MBTA to run 'near rush-hour' subway service on Saturday

The T says it's beefing up service on Saturday for the Bruins victory parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the Garden.

All four subway lines will run at "near rush hour" schedules during the day. The T says it will also have extra orange-vested workers stationed throughout the system to help riders unfamiliar with how to use CharlieCards or get to the parade route.

The T said commuter rail will run on its normal Saturday schedule, but that it hopes to announce some additional service tomorrow.

Because of the expected crush of fans at the Garden, the T is urging people who want to be right there to use other stations, such as Haymarket and Government Center, or even Park Street and Downtown Crossing, and then walk over.



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Rush-hour service?

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In that case, place your bets which line will suffer massive failures and delays.

I call Orange.

Rush-hour service

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I don't recall any MBTA horror stories with the other 6 victory parades, and 5 of them were during the week. That being said, the MBTA seems to have worsened in the 3 years since the Celtics won.

You obviously didn't ride the commuter rail

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to work on those days. I did, and the trains were so packed, I could not get on either the 7:30 train from Reading OR the 8:00 train from Reading (and I board in Wakefield). I was able to get on the 8:30 from Reading, but I barely managed to get on due to the crowding.

And at 10:44 this morning, the MBTA is still announcing that they are running a regular Saturday schedule on the commuter rail (i.e. three hours between trains on most lines, and no service at all on others), but they are "trying to work out a plan" for additional trains with MBCR.

The sad thing here is that there's already a logical plan in place - run normal weekday service like you already do five days a week. But, once again, management would rather pinch pennies than actually serve their customers - and perhaps attract new regular riders in the process as well.

Its not just a matter of

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Its not just a matter of pinching pennies to run more service, its also a matter finding enough people willing to work overtime on their day off. In the case of the Old Colony lines, they will also have to work with their construction contractor to cancel tie replacement work, since those lines are presently shut-down on weekends with no bus replacements.

Guess what anon?

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The T's mission is supposed to be providing a transportation service. And part of that mission is supposed to be supporting special events like this.

And guess what else? Most people who want to attend this parade are probably coming in from the suburbs, and live beyond where the subway lines end. As I pointed out in another post, these folks have used the commuter rail in the past to come into Boston for similar events. And those trains were packed full the morning of those past parades.

I can only imagine what it will be like tomorrow morning with all those people trying to get in, when the trains operate only once every three hours.

And if "inability to staff the extra trains on short notice", is really the issue here, the why was the T able to announce they would provide that extra subway service and staffing almost immediately after Menion comitted to hold the parade on Saturday?

If management can instantly commit to running "near rush hour" subway service all day long on a Saturday, which BTW costs money, then is it totally illogical that they can't immediately make a similar commitment regarding the commuter rail service.

Your point is taken about the Old Colony work - and I agree it wouldn't make sense to force them to shut down. However, is it really all that difficult for the T to provide a few buses to shuttle people on those lines in to Boston (or at least to the Red Line) for one day's event?

Of course, if Menino and his crew weren't so bullheaded in insisting the parade be held immediately after the victory, then perhaps the T would actually be able to develop a proper and workable plan to move people during the event.

Last bit about menino was a bit of a stretch

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I'm with you for most of your post, and I'm no big fan of Tommy and his gang, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have a parade several days after such a big win - especially when it happens to be a quasi-holiday weekend (at least for the city's kids).

I mean, it's not like the post-season hasn't been going on for weeks now. Once it was clear that the Bruins would be contending in the Cup series, you'd think someone at the T would start to make contingency plans. After all, it's the fourth(!) time we've had something like this come up in the last decade.

I imagine it takes a lot more

I imagine it takes a lot more employees to staff the commuter rail versus the subways, considering the number of engineers and conductors needed for the expected number of passengers. For the subway, you only need a single operator for each train on most of the lines.

I assume you can't force people to work overtime and so asking people to willingly give up their whole Saturday (and missing out on going to the parade themselves) maybe a bigger issue to work out than you suggest, considering the number of staff needed.

Translation: Nobody at MBCR or the MBTA

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thought "Gee, the Bruins are in the playoffs. If we win, there's gonna be a parade like the ones we had for the Red Sox, the Celtics, and the Patriots. And that parade will probably be on a Saturday. But we normally don't run much service on Saturday. Hummm, now I wonder ..."


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This sort of thing has happened before. Perhaps we should have a contingency plan in place in case it happens again. Or we could just ignore it and hope we don't have another parade on a Saturday.

And I thought the purpose of a public transportation system was to serve the public, not the employees.

Oh wait, this is the MBTA/MBCR we're talking about. Forget I said that last part.

Ramifications of the facts

I've worked in a heavily union shop for many years and I would be shocked to see any union in the country ratify a contract that says that hundreds of employees could be forced to cancel their vacation and family plans on two days notice.

That's what any contingency plan that you suggest would require in this case.

That's the reality of the situation. If they don't want to work on Saturday for time and a half, that's the way it is. It's too bad, but I don't think you would appreciate being told you have to cancel your weekend plans two days prior either.

The parade was almost on

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The parade was almost on Friday, but that didn't work for the players. If the Bruins had won it in 4, 5, or 6 games instead of 7, the parade probably would not have been on a Saturday.

Note that on the 4th of July,a day when a lot of people take transit into the city, commuter rail runs on a Saturday schedule with no extra trains.

Guess what roadman?

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The T is budgeted to provide a normal level of service. X number of weekdays, y number of weekends, and 3 key holidays (new years, marathon, 4th of july).

If some sports conglomerate wants people to see them parade around the city, then they should put up the cash or run their own shuttle bus system.

Updated Commuter Rail Information (finally)

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From the T's web site:


Commuter rail service will operate on its regular Saturday schedule and will be enhanced with additional coaches and capacity.
Old Colony Lines - Kingston, Middleboro, and Greenbush will operate on a Saturday schedule.
Due to the volumes of traffic, customers should expect delays and are encouraged to budget additional time for his/her commute.
Extra commuter rail trains will be on standby for deployment to the busiest lines.
Parking at Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn off of Route 93 is FREE with service to North Station.
A special round trip commuter rail ticket will be available for $10.00 and can be purchased at South, North and Back Bay Station. Additionally, tickets will be sold at Anderson Regional Transportation Center, Route 128, and on board the train.

So, apart from running Old Colony service tomorrow, management is remaining very non specific about the extra commuter rail service they are promising for those heading into the parade. In other words, if you plan on using the commuter rail tomorrow, it's still a c%^p shoot.