MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby CRail » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:52 am

bostontrainguy wrote:The fastest and easiest plan would be a "cashless" Greenline. Put Charlie Card ATMs at the stations. You would have to buy a loaded Charlie Card to use on the trains. Board through the front door only, or add card readers at the back doors. No cash accepted, period. That would be the quickest easiest way to greatly speed things up.

Cash itself is not the problem. People wanting to update their cards at the farebox is the problem. There are people that add $2.10 to their card and pay it just to get the discount. The discount is given as a reward for speeding up the service, it shouldn't be given to those who slow it down! [end of rant]

Stop consolidation has done wonders for the key bus routes. It's also not the first time the College line has been consolidated. This line is PAINFULLY slow during the rush, they've certainly got the right idea here.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby deathtopumpkins » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:46 am

diburning wrote:Is there any legislation against fare evasion in MA? IIRC, the ticket for fare evasion is $15, and is a civil fine that has little to no repercussions if unpaid. (I have never seen an actual ticket, so this is just going by my assumption). I have a coworker who had been issued a ticket even though she had paid her fare. She challenged the ticket, and they dismissed it without any sort of evidence needed (she was ready to present her charlie card for date/time verification, but they never checked it)

Of all of the transit systems in the US that I've ever been on that use POP, (San Diego MTS, Los Angeles Area Metrolink, Greater Cleveland RTA), I have only had my ticket checked on GCRTA. I realize that this is a small sample size, but I don't think the MBTA is very far off with being concerned about people gambling with the POP system.

The Riverside line is sort of a POP system. There are card validators at the stations that print a validation ticket to board through the rear doors. I'm assuming that these are used primarily during rush hour as during off-peak, only the front doors open unless the car is packed, and if the rear doors open, the operator makes the people entering from the rear go up to the front to either pay their fare or show their validation ticket.

Unless they roll this out on the entire B branch (good luck fitting the little shacks on narrow platforms such as Warren st or Harvard Ave), it's probably not going to work.


http://www.mbta.com/transitpolice/default.asp?id=18899

$100, not $15, and the fine goes up for repeat offenses.

My experience riding POP systems has been similar to yours. I've never once had anyone ask for a ticket. I can't imagine the T actually doing it regularly.

As yup the validators, E branch stops have those too, but i don't even know if they work. I've never used one and I've never seen anyone else use one. Honestly I think it would speed up fare collection on the green line to take monthly passes off CharlieCards and put them back onto tickets. Or do as Montreal does and have machines print out tickets with RFID chips in them, so you can hold them up to show a driver on a bus or trolley, and still tap them on the subway. It's so much faster to just show the driver my pass as I walk by, especially since I keep it in the back of my transparent phone case. And then let those people use a rear door.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Matthew » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:27 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:I will say that the redesign and "beautification" of the eastern end of Comm Ave looks nice, but reducing the roadway from three to two lanes has resulted in massive traffic jams including the mess near the BU bridge which often backs up and blocks the trolleys (two lanes reduced to one here). I think that we will some day regret the decisions we are making to reduce travel lanes (e.g., Comm Ave., BU Bridge, Longfellow Bridge) in a city already checked with traffic.


You wrote some pure unadulterated B.S., and I apologize in advance, but this type of nonsense needs to be smacked down hard.

The only time that Comm Ave backs up is when drivers from Carlton Street pile into the intersection and block the box. That's illegal, and needs to be fixed as part of Comm Ave Phase 2B (future) anyway. The rest of the time, Comm Ave is mostly a speedway where drivers easily get up to 50 mph. That's a real problem.

Furthermore, there are already three travel lanes at the University Road/Carlton Street/Comm Ave intersection. All three lanes get blocked (plus the trolley) when drivers illegally block the box. How in the world would Comm Ave be improved if those three lanes extended further back? It would still be a mess, because the fundamental problem is drivers blocking the box. It would just be even more miserable for vast crowds of pedestrians who use this street.

A city "choked with traffic" needs fewer travel lanes -- so that pedestrians aren't choked too. Travel on Comm Ave is dominated by ridership on the Green Line and by pedestrians, and it's the only such corridor connecting Allston/Brighton to the rest of Boston. The other two ways to go are highways. Reducing Comm Ave to a sane, consistent layout (2 by 2 plus dedicated left turn pockets) is a big step forward from the old, insane, unbalanced cross-section that was there before.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Matthew » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:34 pm

diburning wrote:Center platforms with gates are a good idea, but would be a logistical nightmare for a surface stop. If they put fare gates there, they'll have to put fare vending machines in. If they put fare vending machines in, they'll have to have a CSA at all times to assist, and to bust people for going around the fare gates via the RoW. A higher ridership station might justify these costs, but for a lightly to moderately used surface stop, it's not ideal.


There's a much bigger problem with "faregates" for a surface trolley line: how in the world do you prevent people from simply walking along the tracks and hopping on the platform?

The whole point of a streetcar-line-turned-light-rail like the Green Line is that the tracks are easy for people to cross. The platforms are only 8" above the rail. There is no danger of a third rail. Faregates only make sense when you can keep people off the tracks: fencing the entire ROW, having dangerous conditions, and a high platform that is an obstacle to most people.

So you could install platform screen doors that only open when the train arrives. Something that we've never done before, and would probably fail after a week, if it ever managed to work at all.

And even if you did sort it out, you still need an attendant watching the faregates, because most of them are easy to defeat for any semi-intelligent and determined human being. Staffing those Green Line stations would be a total waste of money.

There's really no known alternative to Proof-of-Payment. It's the way to go, and I hope that the T comes to its senses someday.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby diburning » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:39 pm

And if you read the post that you quoted me on, you'll see that I've mentioned most of those points :wink: We both have the same view here; that faregates would be a logistical nightmare for a surface stop.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Matthew » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:49 pm

Oops, meant to click "quote" on MBTA3247. And yeah, I heard his question at the meeting, been kinda frustrated that Bill McClellan didn't point out the obvious problem with the scheme.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:30 pm

Regarding the concerns with people bypassing the faregates altogether with center platforms (which I was already aware of when I asked my question), there are several ways to minimize fare evasion. With the platform centered in the block and the entire ROW fenced off between the two adjacent cross streets, anyone walking down the several dozen to several hundred feet of track between the platform and the road is incredibly obvious as a fare evader. Put some high definition cameras at the corners of the platform and aggressively use the images they take to track down fare evaders. Also, borrow a bit from POP methods and have a plainclothes Transit Police officer or some other suitably empowered T employee stationed there on an occasional, random basis to hand out citations.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby diburning » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:20 pm

Why go to the trouble of putting in fare gates if they're going to have cameras and plainclothes cops as if it were a POP system? Why go to all the trouble of doing this for a stop that's not a heavily used station?
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:31 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Regarding the concerns with people bypassing the faregates altogether with center platforms (which I was already aware of when I asked my question), there are several ways to minimize fare evasion. With the platform centered in the block and the entire ROW fenced off between the two adjacent cross streets, anyone walking down the several dozen to several hundred feet of track between the platform and the road is incredibly obvious as a fare evader. Put some high definition cameras at the corners of the platform and aggressively use the images they take to track down fare evaders. Also, borrow a bit from POP methods and have a plainclothes Transit Police officer or some other suitably empowered T employee stationed there on an occasional, random basis to hand out citations.


Not to beat the Transport for London dead horse, but over there they pushed their electronic fare system to a point where damn near everyone has RFID cards, and the system is set up such that you can recharge the balance on your RFID card on an as-needed basis, or as a monthly pass, etc. They still have paper tickets, but they only work on the tube itself.

On their light rail/rapid transit hybrid, the Docklands Light Rail, they've switched over exclusively to oyster/RFID card readers on stands along with station attendants with handheld readers to speed up swipe-ins and catch evaders as a high-volume, fairgate-free form of POP. So what do they do to ensure payment and deter fare evasion? They have officers randomly and frequently go up and down each train with an RFID scanner that checks your card against the database to determine whether you tapped "in" or not. If not, you get a heavy fine and/or some snazzy stainless-steel bracelets.

I'm under the impression that the extra staffing more or less pays for itself. It's an option that the T should really consider for pre-pay on the GL, especially when combined with station attendants at busy stations/during peak hours to speed up the process and further catch evaders.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:24 pm

Matthew wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:I will say that the redesign and "beautification" of the eastern end of Comm Ave looks nice, but reducing the roadway from three to two lanes has resulted in massive traffic jams including the mess near the BU bridge which often backs up and blocks the trolleys (two lanes reduced to one here). I think that we will some day regret the decisions we are making to reduce travel lanes (e.g., Comm Ave., BU Bridge, Longfellow Bridge) in a city already checked with traffic.


You wrote some pure unadulterated B.S., and I apologize in advance, but this type of nonsense needs to be smacked down hard.

The only time that Comm Ave backs up is when drivers from Carlton Street pile into the intersection and block the box. That's illegal, and needs to be fixed as part of Comm Ave Phase 2B (future) anyway. The rest of the time, Comm Ave is mostly a speedway where drivers easily get up to 50 mph. That's a real problem.


You can call it nonsense if you want, but reducing the BU bridge to one lane at both ends totally screws up traffic on the Cambridge side around the rotary and on the Boston side crossing Comm Ave. Your "don't block the box" dream solution just isn't reality and the trolleys get affected.

If you think two lanes can carry as much traffic as three, I can't help you. Apparently you have never traveled on Comm Ave after a Red Sox game or during events at the Agganis Arena and Paradise or when the BU students move back in. I have witnessed traffic at a standstill in the area many times.

At least the trolleys have their reservation and only get blocked at the intersections.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby Matthew » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:40 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:
Matthew wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:I will say that the redesign and "beautification" of the eastern end of Comm Ave looks nice, but reducing the roadway from three to two lanes has resulted in massive traffic jams including the mess near the BU bridge which often backs up and blocks the trolleys (two lanes reduced to one here). I think that we will some day regret the decisions we are making to reduce travel lanes (e.g., Comm Ave., BU Bridge, Longfellow Bridge) in a city already checked with traffic.


You wrote some pure unadulterated B.S., and I apologize in advance, but this type of nonsense needs to be smacked down hard.

The only time that Comm Ave backs up is when drivers from Carlton Street pile into the intersection and block the box. That's illegal, and needs to be fixed as part of Comm Ave Phase 2B (future) anyway. The rest of the time, Comm Ave is mostly a speedway where drivers easily get up to 50 mph. That's a real problem.


You can call it nonsense if you want, but reducing the BU bridge to one lane at both ends totally screws up traffic on the Cambridge side around the rotary and on the Boston side crossing Comm Ave. Your "don't block the box" dream solution just isn't reality and the trolleys get affected.


For someone who calls himself "bostontrainguy" you seem to have very little regard for the users of said trains: pedestrians. Then again, sometimes it seems, so does the MBTA... :/

The renovated BU Bridge was given its current configuration because the DOT engineers felt that this was the only safe way to go. The old BU Bridge had suboptimal lane sizes and they determined that it was not responsible to maintain that condition. Seeing that the BU Bridge is a historic structure, do not expect it to ever be expanded in width, no matter how much wishing you or other motorists might do.

However, Phase 2B of Commonwealth Ave reconstruction will consider better intersection designs that will strive to get the block-boxing under control. Be assured that MassDOT is eagerly considering various designs that will improve, in every way, what is an all-around horrible intersection hated by everyone who uses it. I can't show you the evidence, so you'll have to take my word for it.

No matter your cynicism, block-boxing is illegal, and should not be accommodated. A good design can fix much of the mess caused by the Carlton Street crossing.

If you think two lanes can carry as much traffic as three, I can't help you. Apparently you have never traveled on Comm Ave after a Red Sox game or during events at the Agganis Arena and Paradise or when the BU students move back in.


I travel on Comm Ave nearly every day. I have seen it through many different conditions over the years. I have fought my way through the cars blocking up crosswalks. I have seen many people slip and slide during the winter on the bridge joints of the overpass. I have stood with my face crushed against the window in an overstuffed Green Line trolley, watching light-cycle after light-cycle pass by as motor vehicles blocked the intersection. I notice that, on a regular basis, the crowds of pedestrians so overwhelm the sidewalk that many people spill out over the curb just to get by. I know that the timing of the signals is not sufficient to allow a healthy adult to cross in one phase of walk signals, without running. I have threaded my way through the drunken crowd that spills out from the Paradise. I have dodged the bewildered suburban drivers who only ever come to Comm Ave for Agganis Arena events, and who always seem surprised to encounter pedestrians and bicyclists in large numbers.

Does Comm Ave get backed up with automobile traffic? For a small portion of the day, mostly when drivers block the box at the BU Bridge/Essex Street/Carlton Street mess. Would another lane fix that? Well, considering that there are already three lanes of traffic going westbound at the Carlton Street crossing, the answer is simple: No. And in the rare instance that police officers are managing traffic at the intersection, and preventing block-boxing, everything actually does work fairly smoothly.

Furthermore, you sound like a petulant child of the 1950s when you clamor for "more lanes, more lanes!" There is no space for more lanes, even if for some reason we wanted them. The sidewalk is already overwhelmed with pedestrians most every hour of the day. The city and Boston University both recognize that there is simply no space to put more car lanes and that pedestrians must be treated better than they were in the past. The Green Line is going to be improved whether motorists like it or not, with signal priority and station consolidation. Meanwhile, statistics show that pedestrian and bike traffic is going up, and motor vehicle traffic is trending down. Comm Ave is not the Auto Mile any more, and someday it will complete its transformation into a truly urban street, oriented around serving all people, and not just people inside of motor vehicles.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:44 pm

Matthew wrote: The Green Line is going to be improved whether motorists like it or not, with signal priority


I won't bother to comment on your opinions since it's getting far off topic. However, I must chuckle at the promise of "trolley signal priority" since that was promised when Huntington Avenue was redesigned, and when was that 10 - 15 years ago? And they've been talking about them on Beacon Street since the new signals were installed during the reconstruction there. Don't hold your breath.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby BandA » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:25 pm

If you are going to allocate more precious *VALUABLE* road space to the trolley line, then the service needs to be run at operational break even. You say transit is the future and cars are going away? Then you won't have drivers around to subsidize "T" service.
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby CRail » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:39 pm

Many cities around the world are making traffic hell on purpose to get people out of their automobiles and into cleaner, more efficient modes. While I applaud this, the operation is two fold. When decreasing road capacity, public transportation capacity must increase.

The T is trying to increase capacity by reducing trip times and therefor carry more people with the the same amount of equipment, but what needs to happen is the fleet needs expansion (subway, streetcars, and buses) and the operators' mentality needs to change (operators being those in charge of the operation). This means things like putting more responsibility on the passenger to ensure their own safety and instituting policy allowing for tighter spacing (removal of the current ATO system and going back to allowing multiple simultaneous dwellings in light rail stations). Then there's the farebox...

Someone said they should favor tickets over plastic cards for passes. That's probably the worst thing they could do! How is a motorman or bus driver supposed to read the date on a pass from two or three doors away? Eliminating tickets which the machine reads 7 or 8 times, get wet, get bent, go through the wash, fade, and fail is the thing to do. The CharlieCard takes half a second to register, if only everyone had them loaded BEFORE trying to board. Cash you pay extra, PRE-LOADED card gets a discount (unloaded cardholder gets directed to where they can load their card and awaits the next trip or pays the more expensive cash fare with no transfer). That's how you handle fare collection without reinventing the wheel and/or losing big on a system which will fail without follow through (actually checking for proof of payment).
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Re: MBTA To Cut Down Green Line "B" Branch Stops?

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:45 am

CRail wrote:Many cities around the world are making traffic hell on purpose to get people out of their automobiles and into cleaner, more efficient modes. While I applaud this, the operation is two fold. When decreasing road capacity, public transportation capacity must increase.

The T is trying to increase capacity by reducing trip times and therefor carry more people with the the same amount of equipment, but what needs to happen is the fleet needs expansion (subway, streetcars, and buses) and the operators' mentality needs to change (operators being those in charge of the operation). This means things like putting more responsibility on the passenger to ensure their own safety and instituting policy allowing for tighter spacing (removal of the current ATO system and going back to allowing multiple simultaneous dwellings in light rail stations). Then there's the farebox...


That seems to be the case here too. But no matter how idealistic (and unrealistic) some can be here, there are people who actually need their cars and can't use public transportation. I was in on-the-road sales for a long part of my life and lived in my car for most of the day.

Some people simply prefer not to use the T, and increased traffic and "calming" obstacles slow down emergency vehicles. Forcing people to use public transportation is just too draconian. There has to be a sensible balance for all modes.

In actuality, the T is not reducing trip times. The front-door-only policy is slowing things down. Tickets and cash fares are slowing things down. Notice those new 6 and 10 mph speed limits out there. The trains are frequently held for headway adjustment or short turned or expressed since they can't get back to the end of the line in time to do their next run.

The T is encouraging elderly and handicapped people to use the system (by reducing "The Ride" and accepting "The Ride" passes on board the trolleys). They of course are welcome, but that also does slow down service. I cringe when I see a frail elderly person trying to climb the steps on a Type 8 as the trolley jerks along on the T's rough track. And if someone falls the entire line can come to a halt as inspectors are called and then everyone waits for EMS. This has been even more problematic with the insistence that operators enforce the front-door-only rule. Also the bridgeplates for wheel chairs often malfunction and hold trains up.

As far as increasing capacity, the T is working to increase the number of three car trains which is the quickest way to accomplish this and creates three points of payment and entry. Increasing frequency is probably not in the cards due to lack of equipment.

Speeding up the line is a bit more elusive with recent re-enforcement of the front-door-only rule. Operators are being punished if they don't comply - forget common sense in this - the T can be rather strict even if it makes no sense.

The bottom line is the Boston College trains are frequently packed and people are left on the platforms all the time especially along the stretch we are talking about (Kenmore to Packard's Corner). To expect people to abandon their cars to take the crowded Greenline is not realistic.

Throw in a BC football game, an Agganis event, a Paradise show, student move-ins . . . the trolleys simply can not handle more people.
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