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Old 05-14-2019, 11:56 PM   #6021
bakgwailo
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by TheMagicMan View Post
I think that was pretty misleading by our elected officials to allow city, state and federal workers were allowed to be able to do this in the past. As more and more services continue to be cut along with rising property taxes to service the city & state pension implosion.

Now they need 10 Billion dollars to fix the everyday services for the MBTA which does not include any expansions.

Why doesn't the entire public pension system convert to a 401K like the private sector? Especially since the public system has so much faith in Wall Street. Why are there retirements guaranteed and 401K are fluctuations?
Property taxes have been capped from rising via prop 2½ in 1980. The number is also, again, not fixing every day service but literally modernizing everything (and doesn't include already spent dollars on projects ongoing - such as the complete overhauls of the Red and Orange). Furthermore, the public sector cannot compete on private sector wages, so things like pensions are offered as incentives to attract talent. Lastly, if you want to look at what hamstrung the MBTA, look no further than the switch over to forward funding, indexing the MBTA's revenue stream to the sales tax (which never met projections), and the forcing of the MBTA to pay for and take debt on for the Big Dig's remediation projects, which, last I checked account for about 1/3 of the agency's overall debt.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:16 AM   #6022
tysmith95
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

The MBTA pension is pretty lucrative for workers. More so than any other state pension.

The system for other state employees isin't, the state saves money by not putting 6% towards social security. Many workers there would be better off with a 401k system. When it was "reformed" in 2012 it stopped being a benefit.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:28 PM   #6023
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Quote:
No final decision was made on Monday, but members of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board seemed to be leaning toward eliminating one element of a late-night bus service pilot project that has attracted few riders.

...

Several members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board indicated they were in favor of pulling the plug on the third element of the late-night bus pilot while continuing the other two. “The consensus here was category 1 and category 2 are working, but category 3 is really struggling,” said Joseph Aiello, the chair of the control board.
Quote:
Meanwhile, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said he is continuing to talk with Cubic Corp. about an extended timetable for the new fare collection system it is developing for the T. The company acknowledged recently that the delivery date for the system might have to be delayed, but has given no cause.

One area that might be slowing things down is the complexity of the T’s fare system. Control board officials on Monday discussed all the permutations of existing fares that would have to be programmed into the new system along with the capacity to add new types of fares based on distance traveled or time-of-day travel. It sounded very complex.
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/tra...e-on-i-93-hit/

The MBTA fare system is not fucking complex.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:51 PM   #6024
HelloBostonHi
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by jass View Post
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/tra...e-on-i-93-hit/

The MBTA fare system is not fucking complex.
Not even slightly complex. Some of the ones being proposed are quite complex, for example a bus pass giving you discounts on trains and a LinkPass giving you discounts on commuter rail but it's definitely nothing unheard of. London has a far far far far more complex fare system complete with zones, peak/off-peak, out of station interchanges, day caps, in station validators to map trips avoiding zone 1, integration with outside companies, special fares for places like Heathrow, etc.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:44 AM   #6025
millerm277
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by HelloBostonHi View Post
Some of the ones being proposed are quite complex, for example a bus pass giving you discounts on trains and a LinkPass giving you discounts on commuter rail but it's definitely nothing unheard of.
The latter is already how the T's fare system works if you do it right, the issue at present is the confusing fare media/explanations means a lot of people don't get to take advantage of those functions with the way they buy a pass.

To illustrate:

A LinkPass is really a crippled version of a Zone 1A Commuter Rail pass that no one should want to purchase in an optimal world without unnecessary fare media issues.

The Zone 1A pass is exactly the same price, but the Zone 1A pass is valid on subway, local bus (same as LinkPass) plus the Charlestown ferry, and Zone 1A.

And with a CR pass, you only have to pay the interzone fare difference if you want to travel further on the CR, not the full fare.

----------

As for the former, they manage to give you a discount on your subway fare (you just pay the fare difference between the modes) if you ride the bus (pay per ride, CharlieCard) now, so I don't view building in the same discounts to the bus pass product as anything particularly complex.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:20 AM   #6026
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/tra...e-on-i-93-hit/

The MBTA fare system is not fucking complex.
Yeah, they shouldn't speculate a legitimate cause for the delay. If Cubic had a legitimate excuse, Poftak would know it, as he does for PTC and the Orange Line test car.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:12 AM   #6027
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Quote:
Amtrak is Blocking MBTA Electrification

Ten years ago, Amtrak began putting out its outrageously expensive proposals for high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor. Already then, when it asked for $10 billion to barely speed up trains, there was a glaring problem with coordination: Amtrak wanted hundreds of millions of dollars to three-track the Providence Line so that its trains could overtake the MBTA’s commuter trains between Providence and Boston, even though the same benefit could be obtained for cheaper by building strategic overtakes and electrifying the MBTA so that its trains would run faster. Unfortunately, Amtrak has not only displayed no interest in coordinating better service with the MBTA this way, but has just actively blocked the MBTA.
https://pedestrianobservations.com/2...ectrification/


Good article worth reading
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:14 PM   #6028
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by jass View Post
Ridiculous. No way Amtrak can double its Acela tph by 2040 interlodged between a bunch of crawling disels. Does the MBTA own any of the NEC that it can gain back some bargaining power?
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:41 PM   #6029
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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I'm confused about what makes this a good article. I don't see any substance here.

They're rambling along about their opinions of Amtrak and not in any way explaining how "Amtrak is blocking MBTA electrification" other than Amtrak not leasing them electric locomotives (which I wasn't aware Amtrak had some large spare fleet floating around), and even that has zero sources provided.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:58 PM   #6030
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by sneijder View Post
Ridiculous. No way Amtrak can double its Acela tph by 2040 interlodged between a bunch of crawling disels. Does the MBTA own any of the NEC that it can gain back some bargaining power?
Massachusetts owns the Northeast corridor the whole way between Rhode island and South Station.

However it was Amtrak and federal money that improved the line and so there is a operating agreement in place which gives Amtrak the dispatch control and a monopoly as the overhead electricity provider.

Amtrak is not really in the business of promoting Transit use, and so if you ask for locomotives slots or electricity they have a reputation of charging full price
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:30 PM   #6031
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Amtrak has been notoriously difficult for the MBTA to work with, even on simple projects like the extra Ruggles commuter rail platform they've added extra complexity. However blaming them for a lack of electrification is just incorrect. The MBTA has made it clear that they prefer the flexibility of a single mode fleet to interchange locomotives and trains between lines for the time being and I doubt that will change until CR Vision produces a realistic plan for implementation of an electric or dual mode fleet.

it took them years to agree on it But yes, the MBTA owns the tracks from RI to Boston and has an agreement with Amtrak where Amtrak provides MOW and dispatching.

And yes, the NEC could benefit from a third track or passing track near the RI border, it's no secret that commuter rail trains currently make and will always make far more stops than Amtrak trains. No electrification will change that, electric trains are only marginally faster accelerating than diesels.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:04 PM   #6032
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
No, it's one of the worst posts Alon has ever written. This line in particular is liar-liar pants-on-fire bad:

Quote:
The line is already wired thanks to Amtrak’s investment in the 1990s, and all that is required is wiring a few siding and yard tracks that Amtrak did not electrify as it does not itself use them
There is a whole shitload more to do than just that, and he bloody well knows it because it's been discussed ad nauseam in the comment section of his own blog many times before.

There is not enough electrical capacity to run electric commuter trains alongside Amtrak. The Providence Line would short out the whole system if it attempted to run its whole schedule under wire right this second. As solo investor in the system back when it was built in 1999, Amtrak only built enough substation capacity to track with its own 25-year growth. Commuter needs, which went unspecified at the time because the T had no plans to electrify, would have to be handled by expanding the existing substations. Something ConnDOT just finished doing to Branford and New London subs for enabling M8 EMU's to start operating on Shore Line East. And something the MBTA must do at Sharon substation, which you can see from Google was built with more than 2x as much empty space as it has installed equipment strictly for the purpose of when-needed commuter expansion.

In no way, shape, or form is re-outfitting a substation a pick-up-and-go task. It's large up-front expense, significant planning, significant equipment construction, and significant involvement with the utilities as Eversource has to run all kinds of simulations and risk assessments for peak load on its high-tension lines 2000 ft. south of Sharon sub. It is probably a 3-5 year process between funding/go-ahead and actually turning on the extra capacity. And it would have to be coordinated with RIDOT being able to fund a similar but somewhat lesser expansion of Warwick sub, which handles everything from the power break in Norton, MA to Richmond, RI...encompassing the southern 14 miles of the main Providence schedule through Attleboro, South Attleboro, Pawtucket, and Providence stations, plus all the extended-run mileage to Wickford and Kingston. You better hope for a non-gridlocked fed grant award season if you hope to be able to keep RI lockstep with MA on funding those expansions. And you have to have all these arrangements sewn up before you go shopping for the first EMU to go under those wires.

Again: Levy knows this.

The electric loco lease wasn't going to work anyway except as a technological evaluation, because it was impossible to put enough of them in-service at one time. They also would've had to be maintained at extremely busy Amtrak Southampton Shops, where Northeast Regional and Acela equipment gets serviced. The T knows all about how congested Southampton is, because they've been butting heads with Amtrak for years of Purple Line sets taking up yard space meant for Regionals. Putting lease engines on top of the shop's duties would've required them to hire more staff...so of course the rental price was high: the parts-and-labor needed to go heavy on the labor part. This is in no way a conspiracy. It merely reflects that this deal would've been tough going logistically all-around...from the electrical capacity to the maintenance capacity.

Levy knows this; it's been discussed before on his site.

Level boarding: yes, it sucks that the Providence Line doesn't have it. But Amtrak controls the tracks while the T controls the stations, and Amtrak has sketched out that each of those stations needs passing-track capacity. So of course the T is not going to raise platforms in-place when Amtrak could come up to them a week later and say "I've got match funding to quad-track Sharon and Mansfield with platform turnouts; you ready for the jackhammer?" They need to act in lockstep to do anything, and right now Amtrak keeps saying MA isn't a priority. The T can't even raise the platforms at existing quad-track Attleboro because Amtrak isn't willing to install new crossovers to let CSX back up onto the Middleboro Secondary from the center tracks when it's got a wide-load freight that won't clear a full-high.

Now, building something twice for the sake of instant gratification might be fine and dandy for some high-and-mighty faraway transpo blogger, but I think most MA taxpayers would have a significant bone to pick with that. And once more: Levy knows this arrangement; he's spewed spittle all over the comments section before about what a trav-sham-ockery it is that the T has to hold hands at all with Amtrak on stuff like this. Boo-hoo, can't we just ignore legalities.


Also...when pressed for attribution on where he heard this:
Quote:
1. No, I’ve heard this privately from area activists who are in constant touch with MBTA and adjacent officials.
Well, that's certainly reliable sourcing! He wouldn't even stoop to calling this a TransitMatters scoop, because they actually vet their statements before releasing them. So this heresay is possibly no more trustworthy than a game of telephone spanning between Joe Pesaturo's lackeys and somebody's Twitter feed.

I'd comment on my own over there, but I'm in no mood tonight for that adirondacker12800 troll to render it unreadable by flooding the zone with non-sequiturs until it completely breaks the threading until you can't tell who's replying to whom (already happening). And since the name of the game on this piece was disingenuity it would only be stuff that's been said to him many times before with no pushback.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:30 PM   #6033
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Gotta say the artwork at Ruggles is making it look 20x better than the aging grey look.

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Old 05-18-2019, 10:38 PM   #6034
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

^ Wow, that looks much better.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:00 AM   #6035
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by bakgwailo View Post
^ Wow, that looks much better.
Indeed. Now turn the mural artists loose on all the other brutalist grey bunkers from Malden to Roxbury and the Orange Line might one day have--gasp!--actual aesthetic agreeability.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:29 AM   #6036
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Murals won't help Sullivan. What would help it is an entrance on the East Somerville side. I now commute through there a couple days a week and it always pisses me off how much it completely turns its back on the dense residential neighborhood it's right next to.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:30 PM   #6037
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by ceo View Post
Murals won't help Sullivan. What would help it is an entrance on the East Somerville side. I now commute through there a couple days a week and it always pisses me off how much it completely turns its back on the dense residential neighborhood it's right next to.
Oh, I know...I lived on Myrtle St. for 2 years and was infuriated daily as I walked down Perkins, saw the station get ever closer and more inviting...then got ready to make the 3-block detour to actually get there.
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Old Yesterday, 10:27 PM   #6038
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Flipped through some of today's FMCB materials, saw a ridership update:

https://cdn.mbta.com/sites/default/f...ip-fy18-q3.pdf

Ridership up on all modes vs Q1 (Calendar year) 2018 except Green Line. One quarter is not a trend, but still good to see.
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Old Yesterday, 11:11 PM   #6039
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Re: General MBTA Discussion Thread

Until several years ago, the MBTA was regularly reporting 210-230k riders per day on the Green Line. Now it's at 150-160k. Has the Green Line really lost one-third of its riders in just several years, or has their reporting changed?

EDIT: Looks like it dropped from 204k in the APTA 2017 Q4 report, to 155k in the 2018 Q1 report. That sharp a change suggests a change in methodology, not an actual massive ridership decline
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