Official Guest Series Thread

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

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Official Guest Series Thread

Postby CS » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:15 pm

My final Guest Series will be held this Monday through Wednesday.
Our guest are very controversal in the railfanning world. While some say we are always anti - MBTA, these guys are the real anti - MBTA and they don't miss a thing that they do wrong! Our guest will be Mark Richards of Badtransit.com. For more information on them visit there website - www.badtransit.com !
C. Sarjeant
"CS"
CS
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Dorchester, MA

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:24 pm

Boston, through our Red Sox, has Reversed The Curse, but there is yet another one that needs fixing. It's The Curse of our MBTA.

Admit it. What do we hate almost as much as our weather? The Curse of the bus that doesn't show up. The Curse of the commuter rail train that craps out on the way home (and on a Friday afternoon). The Curse of a fare increase. The Curse of another MBTA scandal.

BadTransit.com was started by me and my wife Anna four years ago. As lifetime T commuters, we were used to the various schedule, health and safety compromises required to use the system. The difficulties we frequently faced here were amplified over the years as we used other public transit systems. Notable were the systems in New York (they may be dirty and noisy, but they almost never stop and they're very safe); Washington, DC (quirks of automation but impeccably clean and efficiently operated); and principally Japan, whose systems in every way set the standards for excellence.

After each foray, returning here was a real downer, like returning to Logan in February from an Orlando trip.

Finally, disgusted, we wrote letters to the T, our representatives and the press. Nothing came back. I think the silence was what really hit us. Nobody seemed to care, or our transit system wasn't considered all that important.

Out web effort was launched initially as an attempt to embarass the MBTA into cleaning up the messes and making the system work. It's still evolving, and we see it becoming a place where commuters can post their "Spotter" reports, and hopefully organize into a considerable force for change. We're hardly perfect and often very crabby. Perhaps we are speaking for those who think it, but are too shy or polite to say it. Whatever. We want to Reverse this Curse. It's important.

I would suggest we don't "hate" the MBTA - but we certainly have little respect for a T management that operates this precious resource with commuters and taxpayers as the last priority. We believe that the time for engaging in public meetings, letter writing, etc. is past. What's needed is a T management clean-up, and a new way of doing things. I think we'd do far better without "The Authority", and instead with a system that's de-politicized, open, accountable, and under direct public control - through the best ballot box of all - the fare box. This will take a massive public effort, because politicians like things just the way they are. We hope/d to provide good soil from which such an effort could launch - and we're still hoping for this.

I think it's also important to note that T employees are are most frequent commuters and readers. They know what a mess it is. Many want to do a good job and want to be appreciated, respected, and to take pride in what they do. These are almost impossible in he way things are operated.

Rail Fans, I think, are very qualified to know a good transit system when they experience it. I'm certain we are not alone in our displeasure with the MBTA. I welcome your questions. Thanks for inviting our participation.

Mark Richards
Editor
BadTransit.com
BadTransit.com
 

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:53 pm

Not certain what "truth" you're referring to. If you can be more specific, I'll try to address it.
BadTransit.com
 

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:00 pm

BadTransit.com wrote:Not certain what "truth" you're referring to. If you can be more specific, I'll try to address it.


Some of your facts regarding the T's actions in previous events covered on your site were shown to be false and blown out of proportion. Among them were your constant rantings about crime, the coverage of the death on the commuter rail, and your accusations of blatant disregard for safety of passengers. When you were shown that your accusations lacked merit and were hyperbole you continued to claim they were the gods honest truth and refused to accept anything but your version of events.
efin98
 

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:18 pm

Like anyone, including T management, we're not perfect - I'M not perfect - and we/I are not experts in railroad operations. We/I are not journalists. We're commuters and taxpayers.

This isn't an excuse for being either incorrect or editorially loose.

I think our basic criticisms of the T have merit and deserve to be heard. Unfortunately the messenger - and the style - sometimes overrides the basic message.

We're learning.

As for the C/R and safety? From the persepctive of a commuter and consumer, it does appear that, at times, there has been a blatant disregard for safety. One issue comes to mind: installation of defibrillators on the T's trains. The family of the deceased James Allen actually offered to fund the purchase of these units so that the next person who collapsed in a heap would stand a chance.

The T refused and the system remains antiquated in terms of the presence of these basic lifesaving units.

What does this say to the public? I see "blatant disregard" written all over it.

--
This just in: according to the T, it's perfectly A-OK to plaster your system (pun intended) with liquor advertising, but it's horribly offensive to post an advertisement that questions the nation's backward drug laws. The T knows that their system is used by students of all age-ranges and therefore also knows that they are exposed to the advertisements associating imbibing with success, sex, and glamor. They even admit that it's all about money.

This doesn't say "Blatant disregard" to me. It says "Blatantly arrogant".

It's crap like this that irks me and it shows that transit, and serving us, is not the first order of business.
BadTransit.com
 

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:50 pm

Now I see the problem. You allow your own opinions to cloud your messages. Your last post shows it.

This just in: according to the T, it's perfectly A-OK to plaster your system (pun intended) with liquor advertising, but it's horribly offensive to post an advertisement that questions the nation's backward drug laws. The T knows that their system is used by students of all age-ranges and therefore also knows that they are exposed to the advertisements associating imbibing with success, sex, and glamor. They even admit that it's all about money.


I see where your problems lay. Your facts and your opinions are blending together. You are allowing your predisposed hatred of the T to cloud your facts even if they have some merit.
For example you are basing your opinions reagarding the T's actions on your own bias against the government's drug laws. You can't do that. Either you blast the T for having the ads for one hazardous product that is perfectly legal while barring ads for another that is illegal or you blast the government for banning the product in the first place. You can't blast the T for refusing to allow the promotions for an illegal product, the fact that it is illegal in the first place would put the T in a worse position if they did allow those ads. If the T allowed the ads the T would be accused to endorsing and or promoting the use of an illegal substance. Not allowing the ads, while borderline first ammendment breaking, does more damage to the T. The T may very well lose the fight in federal court but it will win the PR battle with the public as a whole.
efin98
 

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 3:31 pm

efin98 wrote:Now I see the problem. You allow your own opinions to cloud your messages. Your last post shows it.

BadTransit is very much an opinion and commentary outlet. It's posted right at the top of our web site:"Your "perpetually gloomy" MBTA "watchdog", with news, vitriolic opinion, commentary, biting sarcasm, parody, dissent,insult, rumor, and sd humor on the USA's most inept mass-transit system - Boston's MBTA"

I see where your problems lay. Your facts and your opinions are blending together. You are allowing your predisposed hatred of the T to cloud your facts even if they have some merit.

We admit our bias. It's here in the open: http://www.badtransit.com/TheT/badbalance.htm

For example you are basing your opinions reagarding the T's actions on your own bias against the government's drug laws. You can't do that.

Can'd do what? Who says? Sorry, but it's our web site and we can express our bias and our opinion as we choose. Readers have a choice, too. They can (a) go somewhere else, (b) offer their own opinions (each story has a special area where readers can chime in), or (c) start their own web site. Readers can also counsel me and our other contributors through email. When we're wrong, or have made a misake, we will correct it.

The T is clearly wrong on this one. Liquor is illegal too, for minors. Refusing to post an advertisement that questions the national drug policy (the ads don't promote pot smoking) while plastering the system with ads that do promote alcohol and to minors who are captive on the system and have no alternative transit choice is wildly wrong. What's worse is the insult after the injury. The MBTA will use public money to hire high-priced Boston attorneys to fight their case, and will lean on the supposed moral stance you raised. They'll even raise a few Puritans from the dead in case they run out of the semi-live to back them up. All for cash, mind you. This has little to do with "morality".

All this, while the transit system continues to deterioriate, along with the T's totally mismanaged budget.
BadTransit.com
 

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 3:44 pm

Congratulations! You have managed to blow whatever chance you had at stating your case clearly by grasping at one fact and blowing it out of proportion. Even if it's illegal for minors it is still legal to drink! Guess who the vast majority of riders are? Adults over 21! Why should the T be forced to ban advertisements for a legal product because advocates for and illegal product can't get their message through via lawmakers? They claim to be protesting the drug laws. That's crap. What they are doing is advoacting an illegal substance, they know it and the T knows it. You ignored whatever defense the T had and added your own hatred as a defense to the ads. Sorry, but that's bogus. That's not the facts. That's not even opinion. That's just plain old deception.

You rhetoric at the end is also bogus as well. That natural defense mechanism backfires- you mgiht want to lose it. It's a sign that you have lost an argument and are looking for a way to deflect attention away from your lack of a positon.
efin98
 

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:03 pm

Why should the T be forced to ban advertisements for a legal product because advocates for and illegal product can't get their message through via lawmakers?
Because here - amazing as it seems given our times - people still influence the legislative process. If opinions and alternatives are locked out, what happens then?

These same anti-drug-law ads were welcomed on the Washington, DC transit system.

What makes us so different?
BadTransit.com
 

Postby CS » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:28 pm

I personally think it is very healthy to have an organization like badtransit.com. It helps the MBTA (if they would actually pay attention) gain information on how to do things better, why the public thinks of them in that way and etc.



And lets cool it down a bit!
C. Sarjeant
"CS"
CS
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Dorchester, MA

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:29 pm

BadTransit.com wrote:Because here - amazing as it seems given our times - people still influence the legislative process.


That's too bad. They failed to achieve their mission to legalize the product. They should look into some other alternative, the battle is obviously a lost cause yet those who support it continue to fight the battle

If opinions and alternatives are locked out, what happens then?


As is typical liberal rhetoric you claim they are being locked out and opinions squashed. How so? How is the T refusing to allow advertisements that promote an illegal substance locking out opinions? The opinions are not being locked out. The T has a right to refuse advertising from groups that may do harm to the T's reputation. It has before and will do so in the future.

These same anti-drug-law ads were welcomed on the Washington, DC transit system.

What makes us so different?


This is Boston and not Washington, DC. The MBTA reflects directly on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Unless you have been deaf or blind the last decade the Commonwealth is as Anti-smoking as any other state, if not more. Guess what! The T's allowance of those ads brings forth the false impression that the T supports the legalization and by default the Commonwealth also does so.
efin98
 

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:35 pm

CS wrote:I personally think it is very healthy to have an organization like badtransit.com. It helps the MBTA (if they would actually pay attention) gain information on how to do things better, why the public thinks of them in that way and etc.


The T knows how the public thinks, the management and above hear about it every day from the public and from MBTA employees. The site is of no use to the T, the T knows what is wrong within and what needs to be fixed. If it's not to Mr. Richards' satisfaction too bad, he is one of over a million riders daily who use the MBTA.
efin98
 

Postby CS » Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:59 pm

One, please do not attack the Guest Ed. You are getting a little hostile. Two, there site is very valuable, and I don't think it is wise for someone who is in the midst of an election should be as mean as you are acting towards Mr. Richards. It is also very innapropriate to suggest that there site isn't worthwhile because it is. All sides need to be heard and theiers are and will continue to be heard.
I also think other forum contributers need to join this conversation as this is a great oppurtunity to ask about Badtransit in a proffesional and mature light. Thank you.
C. Sarjeant
"CS"
CS
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Dorchester, MA

Postby efin98 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:08 pm

I wasn't attacking. I have not yet begun to attack. I was stating my opinions about the website- ironic that someone is scolded for stating an opinion about a website that is nothing but opinions! I'll give Mr. Richards credit, he went toe to toe with the beast and kept his ground most of the time. Bravery or stubborness, he does deserve some credit for taking on his harshest critics head on!
efin98
 

Postby BadTransit.com » Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:42 pm

The site is of no use to the T, the T knows what is wrong within and what needs to be fixed. If it's not to Mr. Richards' satisfaction too bad, he is one of over a million riders daily who use the MBTA.


Apparently it is of some use. It's generated all this.. thrashing.

The T regularly reads our Commuter Spotter reports and we have feedback suggesting that several issues reported were addressed quickly. Although it should be obvious to them "what needs to be fixed".

We've been at it 4 years and some of the principal issues we've pointed out from the very beginning are still unaddressed. So, there's another reason for staying on the air.

It isn't to my satisfaction. None of it. And if I can pick up a megaphone and shout a little louder to be heard, all the better. I suspect of the MBTA's million or so riders a day, at least a few thousand are just as ticked off as we are.

And they don't have a megaphone. So what shall we do with them, besides ignore them?
BadTransit.com
 

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