A lot of people seem to want to go to Salem tonight

Waiting to get on the train to Salem

Harry Pierre reports the line for the next Newburyport/Rockport train, which stops in Salem, is a bit more crowded than usual this afternoon.



Free tagging: 


And the MBTA/Keolis solution

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Completely block off a third of the waiting area, and force the Salem/Newburyport/Rockport people to stand in a single line.

And there's no evidence of the extra Boston to Beverly train they used to run on Halloweens past.

At least their "agents" are so busy herding the goblins and ghouls that they suspended the Fare is Fair nonsense for the 6:05 Reading train. Nice to board without having to deal with the Brandenburg Gate.

No Extra Trains Scheduled

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MBTA only ran extra trains on the last 2 weekends (Sat & Sun) to Salem. They announced on the same page where they posted the extra train schedule that there would be NO EXTRA TRAINS on Oct 31. It would only be the regular weekday schedule..

As to those extra trains on the weekends none of them were following the posted schedule. I have a friend who works up there and they gave up on the extra trains when it got to be 5-plus deep on the platform and opted to take the bus to Wonderland instead.

Took longer but they had a seat all the way on the bus, all the way on the Blue line, and lucked out on the OL with a seat at state.

And so it is....

The entire month of October

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the T was promoting "Take the train to Salem Haloween Tourist Trap Happenings".

But I guess actually providing trains to get people there would have been too much of a bother for them. Much simpler to set up a corn maze of barriers at North Station instead.

And where would they get the extra trains?

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You know, during rush hour, when Keolis has said they don't have the required number of locomotives to provide service.

But I'm sure you offered them a suggestion on how to wrangle another trainset or 2, but they just didn't listen to you.

OK, that's a fair question

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To begin, I wouldn't block off any portion, let alone a third, of the waiting area to passengers. It only makes the remainder of the waiting area more crowded for everyone else.

Second, I would re-arrange how the trains on the Newburyport/Rockport lines operate on the evenings leading up to and including Halloween. Instead of normally running Boston to Newburyport and Boston to Rockport (and return), I would run trains Boston to Beverly (and return) and Beverly to Newburyport/Beverly to Rockport (and return). Although this creates some inconvenience for regular commuters going beyond Beverly, who have to change trains, it allows you to run service to and from Salem more frequently than with the regular schedule.

Third, I would require that trains for Beverly/Newburyport/Rockport service be comprised of the maximum train lengths permissible, and that ALL cars be opened to passengers boarding the trains. Too often, you have six or seven car trains, but passengers are restricted to the front two or three cars. Conversely, you will often have a four car train when the passenger load could accommodate a six car train.

Lastly, I would require that Beverly/Newburyport/Rockport service be announced for boarding at least fifteen minutes prior to departure. Of course, this should be the case for ALL trains on ALL lines. Back before the Make Believe Commuter Rail aka MBCR decided to totally reform the system, fifteen minutes had been the standard for decades. And it worked very well in terms of allowing passengers to board trains in a smooth and orderly fashion.

And, of course it goes without saying that you also eliminate "pre-boarding" ticket checks, special lines for specific trains, the "corn maze' barriers, and the like. Funny how the T, MBCR, and the like has always complained how it isn't practical to "assign" specific platform tracks for specific lines due to 'operational reasons", yet they always manage to do it on Halloween evening.

Running extra trains is nice,

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Running extra trains is nice, but it costs money. Was it justified in this case?

And you haven't addressed how you would handle the crowd if more people showed up for one particular train than could fit on it. They anticipated this problem by setting up a queue.

And you do know that Keolis replaced MBCR several years ago, right?

Where did I say anything about additional trains

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I was stating that HOW current trains are run should be changed. If you have X Rockport trainsets and Y Newburyport trainsets, and reallocate them so Z trainsets run Boston to Beverly, where your highest demand is, then have the remainder split between Beverly to Rockport and Beverly to Newburyport, you will get greater utilization with the same number of trainsets.

And the reason I mentioned MBCR is because the decrease in advance boarding time from 15 minutes to 10 happened on their watch, not Keolis's,


People still expect the MBTA to be able to competently manage large crowds, or plan for significant events?