Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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mirage
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage »

ssresident wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:07 am
mirage wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:41 pm
They will see that Walpole parking utilization is down and say hey, it worked, people left Walpole go to Foxboro! And they will eventually see that the Norwood Central lot is full and say, great new riders due to increase service! When all of this is just people diverting from Walpole to Norwood Central due to decreased rush hour service from Walpole.
I don't know how much detail the MBTA will see, but you do enter your plate number into the Pay by Phone parking app. I would guess that they could look at a plate's history to see if it had been in Walpole for some period of time and then switch to NC when the service to W was decreased.
I had not thought of that, it is a good idea. I wonder how much access MBTA has to pay by phone app data. It would be interesting to see that data for a number of reasons.

MBTA3247
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Location: Milton

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by MBTA3247 »

They would need to have access to license plate numbers so their "meter maids" can verify that everyone in the lot has paid. How long they have access to/retain those records, though, I have no idea.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.

charding
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:33 pm

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by charding »

...what is the latest on Foxboro ops...like load factors..

Commuterrail1050
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:25 pm

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Commuterrail1050 »

Not really utilized much if at all for now. Maybe a few people board there at the most.

mirage
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage »

https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/lo ... 631c0.html

For November, the mbta is saying there were ~70 boardings per day, or 7 boardings per train.

Frankin line performance remains terrible since the pilot started (76% peak on-time performance the last 30 days) and Norwood central remains overcrowded due to all the diversion from Walpole to Norwood Central due to service cuts at Walpole.

The service clearly needs more time to play out but the idea that 500 parking spots was going to cause riders to flock to Foxboro due to overcrowding at other stations is a myth, if anything the pilot has created parking problems at Norwood Central where riders are now being turned away for the first time due to lack of parking.

charding
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:33 pm

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by charding »

...are ridership loads still low? If so, doesn’t seem worthwhile to continue this test after its trial period...also, in the realm of unintended consequences, maybe if the MBTA goes back to the previous Franklin Line schedule, it will alleviate the parking problem in Norwood...

mirage
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage »

I have searched around but have not been able to find anything out about the pilot ridership since that article a few months ago. I have also not seen anything in any of the FCMB meetings or elsewhere sharing any update on the pilot or reporting any of the metrics they said they are going to watch. The pilot is almost 1/3 of way done at this point.

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BandA
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by BandA »

From what I read here it's been a disaster for people trying to park at some stations. Do they have the courage to declare a pilot to be a failure, and to change back to the previous schedule until Walpole is upgraded?

mirage
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage »

As I have said in my previous posts, the parking at Norwood Central has definitely been adversely impacted with at or near 0% for the 8:22AM departure. Patrons looking for the 8:33AM departure are out of luck for parking. I used take that train about once every two weeks or so, but I now I drive to rte 128 on those days because parking is not available at Norwood Central.

I also ride the 7:47AM departure from Norwood Central occasionally, and it appears to me there is a significnat uptick in boardings for that train, which happen to be the train that no longer stops at Walpole and it the last train to catch to ensure you are at your office in Downtown by 9AM.

Prior to the pilot I had never seen the lot full except for when the snow clearing contractor would do a poor job and block 50-100 spaces (~15% of the lot).

On-time performance was terrible the first couple of months, but my perception now is that it is not much worse than before - always hard to tell given how much variability there is in ontime performance anyway.

charding
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:33 pm

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by charding »

...yep, looks like two options...build a capability on the Lewis Wye at the Union Station in Walpole to allow passengers to board/get off the Foxboro trans...or go back to the original Walpole schedule and recognize the Foxboro extension a failure...’law of unintended consequences’...

ohalloranchris
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:42 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by ohalloranchris »

If I’m not mistaken, the pilot is being subsidized by the Krafts for the first year. So I would assume that unless they agree to keep the $ flowing, the service will end by October.

Trinnau
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Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by Trinnau »

There are parking lots on the system that fill up much earlier - it's all relative to how close to Boston. Norwood Central was a clear winner in the service pattern established with the pilot. It is the best option for anyone in that area in terms of choice because every train stops there. If one works a job that has a variable end time, or sometimes you just miss the earlier train, you're not waiting as long for the next one. This is not a failure of the pilot. It likely would have happened if similar changes were made to the schedule but Walpole was kept instead of Foxboro on the two rush hour trains it was eliminated from.

The success/failure of the Foxboro pilot will be based on Foxboro ridership. I agree Walpole needs to be added if it's going full-time, but one way or another I think the lot at Norwood Central is staying full.

Lastly, the MBTA's OTP tracker shows January was 87% on the Franklin Line, compared to 88% in September, the last full month before the pilot started. I don't see the Foxboro service specifically listed there, so it might be all wrapped in.

mirage
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:01 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by mirage »

Part of the justification for the MBTA to do the pilot was the constrained parking availability at the nearby Providence and Franklin line stations: Manfield/Sharon/Norfolk/Walpole. The pilot has not attracted riders from any of these stations to Foxboro. Instead, the people who board at Foxboro are probably the same people that parked at the Foxboro town lot on the Manfield line that has a shuttle bus to and from Mansfield (making it a two-seat ride). And by cutting service at Walpole (1000 boarding per day), it has detrimentally affected the commute of many for the benefit for the few (50 daily boardings at Foxboro?), and it has created a parking constraint at Norwood Central that did not exist before.

If they commited to returning service to Walpole and using the double-track expansion to run "local" service to Foxborough and express service to Franklin (bypassing many of the small stops - plimptomville, norwood depot, islington, endicott, readville) that make the trip from Frankling unberably long, then I think the expansion makes sense. Running the trains from foxboro via the fairmont line make sense in terms of saving equipment, but it makes the trip from Foxboro much longer than the trip from any of the surrounding stations.

On the fairmont trains, the ride from Foxboro is over an hour, or equivalent to the same time you can get from PVD station to Boston (which is 20 miles further from Boston, almost twice as far!). It is a 20 min longer rider from Foxboro than from Mansfield and at Manfield you have more trains to choose from as well. Just so we can get 500 free spaces from Bob Kraft? The money would be better spent expanding parking options at existing stations that are parking constrained. There are open parcels that could easily be made into surface lots at Attleboro, Manfield, and Norfolk

ohalloranchris
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:42 am

Re: Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

Post by ohalloranchris »

I altered my normal commute and rode train 742 out of Foxboro this morning (7:29 departure). There were about 20 cars in the parking lot, and a trickle of passengers boarded (approximately 5 people on my coach).

Given that this is the most attractive peak period timed train, the load was pretty light.

The new infrastructure between Foxboro and Walpole makes a huge difference from the old days of crawling along on football trains. According to Waze, our top speed was 56 mph in that segment, before slowing down for the wye of course.

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