The T and Large Events

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The T and Large Events

Postby Red Wing » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:01 am

I've been on the T for every sports parade since 2001 various 4th of July's, 1st nights and for yesterdays events. The one thing I've noticed is that the part of the system run by the T itself has been able to adapt to crowds and still move people I will give you slower and with some hiccups.

The commuter rail has always seemed to lag behind. So my question is why is this? Is it because it's subcontracted and the subcontractor doesn't want to pay? Is it because of hours of service with the crew? Is it not prepositioning of equipment? Or am I missing something? FRA regulations?

I suspect it is a combination of all the above and somethings I didn't think of.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby The EGE » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:05 pm

Adding additional rapid transit and bus service is fairly easy - you're just limited by the amount of equipment you have on hand and the number of operators you can bring in. It's possible to maintain rush hour service levels for an entire day if needed. Scheduling vehicles isn't a huge deal; if you have an extra bus show up that's not in the schedule, that's just extra service that helps out.

Commuter rail is different. You have to precisely schedule where every single train is going to be to ensure that you don't have conflicts. It's possible to run a normal weekday schedule on a weekend day, they've done it before, but even then you may have conflicts with Amtrak or the freight railroads because they run different schedules on weekends. To run, say, rush-hour-frequency service yesterday, but timed for the 11am march, would have required scheduling an entire day's worth of service from scratch - a massive undertaking that usually involves weeks of staff time.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:04 pm

I'd say the big limiter was hours of service and whether or not to call extra crews on (which also would have been overtime, not straight time). There's hardly enough crews to get through the 5-day week as is, and giving everyone 48 hours off for a sixth start probably wouldn't have been smart.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby nomis » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:36 am

Different HOS rules ...
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby saulblum » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:59 pm

The more general issue is that the weekend commuter rail schedules are generally useless, with their 2-3-hour headways. Heck, on a Sunday you can't even get to South Station before 12:30 from Providence.

Contrast that to the (at least) hourly weekend service on Metra and Caltrain and SEPTA regional rail and even Tri-Rail in south Florida.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Red Wing » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:57 pm

About what I thought. Thanks for the answers.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby octr202 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:00 am

Despite all of that, they were turning trains/crews for extra where possible. There was even a double set sent out to Worcester in the afternoon to help make some more capacity.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Red Wing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:41 pm

The stuff the commuter rail did was reactive not proactive though. They did have time to be proactive.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Trinnau » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:15 pm

Then what do you suggest they could have done? They ended up running three inbound and three corresponding outbound "extras" if you count the outbound Worcester double-train as one regular and one extra. They covered 3 of the 11 lines running on the weekend (Worcester, Fitchburg and Newburyport/Rockport). The other 8 lines seemed to handle the crowds with existing service, except maybe some folks on the Needham Line who were directed to take bus service instead. So if you put extras out on those other 8 lines they probably would have carried some people, but that's 8 more crews you are paying for (and fuel, wear and tear, etc) that really wouldn't have been needed. It doesn't matter if Keolis or the MBTA is footing the bill, that's an enormous waste of resources. Especially if that means you are triggering HOS requirements, and then those folks working Saturday won't be available Monday to handle the normal rush hour.

The fact is weekend commuter rail ridership and demand is low without something going on. Since the trains aren't re-sized for weekend service most of them are running around only 10-15% full on a given weekend day. It's been admitted by nearly everyone the crowd was bigger than expected, and they almost handled it with existing service. So if they got the crowd they were expecting, they probably wouldn't have had to run any extras. When they realized they needed to do something the responded, and based on the media reports rather successfully.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby Trinnau » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:23 pm

saulblum wrote:The more general issue is that the weekend commuter rail schedules are generally useless, with their 2-3-hour headways. Heck, on a Sunday you can't even get to South Station before 12:30 from Providence.

Contrast that to the (at least) hourly weekend service on Metra and Caltrain and SEPTA regional rail and even Tri-Rail in south Florida.


More service on the weekend costs more money. And with trains largely empty on the weekend already, and the T tightening its belt on low margin services (late night) and in general (recent downsizing) its not likely you're going to see an increase in weekend service just to improve headways without any real demonstrated ridership demand to support it.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby saulblum » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:25 am

Trinnau wrote:And with trains largely empty on the weekend already, and the T tightening its belt on low margin services (late night) and in general (recent downsizing) its not likely you're going to see an increase in weekend service just to improve headways without any real demonstrated ridership demand to support it.


Perhaps — bear with me here, this is a stretch — weekend ridership is so poor because the schedules are so useless?

"We shouldn't increase weekend service because no one rides the pathetic weekend service we currently run."
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:37 am

^ Agree 100%.

I know I'd ride it a lot more on the weekends if there was better service. I regularly visit family up in Ipswich, but always end up driving these days since trains only run every 2-3 hours, and the earliest AM outbound doesn't even get there until 10:30. And Newburyport has it pretty good compared to some of the other lines (*cough*Providence*cough*).

Of course there are other reasons I've largely abandoned the commuter rail, mainly the fact that a round trip up there is now $20 (it was $12.50 five years ago), and that it takes about 50 minutes plus at least 30 to get to North Station, whereas driving only takes 40 minutes door to door, and at 64 miles round trip, that's about a gallon and a half of gas for me - so call it $4. If you want people going to and from the suburbs to take the train instead of driving, it needs to be either cheaper or faster than driving - the T is neither.


With service like this it's no wonder weekend ridership is so poor.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby dm1120 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:28 am

saulblum wrote:
Trinnau wrote:And with trains largely empty on the weekend already, and the T tightening its belt on low margin services (late night) and in general (recent downsizing) its not likely you're going to see an increase in weekend service just to improve headways without any real demonstrated ridership demand to support it.


Perhaps — bear with me here, this is a stretch — weekend ridership is so poor because the schedules are so useless?

"We shouldn't increase weekend service because no one rides the pathetic weekend service we currently run."
I have many friends who would gladly move to the suburbs if the commuter rail service wasn't so poor.
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:33 pm

saulblum wrote:
Trinnau wrote:And with trains largely empty on the weekend already, and the T tightening its belt on low margin services (late night) and in general (recent downsizing) its not likely you're going to see an increase in weekend service just to improve headways without any real demonstrated ridership demand to support it.


Perhaps — bear with me here, this is a stretch — weekend ridership is so poor because the schedules are so useless?

"We shouldn't increase weekend service because no one rides the pathetic weekend service we currently run."



Bingo.......the schedules for our weekend service is horrendous .....ALL trains are locals, making useless stops, Islington? Norwood Depot? Wellesley Farms? Wellesly Hills? the Newton Stops? the entire Dorchester branch? The Old Colonly? 2-2.5 hours in between trains. Someone mentioned it already, the FIRST inbound from Providence isn't until 11AM on a Sunday??? Really? The ridership isn't there? when 6 cars are full by Mansfield? or the first Outbound from Boston isn't until 1105A on a Sunday? 5 cars full? but the Ridership isn't there. Don't get me started on the terrible, embarrassing schedules we operate on weekends....it's a joke. But what would us crews know, not like we work the said trains or not
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Re: The T and Large Events

Postby dm1120 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:25 am

MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:
saulblum wrote:
Trinnau wrote:And with trains largely empty on the weekend already, and the T tightening its belt on low margin services (late night) and in general (recent downsizing) its not likely you're going to see an increase in weekend service just to improve headways without any real demonstrated ridership demand to support it.


Perhaps — bear with me here, this is a stretch — weekend ridership is so poor because the schedules are so useless?

"We shouldn't increase weekend service because no one rides the pathetic weekend service we currently run."



Bingo.......the schedules for our weekend service is horrendous .....ALL trains are locals, making useless stops, Islington? Norwood Depot? Wellesley Farms? Wellesly Hills? the Newton Stops? the entire Dorchester branch? The Old Colonly? 2-2.5 hours in between trains. Someone mentioned it already, the FIRST inbound from Providence isn't until 11AM on a Sunday??? Really? The ridership isn't there? when 6 cars are full by Mansfield? or the first Outbound from Boston isn't until 1105A on a Sunday? 5 cars full? but the Ridership isn't there. Don't get me started on the terrible, embarrassing schedules we operate on weekends....it's a joke. But what would us crews know, not like we work the said trains or not
Another issue besides the horrible schedule is the fares are just too high on the weekend given how cheap parking is. I can park in the financial district for $9 on the weekend. Meanwhile someone without a monthly pass is expected to shell out $8.25 each way for a zone 4 trip. It doesn't make sense and the fares should really be cut in half on the weekend.
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