It's like the entire country and Canada and some of their friends rode the T

The MBTA reports total T ridership passed 400 million in the 12 months ending June 30, the first time its ridership numbers have ever been that high.

The ridership increase was experienced across all MBTA modes, including buses (5.9% growth), the subway (5.2%), and trolleys (8.0%)

T officials credited several factors, including the improving local economy, the availability of real-time transit info for bus and train riders (except on the Green Line) and "an overall improvement in MBTA service reliability."



Free tagging: 


    "an overall improvement in MBTA service reliability."

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    I guess to someone who just travelled in time from 1760, the idea of going from Harvard to Park St in a little under an hour without having to wait for a ferryboat or re-shoe a horse must seem pretty spectacular.

    Population Weighted Reliability?

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    They should include "passengers inconvenienced" in those metrics. Yes, the system runs well when there are three trains an hour ... but collapses under full load pretty much every other day.

    If they weighted the breakdowns by passenger load, it wouldn't be so pretty.

    The "Occupy" folks are missing a bet: they should wait until there is another T Fail, head over to Park Street, and lead people to the parking area of the State House to block the oblivious and entitled alike into their parking area and make a general stink.

    Do we have numbers to back up

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    Do we have numbers to back up that reliability claim?

    And how is it measured? Number of trains breaking down? Number of passengers affected?

    You could have one month where every day, a Red Line train broke down at 5:30 a.m., and a second month where a Red Line train broke down only once a week, but each time at 5:30 in the afternoon. I could argue the second month, with fewer breakdowns, had less reliable service, with many more passengers delayed.

    need better metrics

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    I agree with this -- reliability measures they use don't take into account the numbers of people affected and for how long. If I just roughly use the T alerts for the red line I get for the morning and evening commute times, reliability is kind of pathetic. Even if all the off-peak trains run on time, it still leaves a lot of people late, packed and frustrated.

    Here's the metric I'd like to

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    Here's the metric I'd like to see: not number of breakdowns, not mean number of miles between breakdowns, but person-minutes-wasted. In other words, if a train breaks down at 8:30 a.m. and causes 15-minute delays on the Red Line, and 50,000 passengers are on the Red Line at that hour, then we have 750,000 person-minutes-wasted.

    Sorry bro, still dreaming of

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    Sorry bro, still dreaming of casino revenue and building new patronage fiefdoms. There are also some repeat offenders that need releasing from prison earlier to save us some cash for pet projects too. Priorities you know?


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    imagine what the numbers would be like if they had real time tracking on the green line... whats the hold up, The T said it would be three years (this was in 2010), well its almost three years....

    I doubt the numbers would be much different.

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    "Driven by Customer Service" is the MBTA's new motto. Well MBTA, here's a novel customer service concept - let's do something that will actually improve service for your customers. Like get enough trains in service (especially on the Green Line) so people can get from A to B in a consistently reliable manner each day, and without (like on the Green Line) having to change trains multiple times because management is too lazy (or stubborn) to change an andequated "out and back, no matter what" operating system.

    As I've noted in other threads, it's really simple to do - just run all eastbound trains to Lechmere. Then send the train out westbound based on the next destination in the schedule, instead of where it originated from. Bunching of trains no longer matters, and you would eliminate the need for holding trains ("headway adjustment") at intermediate stations. Plus, it would give Lechmere to Copley westbound passengers only a two-minute wait between trains.

    Then we can worry about adding real time tracking and other technological gimmicks to the service.

    The T has about 40 extra streetcars sitting idle that could be put into service tomorrow. But they'd rather waste money on technology that has little benefit to the passengers than actually hiring the extra manpower to run a reliable transportation system.

    If the T can splurge $500K on another cheezy smartphone app that few people will actually benefit from, or if they can waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies, meeting, and "civic engagement" activities, then there is no legitimate excuse (and earmarking money for pet projects is a convenient (i.e. political)excuse, not a legitimate one) they can't take the necessary steps to actually improve the service the people use. But, let's go ahead and spend money on things we don't need instead of diverting that money to things that actually matter.

    And, if "work rules" are really the reason the Green Line can't operate in a proper and efficient manner, then let's demand than management address that issue first before allowing them to spend any more time or money on playing "Johnny Science Whiz-Kid".

    Sadly, until more people get wise to the "smoke and mirrors" game the MBTA is currently playing (equating an increase in ridership to a smartphone app is a good example), we will contiue to pay more and more for a increasingly declining level of actual service.

    For the record, I do own a smartphone. However, I (and most of the people I ride with) manage to commute to and from my job via the MBTA just fine without having to rely on "real-time" information, paying my fare with the phone, or any of the other "necessary" improvements the MBTA is forcing on the passengers because they have no interest in improving the actual transportation service they are supposed to be providing to their customers and the region.

    Too bad the MBTA doesn't actually take the time to survey its customers before implementing some of these things instead of creating wasteful and pointless "focus groups" once they've already made the decision to proceed. And I mean a real survey like "which would you rather have, a smartphone app or additional rush hour trains?"

    "As I've noted in other threads"

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    The sane among us have been talking about this for years and years and years.

    The MBTA is never going to do it. They simply do not care.

    I refuse to ride. I'll walk, bike or drive.

    Improved reliability!

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    Ha! In the past month, 45 minute waits for the SL4 at South Station has become the norm. This morning the underground silver line section was shut down due to a broken bus. They had to make everyone go above ground and ride the buses during rush hour, making everyone in the area late for work. I don't really feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

    45 minutes?

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    There's nowhere the SL4 goes that's more than a 45 minute walk from South Station (or a 15 minute bike ride). That's not a snark directed at you (for all I know you can't walk that far), more of a sad observation.

    Speaking of the Silver Line,

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    Speaking of the Silver Line, on the Washington St branch, it seems that at least every other hour there is an alert like that up now --

    SL5: Dudley Station - Downtown Crossing at Temple Place experiencing 15-20 min delays due to traffic 7/31/2012 12:40 PM

    How's that bus rapid transit working out?

    "Except on the Green Line" has to be ended.

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    How long are we going to continue to accept this "except on the Green Line" nonsense? It is the exception to everything - real time data, bikes, etc. It's a damned disgrace in every regard.

    Here's a new one -- Green

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    Here's a new one --

    Green Line (B-Branch) experiencing 10-15 min Inbound delays due to a traffic problem. 7/31/2012 10:38 AM

    BU Bridge

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    This has to be the BU Bridge. There's no other place where obscene traffic cuts across the T lines.

    If the rest of the world were like the MBTA...

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    I started going to my meetings at work 2 days of the week instead of 1 and told my boss he should be proud of my two-fold improvement in reliability.

    I agreed to meet my friends at 7:15 to see a movie, but I texted them at 7:20 telling them that I was on my way. They were so thrilled they invited me to the movies MORE often because at least they knew where I was at 7:20.


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    Where did you get the report?

    From a press release

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    Here it is in its entirety:

    For the first time in MBTA history, ridership topped 400 million for a single fiscal year. Average weekday ridership during all of Fiscal Year 2012 grew by 5.7% over FY2011, and averaged 1.312 million passenger trips per weekday. It was also the first time that daily ridership averaged more than 1.3 million for an entire fiscal year. The ridership increase was experienced across all MBTA modes, including buses (5.9% growth), the subway (5.2%), and trolleys (8.0%). Total annual ridership for Fiscal Year 2012 was approximately 400,185,000. System-wide average weekday ridership for June 2012 increased by 1.5 % over June 2011, marking the seventeenth consecutive month of ridership growth, the longest such streak in MBTA history. MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis said the unprecedented ridership figures are the result of multiple factors, including the state’s continued economic growth, lower unemployment rates, the availability of real-time information for bus and train customers, and an overall improvement in MBTA service reliability.

    The problem with averages is

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    The problem with averages is that the effects of extremes get minimized.

    There could be 1,000 Red Line runs in a week, where only five trains break down. 99.5% seems like a good measure. But if those five broken down trains were each at around 6 p.m. each day of the week, then that's pretty poor reliability.


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    But those statistics on their scorecard aren't that great anyway. Let's see: a subway train is considered ontime if it begins its trip within 150% minutes of the headway of the previous one. That doesn't account for bunching or being taken out of service -- which determine effective headways along the rest of the line.

    And if you look more closely, you'll notice a sharp drop in ontime performance in Apr-2012. The Red and Blue Lines drop by about 2% suddenly that month. That's a lot of failures in a month. I wonder what the next few months look like. They don't even bother to measure ontime performance for the Green Line, either.


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    Suppose the scheduled Red Line rush hour headway is four minutes, or 15 trains per hour. That 150% metric means that if only ten trains end up running per hour -- a six-minute headway -- the service is still considered on-time. So for an entire month, 1/3 few trains than scheduled could run and the service would still be recorded as on-time. And yet over 6% of the time, the Red Line did not even meet that metric.


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    If you run fewer trains on longer headways, which the T has been routinely doing since the fare increase took effect, then your on-time performance will naturally improve.

    You don't end up moving more people any faster in the same period of time, but the numbers will look better.

    I suspect this is the case too

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    But do you have any solid evidence that they are purposefully increasing headways above those in published schedules?


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    Canada's population is 34,000,000 ish