Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby octr202 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:02 am

leviramsey wrote:
octr202 wrote:And, now we get to exactly the point I'm trying to make. These changes (the hour plus outbound gaps in the evening, no mid-evening service, stacking late evening service for the Garden, the HUGE mid-morning inbound gap on the Eastern*) all smack of stripping service down to fit the 8/9-4/5 crowd and Garden patrons. Anyone else? Drive. That's the message. I'd love to know if the old schedules were really that horribly unworkable, or if they could have been fixed with tweaks here and there, versus making such a mess of this.


Where is the demand for commuter rail? For the people who aren't in the 8-5 crowd and Fenway/Garden patrons, the train isn't going to be competitive with driving barring some combination of billions in upgrades (e.g. to get every line to 128 (or Salem for the Eastern Route) in 15 minutes, 495 in 35, and Worcester/Fitchburg/Providence in 50), or instituting a major fare restructuring (e.g. 20% increase in peak fares and halving off-peak fares). Meanwhile those two constituencies are or in the case of the Fenway/Garden patrons, could very easily be, filling trains. Optimizing for that clientele at least until enough other changes can be made is absolutely the right thing to do.


I might not be making my point clearly. I'm not talking about crazy, odd hours, I'm talking about people working 10-6, for example, or who have a meeting, event, etc. after work. Just this week I had a meeting in Kendall Sq...scheduled to end at 6 pm, but ran until 6:15. We're not talking about the middle of the evening, we're talking about 6:15 PM! (News flash to the schedule planners - people who work in Kendall Sq, Seaport, LMA have more than a 15-20 minute trip to North Station.) Under the new schedule for either Haverhill or Lowell I'd have faced an hour-plus wait for a train. That's just dumb. The 6:45 train to Newburyport or the 6:55 Haverhill trains aren't rush hour full, but they're busy! Faced with the new schedules, I'm either driving all the way into the city on those kind of days, or driving to the Orange Line at Wellington...meaning more cars driving in rush hour traffic...and less ridership on all other trains, too.

And, if you do have a dinner event or the like in the city, the Haverhill schedule hits you if you don't make the 7:40 PM train. Miss it? Wait until 9:30. Or just learn to start driving. All at a time when gridlock on I-93 starts about 5:30am, and last until nearly 8:00 PM some nights. I'm not talking about using the trains for truly odd-ball shifts, I'm talking about having a little flexibility for extra demands close to rush hour. There needs to be "shoulder" service in these schedules or they'll only serve to further erode ridership.

But then again, maybe that's the goal here.

The two biggest wrong assumptions these schedules are based on: Rush hour commuting only lasts from 6-9am and 3:30-6:30pm, and everyone works within 15-20 minutes travel of North Station.

*edited to fix that last sentence that got cut off when posting.
Last edited by octr202 on Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby jamesinclair » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:58 am

octr202 wrote:But then again, maybe that's the goal here.

The two biggest wrong assumptions these schedules are based on: Rush hour commuting only lasts from 6-9am and 3:30-6:30pm, and everyone works withing


As you said, maybe thats the goal here.

Make the service so unattractive ridership falls, allowing you to justify more calls by pulling out the "subsidy per passenger" number

End goal: Run service 4 hours a day
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby octr202 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:01 pm

jamesinclair wrote:
octr202 wrote:But then again, maybe that's the goal here.

The two biggest wrong assumptions these schedules are based on: Rush hour commuting only lasts from 6-9am and 3:30-6:30pm, and everyone works withing


As you said, maybe thats the goal here.

Make the service so unattractive ridership falls, allowing you to justify more calls by pulling out the "subsidy per passenger" number

End goal: Run service 4 hours a day


On some level this is starting to seem like a real worry. Especially when combined with fare hikes next year. For me, I'll have to evaluate how often I'd be impacted by this and possibly reduce to a subway pass + drive/park. Not an option I really look forward to...but worth considering if the service reductions mean I'm driving more often.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby Diverging Route » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:52 pm

For a great analysis of the changes, check out the Charles River Transportation Management Association blog.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby octr202 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:26 pm

The campaign to save train 215's stop at Wakefield has started:

https://www.change.org/p/mbta-k%C3%A9ol ... rail-train

(Editorial note - this is one change that I can't understand unless the motivation is to reduce ridership to fit a five-car set. 215, when running with six cars, has plenty of space. It often gets to Andover ahead of schedule by a minute or two, so the four minutes of running time savings is probably effectively less than what's in the new schedule. This just doesn't make any sense...except in the context of needing to reduce usage of that train. Of course, when they displace that many people onto 217, they'll have another train that can't accommodate everyone with a five-car set. More headscratching...)
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby BvaleShihTzu » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:33 pm

leviramsey wrote:
octr202 wrote:And, now we get to exactly the point I'm trying to make. These changes (the hour plus outbound gaps in the evening, no mid-evening service, stacking late evening service for the Garden, the HUGE mid-morning inbound gap on the Eastern*) all smack of stripping service down to fit the 8/9-4/5 crowd and Garden patrons. Anyone else? Drive. That's the message. I'd love to know if the old schedules were really that horribly unworkable, or if they could have been fixed with tweaks here and there, versus making such a mess of this.


Where is the demand for commuter rail? For the people who aren't in the 8-5 crowd and Fenway/Garden patrons, the train isn't going to be competitive with driving barring some combination of billions in upgrades (e.g. to get every line to 128 (or Salem for the Eastern Route) in 15 minutes, 495 in 35, and Worcester/Fitchburg/Providence in 50), or instituting a major fare restructuring (e.g. 20% increase in peak fares and halving off-peak fares). Meanwhile those two constituencies are or in the case of the Fenway/Garden patrons, could very easily be, filling trains. Optimizing for that clientele at least until enough other changes can be made is absolutely the right thing to do.


This sort of thinking grossly limits the number of people who will take commuter rail, and is a royal pain for those of us who do.

For one, a lot of the traffic into North Station gets to/from there by subway or various buses (such as EZRide, bus to Seaport) -- any slip in those and you've missed your train & wait an hour. So this schedule isn't really optimized for the group you claim it is.

But worse, what if your meeting runs over? What if you want to catch drinks with a business connection after work? Or in the morning, the school bus is running late? If you miss that train around 8, it's essentially an hour-and-a-half until the next one. Just one leg on I-93 potentially makes the train attractive -- if the frequency is reasonable.

The idea that hourly service plus 1 express is sufficient for major commuter lines is absurd; half-hourly headways are really the bare minimum. I'll put up with a lot of inconvenience because I hate driving so much; many folks don't feel the same. The potential to capture new commuters is drastically impaired by this boneheaded schedule. We used to have roughly :35 minute scheduling to Haverhill through the heart of the rush (5:15, 5:52, 6:15, 6:55); now we have this awful hourly schedule.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby Dick H » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:48 pm

I don't have a dog in this fight. But, as many posters have noted, it appears the overall schedule changes are
designed to discourage ridership outside the peak hours and within peak hours in some cases. The (then new)
Governor did not hesitate to get involved with the MBTA snow removal fiasco last winter. Let me suggest a
big letter writing campaign to the Governor and other elected officials to bring this coming situation to their
attention.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby octr202 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:20 pm

Dick H wrote:I don't have a dog in this fight. But, as many posters have noted, it appears the overall schedule changes are
designed to discourage ridership outside the peak hours and within peak hours in some cases. The (then new)
Governor did not hesitate to get involved with the MBTA snow removal fiasco last winter. Let me suggest a
big letter writing campaign to the Governor and other elected officials to bring this coming situation to their
attention.


Absolutely. It's time for folks to start writing. In addition to their own state reps and senators, write to the chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation as well: https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Joint/J27
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby BandA » Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:16 pm

Dick H wrote:I don't have a dog in this fight. But, as many posters have noted, it appears the overall schedule changes are
designed to discourage ridership outside the peak hours and within peak hours in some cases. The (then new)
Governor did not hesitate to get involved with the MBTA snow removal fiasco last winter. Let me suggest a
big letter writing campaign to the Governor and other elected officials to bring this coming situation to their
attention.
Actually, he waited about a month, which is way too long, and relied on his transportation secretary rather than talking directly with the general manager. It's a different style than Romney or Dukakis who would have been more hands-on earlier.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby jbvb » Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:12 am

Cynical note: IIRC, eastern Essex county is much more Baker territory than than the Western Route.

One point about bussing Bradford and Haverhill - it's a chintzy way to leave room for the Downeaster, and does not address the stupidity of restricted speed Lawrence to Bradford, stopping at each signal the T is unable or unwilling to reconfigure for the duration of the Haverhill bridge work. And the single track from Sullivan Sq. to Oak Grove and through Reading station are both sources of delays and unreliable operation. Of course, actually getting any benefit from these cutbacks depends entirely on maintaining the equipment and signals better. And I'm not going to rant about why we can't have any nice things (siding at Wellington or even two platform tracks at Malden).

I used to use the earlier and later trains fairly regularly, and would have had to drive much more often under this proposed regime. Overall, yet another reason to be glad I gave up on my former employer last October.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:49 pm

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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:53 pm

Connecticut has a group of commuters who act as some sort of feedback entity. I think they make some noise about issues, as well.
I'm willing to bet the T has no such thing, and if it doesn't, it should.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby artman » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:05 pm

This smacks of straightforward data driven scheduling, period
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:34 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:Connecticut has a group of commuters who act as some sort of feedback entity. I think they make some noise about issues, as well.
I'm willing to bet the T has no such thing, and if it doesn't, it should.


I believe the T Riders Union would be the MBTA equivalent if I'm following you here.
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Re: Keolis to introduce new schedules by 11/1/15

Postby octr202 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:37 am

I get the impression that the T Riders Union isn't heavily involved in commuter rail issues - I could be wrong, but that's what I get. Seems like there isn't really a good advocacy group focusing on the commuter rail system.
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