Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops) Rapid Transit

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Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops) Rapid Transit

Postby rail10 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:53 pm

Does the MBTA subway trains have conductors or it is one person train operation ?
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Re: opto

Postby Diverging Route » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:36 pm

rail10 wrote:Does the MBTA subway trains have conductors or it is one person train operation ?


Blue Line - OPTO
Orange Line - Guard*
Red Line - Guard*
Green Line - One operator per car.

*Guard = Bostonese for what other cities, such as New York, call "conductor."
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Postby StevieC48 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:39 pm

Even though the Blue Line has OPTO they also have Inspectors that ride the trains as well to assist in a breakdown.
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Postby WonderlandMan » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:50 pm

What is OPTO (acronym for..?)
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Postby AutisticPsycho » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:11 pm

WonderlandMan wrote:What is OPTO (acronym for..?)
rail10 wrote:one person train operation
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Postby Diverging Route » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:11 pm

WonderlandMan wrote:What is OPTO (acronym for..?)

One Person Train Operation
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Re: opto

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:34 pm

Diverging Route wrote:*Guard = Bostonese for what other cities, such as New York, call "conductor."

The MBTA job lottery uses the term "Train Attendant".
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Postby CRail » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:21 am

The official terms is "Train Attendant," however they're called guards by the poeple in the field. Just like the person we all know as the bus driver is officially a "Bus Operator." Not to mention that there is no such thing as a motorman anymore, they are "Motorpersons," (which comes up red from the spellchecker :wink: ).
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby sery2831 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:10 am

Looks like a new push to create one man operations on the subway yet once again! :-\

From boston.com: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... rs?mode=PF

Touching the third rail of transit policy
$30m for second drivers with almost nothing to do

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff | June 14, 2009

They sit in special compartments, surrounded by screens, knobs, and levers. But the employees who work in the rear of MBTA trains have about as much driving responsibility as the passengers.

The job can be so mundane and removed from the action that a Red Line train attendant was recently caught napping in his chair, an act that went unnoticed until managers were handed a cellphone photo taken by a passenger.

Yet the MBTA, deep in debt and considering fare hikes and service reductions, spends about $29.5 million per year to employ a workforce of 386 employees whose jobs were made obsolete decades ago elsewhere, according to a Globe analysis.

"Their primary function is opening and closing doors," said Richard J. Leary, chief of operations for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Almost every transit system in the United States and Europe runs subways and trolleys with a single driver, automating the second operator's responsibilities. Systems built since the 1970s never even contemplated a second operator; all but a few notable examples built before then have since been retrofitted, relatively cheaply. In Asia and Europe, some transit service runs with no driver at all.

Even the MBTA Blue Line made the switch to a single operator more than a decade ago, using a low-cost combination of mirrors, station lighting, and cameras to compensate for the lack of a second employee's eyes and pressure-sensitive doors to make sure passengers do not get caught in them.

Despite a safe transition on the Blue Line and 13 years of subsequent experience, the T has converted none of its other lines. The major obstacle is not technical. It's political.

"I fought World War III in 1995 to go from two to one on the Blue Line," said Michael Mulhern, a former MBTA general manager who ran the T's operations in the mid-1990s. "I can't overstate how controversial an initiative it was at that time."

Union opposition was vehement, leading to legislative hearings, a specially appointed commission, and a 3-inch-thick report compiled by managers to justify the change as they faced six months of questions from skeptical passengers and politicians.

Stephan G. MacDougall, president of the Carmen's Union that represents subway and trolley operators, said he would oppose any changes that would reduce the number of employees on the other lines.

Eliminating workers, he said, jeopardizes safety without attacking the T's true financial problems, a debt load of more than $8 billion, largely the result of expansion projects mandated by the state, he said.

"We think they have been lucky on the Blue Line," said MacDougall. "This whole post-9/11 behavior at the MBTA has been to kind of abandon safety and visibility of employees, all around the shroud of efficiency and saving money."

MacDougall said the presence of a second uniformed and knowledgeable employee reduces the threat of crime and would play a key role in contacting first-responders and evacuating trains in an emergency.

Recent changes in the Blue Line - lengthening trains from four to six cars without incident, despite the lack of a second operator - have persuaded MBTA managers to review the issue once again.

Orange and Red line trains are longer than the Blue Line's. But the experience of other cities with even longer trains has diminished the argument that longer trains must have a second employee.

"The technology is there to do it," said Anna M. Barry, director of subway operations for the MBTA.

Daniel A. Grabauskas, MBTA general manager, said his staff has studied the issue quite seriously over the past year. The Orange Line is considered the least expensive and easiest transition, he said.

"The data that we have collected thus far with the operation of the Blue Line at six cars is compelling to expand it to another line," Grabauskas said. "If I sound deliberative, I am, because when you make a change in operations you want to make sure that you have done everything you can . . . to be prepared and do it correctly."

But efforts to reduce the number of employees on trains have stalled in the past. Mulhern's staff announced a plan in 2005 to convert the Green Line. But the union pledged lobbying and public relations campaigns, Mulhern left the job months later, and the issue quietly died when Grabauskas did not make it a priority.

Grabauskas is in the last year of his contract, which will expire in May, meaning that his efforts on the Orange Line could be subject to another management upheaval.

Mulhern says rigorous analysis would be necessary before moving forward on any of the other lines, because each has unique challenges.

T managers say the Blue Line experience has proved that the risks of a single operator were overstated. The most immediate and practical risk was that passengers could get caught in doors if the driver failed to see them.

Between January 2007 and November 2008, the Blue Line recorded 14 door incidents. The Orange and Red lines had at least 40 door incidents during that period, with the Green Line recording 65.

Even accounting for the Blue Line's smaller passenger load and shorter route, the numbers do not seem to reflect that using a single operator leads to a greater risk of doors closing on passengers.

"We can see all the doors," Blue Line operator Vinnie Falconi said during a recent demonstration for a reporter.

At some stations, Falconi scans a monitor connected to four cameras, positioned on the side of the platform, to make sure passengers are not near doors as he closes them. At other stations, where there are no curves, he needs only a magnifying mirror.

Installation of the mirrors "makes a world of difference," Falconi said.

The Blue Line was the ideal test case in 1996. In addition to short trains, it had the most modern stations and signal equipment. The Blue Line was also the first to get passenger emergency intercoms, now standard on other lines.

But the savings were relatively modest, $1.1 million at the time. That was because relatively few employees work on the Blue Line and because the T, to satisfy critics, employed more inspectors to work at each station to board the trains in case of a breakdown or emergency.

The T estimates it could save about $3.3 million annually by making a similar change on the Orange Line. The Green Line, which employs more workers than the other three lines combined, would probably realize the most savings, but the T is reluctant to make that change.

Leary, head of operations for the T, said Green Line cars would require a retrofit to eliminate the second driver, because front-car operators cannot open doors on the second car. Still, a look at other cities' systems shows that one-operator trolleys are feasible.

San Francisco's Muni system uses Italian-made Breda brand cars, which also make up nearly half the Green Line fleet on the T, and runs them with a single operator who has access to all the doors. Like most modern light rail systems, Muni does not rely on the operator to collect fares, a time-consuming process that slows service. Instead, passengers must prove they bought tickets during random checks and face stiff fines if they get caught cheating.

New Jersey's PATH train and New York City Transit may be the only other systems that still employ two operators for most trains. New York, where trains run as long as 11 cars, began using solo operators on trains shorter than 300 feet in 1996, only after an arbitrator allowed a pilot program over the transit union's protests.

The Chicago Transit Authority and Philadelphia's SEPTA, a pair of older systems that are often compared with the T, finished converting all lines to solo drivers in the 1980s and 1990s. Even a system with longer trains than any of the MBTA's, Atlanta's MARTA, uses solo operators for all lines.

Chicago officials were persuaded to eliminate the second employee, called a conductor there, by a 1985 US Department of Transportation report that concluded that solo-operator trains were actually safer because the driver would feel personally responsible for making all the checks before departing a station.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com.
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby danib62 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:30 am

I don't think the T will ever be able to switch, the union is way too concerned about $afety :wink: .
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby StevieC48 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:40 am

Unfourtnately the union's don't have the power they once had back in the day. So it will be intresting to see the outcome. :wink:
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby livesteamer » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:47 pm

The Union is so concerned with safety that an employee was fired for cell phone usage on duty. How do you spell "featherbedding"? That would be door operator on the Red Line and the Orange Line.
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby BOS-T-time » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:11 am

A question I would ask with one person operations of trains is if there ever were ever an emergency (God forbid) how is one operator going to assist and coordinate an evacuation with 6 car trains that are packed in the middle of the tunnel.
I was thinking of that the other day when I was on a packed Red Line car that was standning by for traffic, yet you could barely hear the announcements because the PA was so bad. No one would know what to do until someone showed up and with one person way in the front operating the train, and the announcements not being able to be heard, how would anyone know what to do?

just my 2 cents.
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby ags » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:06 am

BOS-T-time wrote:A question I would ask with one person operations of trains is if there ever were ever an emergency (God forbid) how is one operator going to assist and coordinate an evacuation with 6 car trains that are packed in the middle of the tunnel.


Well if you recall from about two years ago, there was an emergency and the operators did nothing. The trains stopped operating and overheated. Operators failed to assist so passengers evacuated themselves. The T still has remained quiet on this issue, citing that the evacuation was "unauthorized."

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaki ... bta_r.html

Even with two operators the T proved how worthless their operating procedures are when their employees don't take initiative to act.
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Re: Official T OPTO Discussion(One Man Subway Ops)

Postby rethcir » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:40 am

I think this could work well enough on the heavy rail lines, but how the heck would they collect fares on the aboveground green line? Talk about chucking even more revenue.
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