Subway Line Busing

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Subway Line Busing

Postby B&Mguy » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:01 am

I'll say right away this this question does involves buses, but it also pertains to subway operations.

I have noticed that in two different incidents of pre-scheduled busing, private company coach buses were used instead of MBTA buses. The first was in August when the Commonwealth Ave. construction shut down the B-Line operations. Peter Pan Coach buses were used for the shuttle service. Then tonight with Red Line bussing over the Longfellow Bridge, private coach company buses we used as well. Is there a reason, that MBTA buses are not being used anymore for these events? The coach buses take longer to board since they only have a front door, and they're is no standing room available, so they hold fewer passengers than the MBTA buses. I also noticed that all of the employees loading the buses were not MBTA workers, and I didn't see any MBTA employees in sight.

Is it cheaper for the T to outsource these busing events to private companies? I just can't figure out why these higher end coach buses are being used for these short shuttle operations.
Last edited by CRail on Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: We don't need to be instructed on how to handle a topic. Discussing rail diversion procedures is acceptable. In the future, if you're unsure if a topic is acceptable, just ask!
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Re: Subway Line Busing

Postby Trinnau » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:04 am

This actually has more to do with resources than anything. The MBTA's own bus resources can usually only support one weekend diversion. You need two shifts both days, all the bus operators are in on overtime, and it's not mandatory. That means only one line can be shut down and bused for work at any time. With ongoing state of good repair work and a ton of capital work going on - both MBTA's own work and that of other entities - there comes a need for multiple lines shut down in order to perform work in a timely fashion. That is the case this weekend, with the Red Line bused for Longfellow and the Orange Line bused for track work near Ruggles. The MBTA's resources are down on the Orange Line supporting that work (which is MBTA's work) and private carriers are supporting MassDOT's Longfellow Bridge project. I would expect private contractors to remain in the mix, especially while there are long-term projects like Longfellow busing multiple consecutive weekends. This way the MBTA can keep the system maintained while major construction is occurring.
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Re: Subway Line Busing

Postby Disney Guy » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:42 am

I probably should ask, have new hires, part timers, and split shifters been offered more hours of work to drive shuttle buses? If so, have there been many takers?

Back on the topic of rail, has the T ever tried what I could call "double pronging"? For the Orange Line, suppose the work is ongoing at Forest Hills. Trains would proceed normally to Jackson Square and from there continue to Stony Brook or even Green St, on either the outbound or inbound track as directed. Then change ends to return inbound. (If there were more than two trains arriving in quick succession, one might change ends without participating in the double prong and return inbound.) Just those passengers would have to wait at Jackson Sq. for one of the tracks further on to be vacated and take the next outbound train.

Far fewer shuttle buses would be needed.

(This would not have worked this past weekend on the Orange Line with work near Ruggles. Or maybe it would have worked with trains from Forest Hills to Jackson Sq. possible double pronging to Roxbury Crossing with a short bus shuttle to Ruggles. That would have avoided the surface traffic congestion from the Casey road project at Forest Hills. Like ten minutes from Forest Hills to Green St. midday)
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Re: Subway Line Busing

Postby CRail » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:34 am

Trinnau wrote:This actually has more to do with resources than anything. The MBTA's own bus resources can usually only support one weekend diversion. You need two shifts both days, all the bus operators are in on overtime, and it's not mandatory. That means only one line can be shut down and bused for work at any time.

None of this is true. Identical shuttles have taken place (and many for this very project) without issue. Numerous weekend and full time diversions have been primarily covered by scheduled service (not overtime). Even if scheduled diversions did rely completely on overtime, ask any operator you see; getting people to drive shuttles on overtime is not difficult. This is a direct result of the current gubernatorial administration's efforts to privatize the T's services.

Note: New T contract forgoes raises, but protects most jobs from privatization
The Boston Globe wrote:Under the deal, the MBTA can still contract with private parties for expanded service, such as late-night hours.

It's not a coincidence that after the renegotiated contract with the T's largest union took effect, coach buses that had never been used before started showing up at scheduled bustitutions.
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