilance would be small (though unquestionably beneficial).


As for ridership or lackthereof, look at the network effects. The RTA's of the secondary cities are themselves underfunded and run utter crap weekend frequencies on what few bus routes of theirs actually operate at all on weekends. Network effects are very significant drivers of weekday CR ridership out in Worcester; Greater Lowell; Lawrence & Haverhill; Brockton; Greater Fitchburg; and the pu-pu platter of GATRA territory around Attleboro, Franklin, Middleboro. The RTA's already are hurting for additional weekday frequencies, territorial expansion beyond token-most frequencies into surrounding towns outside their core cities, and touches (for the districts that can plausibly reach far enough) to Route 128 nodes and the outermost MBTA bus routes that would give them all another 2-3 gears worth of farebox recovery on the most lucrative timeslots. Outside of a lucky few like BAT in Brockton most of the RTA's are mostly AWOL on the weekend. And that's not for lack of will or demand; the state just treats the RTA's as such an afterthought that they aren't funded within an order of magnitude well enough to cover even the obvious high-ROI essentials they dearly want to cover.

The Ipswich beach bus and CCRTA's proverbial rolling of the tanks on the Cape during Cape Flyer season are neato abstract examples of boosting weekend network effects successfully around CR transfers, but again...what's the state's goal here: peer-reviewing whitepapers about cost-vs.-demand or putting resources on the ground spending money on the MOST essential things that end up saving you money over time on ops cost recovery??? We face this induced crisis about weekend CR service every 18 months, but the state acts deaf/dumb/blind that the multimodal connections that supply an increasing share of the weekday patronage are totally absent on weekends. Golly-gee!...who knew Lawrence weekend ridership would suck to an outsized degree vs. population density when that spiffy new MVTA bus terminal is nearly bereft of buses because most routes aren't running at all or aren't running at frequencies worth a damn? And who can explain why Brockton ridership doesn't crater quite so horrid because the BAT spider map gamely tries to stretch itself with halfway-functional frequencies on most routes going to the big terminal across the street from the M'boro Line. Clearly this is all a result of the Purple Line objectively sucking in a vacuum systemwide, and not an already skeletal multimodal network (both in RTA-land and all the outer T-logoed Yellow Line routes that run uselessly infrequent in 128-land) being cut back to total uselessness off-peak and weekends. Nope...it's a total seasonal anomaly in the tourist spots that surge weekend frequencies on the connecting buses create totally unique-as-snowflake reciprocal surges at the train stops they serve.

This is disingenuous in the highest so long as the state plays the one-hand-doesn't-know-the-other game with network effects of the boring old local buses. Many a transit system has found opportunities, not despair, in off-peak service levels where rubber-wheel frequencies meet steel-wheel frequencies at useful intervals. Including during weekends with loss-leader time slots that are not as lossy in the real world as they look on paper to bureaucrats trained to hold meetings-about-meetings about artfully framing (disingenuously: lying) about statistics. Maybe there's an opportunity here around the RTA bus depot stops in the 495-land secondary cities and the inside-128 stops with Yellow Line coverage to...like...not gut them to the bone on weekends and see if the weekend can anchor itself around some frequency stiffening at the multimodal meets. Maybe that means skipping or flag-stopping more intermediate stations that don't have bus connections so resources can be skewed more efficiently to the ones that do. Maybe that means deep-diving into the demographics to see where the off-peak's demand (and specifically, multimodal network effects on the off-peak) behaves instead of rigidly assuming a flat universe where every peak oriented and park-n'-ride oriented line must act the same way on off-peaks and weekends--ignoring that they're missing a limb if connecting buses don't run and the frequencies are uselessly sparse--or all is for naught. Maybe some lines demographically support a drop of weekend service while others support service INCREASES...and those decisions should be robustly data-backed by the top-line differences in peak vs. off-peak vs. weekend travel patterns and not monolithic scare tactics solely about cost. Maybe we need an FCMB that's re-chartered to institutionally care as much in mission statement about revenue generation and increasing ROI half as much as it cares about saving 5 pennies for every nickel spent.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7010
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Weekend Service on the chopping block

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:25 am

Forget improving bus connections at outer stops - what would help tremendously is just improving weekend frequencies in the city.

I know this is anecdotal, but I sometimes consider the commuter rail on weekends, but I live a bus + subway trip away from North Station (and bus + subway + subway trip away from South Station), and it often ends up that the schedules are so infrequent on the weekend that I'd have to leave my house an hour before the departure time just to catch the necessary connections.

And when I used to live way up on the north shore, the times I came into the city on the weekend I invariably had to spend an obnoxious amount of time waiting for transfers (just miss the orange line - wait 12 minutes; just miss the bus - wait 60 minutes, which usually turned into calling a friend for a ride), and worrying about getting back in time. When subway trains are only running every 15 minutes, you need to include a lot of padding in case you miss one.

Weekend ridership will be mostly limited to just people without cars who have no other choice so long as with connections it's nowhere close to time-competitive with driving. Sure, the train into the city is almost as fast as driving, but why would anyone who could just drive take it when they knew it might be an extra hour before they actually get to their final destination? Very few final destinations for weekend riders are near North and South Stations.
Call me Connor or DTP

Railfan & Roadgeek from the North Shore of Mass.
deathtopumpkins
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:56 am
Location: Somerville, MA

PreviousNext

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests