Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

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Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby livesteamer » Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:55 pm

Reading today's Boston Globe website, looks like some of the South Shore politicans want to raise the heat on the Greenbush Line for low number of riders. Guess they don't know there is a serious recission going on with the resultant loss of jobs. Could this mean the loss of some mid day trains?
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:57 pm

1. Put a toll somewhere, 2. watch the numbers spike and stay up, 3. then watch pollution data decline as icing for the cake.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby MBTA3247 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:06 am

Ridership might also be "low", because IIRC the ridership survey they just did was supposed to be the 5-year survey, even though the line's only been open for 3 years.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby diburning » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:29 pm

That, and the ridership base isn't too large to begin with. Some of the people currently served by the Greenbush line used to drive to a station on one of the other Old Colony Lines, park their car, then take the commuter rail in. All the Greenbush line has done is take those riders so that the ridership of the Greenbush line is up, while the ridership on the other Old Colony lines go down. Just because the Greenbush line opened doesn't mean that a couple hundred riders would suddenly pop up out of nowhere.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Finch » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:38 pm

Just because the Greenbush line opened doesn't mean that a couple hundred riders would suddenly pop up out of nowhere.

Actually I would expect that any new rail line worth its salt would generate new riders, people who would never ride the train otherwise because it did not stop close enough to their home. I don't know how many riders that would be, but why would you build a new rail line if not to attract new riders? If the Greenbush line has not generated a couple hundred or a couple thousand new riders (like I said, I don't know what a realistic number would be), then I would say it has been a failure thus far.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby diburning » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:41 am

I wouldn't call it a failure YET, but the topic of this thread is about politics and how the Greenbush line hasn't generated as many passengers as they thought it would.

And what I said is based on the ridership reports. People who live in areas which the Greenbush line now serves used to drive down to another line, park their car, then take the train in. Since the Greenbush line exists now, those passengers aren't new passengers, they're simply riding the Greenbush line instead of another line.

As for people who would never ride the train but now would due to the opening of the Greenbush line, there is a finite number of people who fit this description.

I think that it would be very difficult if not impossible to estimate the number of new passengers without asking people where they worked, would they take the train, etc.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby jck » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:38 am

I see three issues with the train. First, there was already South Shore ferry service. Many of the train riders are former ferry riders. Second, this is a slow line with infrequent service. If you start work at 9 AM, you really only have one choice of train. The train is not time-competitive with off-peak driving.

Third, the towns on this line are all fairly small, from what I understand. No big population centers.

I hope this serves as a warning regarding the south coast rail. The state really needs to spend it's transportation dollars where the riders are, not where they are not.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Marley » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:39 am

I completely agree with you. I don't understand the logic behind building such expensive infastructure to serve so few people when there are several rapid transit projects on the table without funding that would service a MASSIVE amount of people.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Arborway » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:12 pm

The state's attitude towards commuter rail expansion has been a joke for some time now.

State: "Spending a billion and a half dollars will get us 1,000 passengers a day from Fall River and New Bedford!"
"What about the Red / Blue connector that would make things easier on the Red, Blue AND Green lines?"
State: "We can add service to South Duxberige River instead!"
"Does that town even exist?"
State: "Hmm... pretty sure it might. We're thinking another 25 daily boardings!"
"How much would that cost?"
State: "A smidge over $700 million."
*somewhere a passenger waits as 4 packed Green Line trains pass through their station*
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:38 pm

Marley wrote:I completely agree with you. I don't understand the logic behind building such expensive infastructure to serve so few people when there are several rapid transit projects on the table without funding that would service a MASSIVE amount of people.


It was a Big Dig transit mitigation requirement, so they were bound to it. Of course, they built it anyway while weaseling out of a majority of all others so that's enough reason for derision. But that's more a commentary on them being derelict in duty on fulfilling the other commitments than whether Greenbush was a mistake. It wasn't a mistake...it was the law.

The farcial part of it was always the hostage-taking by places like Hingham for expensive mitigation like that stupid tunnel through downtown that they suddenly no longer want. We'd already have CR service to South Coast at half the cost if the Greenbush towns didn't perfect the municipalities' ransoming tactics on extracting frivolous (emphasis) special considerations. Now every town is playing the "Me! Me! Me!" game on design and mitigation handouts that are inessential to quality of life near the ROW.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Marley » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:21 pm

This insanity needs to stop. The MBTA needs to officially declare a moratorium on commuter rail expansion. The only expansions I would support would be out of state expansions that the MBTA was not contributing any money to. I would like to see the following completed before they resume flushing money down the toilet:

-Red/Blue line connector
-Urban Ring
-Green Line extension
-Blue line extension to Lynn
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby sery2831 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:39 pm

Going off topic. Please keep this related to the Greenbush ridership and not what we could have spent money on.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Finch » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:44 pm

diburning wrote:I wouldn't call it a failure YET, but the topic of this thread is about politics and how the Greenbush line hasn't generated as many passengers as they thought it would.

And what I said is based on the ridership reports. People who live in areas which the Greenbush line now serves used to drive down to another line, park their car, then take the train in. Since the Greenbush line exists now, those passengers aren't new passengers, they're simply riding the Greenbush line instead of another line.

As for people who would never ride the train but now would due to the opening of the Greenbush line, there is a finite number of people who fit this description.

I think that it would be very difficult if not impossible to estimate the number of new passengers without asking people where they worked, would they take the train, etc.

I wouldn't call it a failure yet either, because I'm sure some new riders have been generated. There must be a few riders from, say, North Scituate who used to drive into Boston rather than driving 12 miles to the South Weymouth station and riding the train the rest of the way (just a made-up example).

I guess what I'm saying is this: I really hope nobody publicly uses the excuse "Well, we weren't expecting much ridership because most people used to ride the Kingston/Plymouth line anyways." That will not fly with anyone questioning the viability of the Greenbush line. Heck, it won't even fly with me, and I'm generally very supportive of rail initiatives of all types.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Arlington » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:14 pm

I think its important to have the courage to call Greenbush a loser now. The projects that should be built are the ones that:

1) You won't find yourself making excuses for. The good ones outperform their projections.
2) Are sufficiently popular that the potential riders will shout down the greedy/frivolous abutter abatement demands during the planning process.
(frankly the MBTA's planning process gives cranks too many bites at the apple)
3) Have localities willing to add Transit Oriented Development to neighborhoods around stations

Greenbush wastes more than $534m (or whatever) in capital costs. It also wastes:
1) Slots at South Station that could have been used to intensify rush service on a crowded line
2) Vehicles that could have been used to improve service/reliability on a popular line.

Intensive service on one line is way better than infrequent service on 3 lines. Higher frequencies make a much better park-and-ride experience.
Last edited by Arlington on Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Political Heat on the Greenbush Line

Postby Marley » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:10 am

I agree. I would have much rather seen more trains on say, the Providence line. Does anyone have statistics on added trains on the commuter rail. I wonder how often they add trains...

Anyway, I think adding trains to existing lines would increase ridership more than building lines with very infrequent service.
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