South Station Expansion Project Discussion

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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:52 pm

Those of you who insist that the T should be turning trains at South Station as quickly as possible and moving various activities to the outlying terminals instead of building more platform tracks at SS seem to be overlooking a couple of things.

Cleaning: The only place on the south side where I know they clean trains is the S&I facility at Southampton St. Trainsets get cycled through there once or twice a week. I've never seen cleaning crews waiting to board trains at any station. It's possible some cleaning gets done at the outlying layover points (not the stations) at night, though with no mini-highs at the layover pads I doubt it. In addition, the cost of having cleaning crews at the outlying terminals quickly exceeds the cost of providing any necessary facilities for them.

Administrative functions: Things like handing in passenger counts and cash fares that were collected. These want to be handled at South Station, where only a single clerk is needed for receipts, not at the outlying terminals where you'd have to pay someone to drive around collecting them.

Places to go: Trains can only leave South Station if they have somewhere else to go, whether that's a layover berth at Southampton St or another outbound trip. There are only so many of the former, and the latter can be expensive if there isn't sufficient demand for an outbound at that time or even impossible if there's no available track slots.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby leviramsey » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:21 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Administrative functions: Things like handing in passenger counts and cash fares that were collected. These want to be handled at South Station, where only a single clerk is needed for receipts, not at the outlying terminals where you'd have to pay someone to drive around collecting them.


Cash should not be accepted on board, ever. There's no cash on board surcharge that's too high, but at a minimum it should be collected regardless of origin station (or alternatively, make every cash-on-board fare the maximum zone fare on the system). The vast majority of current and potential non-pass ridership have a smartphone and a credit card, or a CharlieCard (i.e. will be getting AFC 2.0). For the remaining few riders who are too young/old/poor/mentally-ill for smartphones, it's very likely cheaper to give them passes.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:23 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Administrative functions: Things like handing in passenger counts and cash fares that were collected.


Turning equipment around as early as possible does not necessarily mean turning the crew around just as fast.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby BandA » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:20 pm

leviramsey wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:Administrative functions: Things like handing in passenger counts and cash fares that were collected. These want to be handled at South Station, where only a single clerk is needed for receipts, not at the outlying terminals where you'd have to pay someone to drive around collecting them.


Cash should not be accepted on board, ever. There's no cash on board surcharge that's too high, but at a minimum it should be collected regardless of origin station (or alternatively, make every cash-on-board fare the maximum zone fare on the system). The vast majority of current and potential non-pass ridership have a smartphone and a credit card, or a CharlieCard (i.e. will be getting AFC 2.0). For the remaining few riders who are too young/old/poor/mentally-ill for smartphones, it's very likely cheaper to give them passes.
In order to eliminate cash you need to put ticket machines at each station.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby BandA » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:23 pm

I'm assuming the high cost for SSX includes replacing "Tower 1" and all the switches.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:33 pm

Designing a $2b station starting from assumptions about onboard cash collection and current fare technology seems pretty wrong. Organization before Signals before Concrete, is the rule. Get the processes behind fare collection organized, and, yes, potentially with FVMs at every platform. Frankly, something along those lines should have already happened so as to have unified fare media across all MBTA modes.

VRE (Virginia commuter rail) has worked pay-before-boarding from the start--you must do all fare payment/validation/activation before you step on the train, or explain to the conductor, before boarding, that it wasn't working for you*)

On board proof of off-board payment is the way this is all headed, starting with the Green Line (which saved about $500m in station complexity by adopting modern POP payment)

transitmatters is asking us to reimagine CR as TRANSIT--fast, frequent, and level boarding through all doors (picture Metro North or LIRR). Yes, that probably also means new fare collection--they want to charge subway fares wherever there's overlap, and probably a unified fare system.

VRE fare rules are:
Validate Your Ticket
Please remember to validate your Ten-Trip or Single-Ride tickets at the TVM every time before boarding trains. Tickets are not sold on board VRE trains. Virginia law (section 18.2-160.1) requires passengers to purchase and validate tickets before boarding VRE trains. Before each boarding, Single-Ride and Ten-Trip tickets must be validated at the ticket vending machines in station entrance areas. Monthly passes must be legibly signed or have your name printed on the back to be valid. Any passenger that is unable to validate their ticket by use of the validation machine must speak with the conductor prior to boarding the train. Passengers observed onboard without a valid ticket are subject to a fine of not less than $100.

Emphasis mine.

So the train staff are strictly verifying that you have paid, never doing ticket sales. It probably also means they have better fare compliance with fewer staff. Whooda thunk?
Last edited by Arlington on Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:09 am

BandA wrote:I'm assuming the high cost for SSX includes replacing "Tower 1" and all the switches.

The MassDOT rail plan (page 10 of 131 in the PDF) has them as separate projects. Tower 1 is assigned a cost of "$$" while SSX is assigned a cost of "$$$"

They are separately planned as
Tower 1 Upgrade – This project would entail upgrading the signals, power,
and track. Track improvements could lead to increased reliability, better on-time
performance and reduced delays for trains approaching South Station. To obtain
the full benefit, track improvements are necessary and require the purchase of the
postal service facility. Signal and other components of this upgrade, which can
have substantial benefits on their own, can be done as early action items for the
South Station Expansion.

South Station Expansion – Seven new tracks and four platforms for a total of
20 tracks and 11 platforms would substantially expand the passenger capacity at
South Station. This project will allow for the passenger rail system to meet current
and future high-speed, intercity, and commuter rail service needs for rail trips
originating or ending at South Station. The project requires the acquisition of the
neighboring post office facility
Last edited by Arlington on Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby Disney Guy » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:31 am

... starting with the Green Line (which saved about $500m in station complexity by adopting modern POP payment) ...

Is that done yet?

Fiendish idea. Expressing selected AM trains past some of the innermost stops, then quickly turning the train at South Station, making the missed stops, and then laying up the train in a new or existing yard a few miles from South Station. For PM, pick up at selected stops going inbound to South Station, turn quickly, make outbound trip skipping the affected stops. (Don't ask me why the words "foldover" and "flipflop" came to my mind.)
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Re: South Station Expansion Project Discussion

Postby Arlington » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:04 pm

Disney Guy wrote:
... starting with the Green Line (which saved about $500m in station complexity by adopting modern POP payment) ...
Is that done yet?

May 2020 is when AFC 2.0 turns on, May 2021 is when old fare system gets shut off. The system is all about tapping your fare media as you board...and on commuter rail, as you exit:
Commuter rail passengers would be required to tap both entering and exiting trains to measure distance traveled and assign fares accordingly, Block-Schachter explained.

On the commuter rail, the T believes the new system will allow conductors to merely verify payments rather than collecting them, speeding up a process that is often slowed or outright abandoned on crowded trains.

http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/11/20/cha ... ir-way-out
https://mbta.com/projects/automated-far ... on-20-afc2
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/ ... story.html

So I'd expect both door-taps for on and off, and perhaps an "we assume you ended at SS or NS if you didn't tap off in an earlier outer zone"

Either way,the key thing for terminal platform dwells is that by 2021, neither staff cash handling nor any ridership paperwork is going to be part of the staff's job in turning a train.
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