Jesus: Why your bus or train never came - the MBTA secretly cancelled it to save money

You can't make this stuff up. The Herald reports:

Top MBTA officials acknowledge that for years the agency has been secretly cutting thousands of bus and train trips from published schedules to lower costs - a practice that has left legions of customers waiting for rides that arrived late or not at all.

Dan Grabauskas says he started trying to change the practice when he became general manager two years ago. Yes, that's right: They've been doing this for years. Oh, yeah, and when asked about service cuts, T officials would lie, Grabauskas added.

Jay Fitzgerald marvels at this authority omerta, which extended from top to bottom:

... How do you begin to reform such an agency? Who do you discipline first? How deep do you go? They were all in it together. Us versus them. The permanent bureaucracy versus the public. Did they all prick their fingers and take blood oathes over pension brochures that they'd never betray the organization?

The Outraged Liberal shakes his head in amazement:

... Our public transit system is a certifiable basket case. It has been leaderless and clueless vile comments by angry riders don't change the fact that the man who has been in the forefront of the fiasco needs to be held accountable.

Smilin' Dan has GOT to go -- and soon.

Earlier:
How the T is getting Worcester Line trains to run on time.

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    Comments

    Blargh

    By on

    I am just sitting here dumbfounded at this. I can't even think of anything witty to post here. Just. Wow.

    The writing on the wall...

    By on

    Dan is going down and he's taking as many people as he can with him....

    MBTA

    By on

    This doesn't surprise me at all. I don't know how many times I've waited for the #11 bus at South Station and see as many as 3 #7's pass by. I think that T management had a policy of not covering a vacant route. The result is a longer wait for the bus or train that you want.
    It'll be interesting to see if this admission will change anything.

    It won't be long

    By on

    We could set up the Earl Butz/James Watt/Cardinal Law pool and bet on the date he will announce his resignation. You could even bet on the time it will be posted on boston.com.

    Curious or Coincidence?

    Grabaskaus jumped ugly earlier this week
    with Deval over gay-baiting email from
    a disgruntled DOC paralegal. (The guy was
    wrong on the gay-bashing but, as it turns out,
    right on the T-bashing, huh?)

    Wonder if someone in the administration fed this
    stuff to the Herald as retribution?

    Nice timing...

    By on

    Nice Saturday-of-a-three-day-weekend "nobody's here to read this" story timing, Herald. I hope this builds some momentum and rips wide open on Tuesday...

    Good point

    Argues against payback from Deval et al.
    Grabaskaus was trying to bury it himself.

    Dan Grabauskas says he's part of the larger problem in MA

    Dan Grabauskas says he started trying to change the practice when he became general manager two years ago.

    He should have gone public with it right away if he wanted to change it.

    Oh, but that would break all the rules of the old boy "who cares about the public" heirarchy network mentality - the same one that brought you hush-hush reassignments of predatory pedophile priests!

    You've got to be kidding me

    By on

    Grabauskas, who was hired as general manager in May 2005, said the hidden service cuts have never been publicly disclosed and that he agreed to talk about them now because of a need for more truth in the agency’s budgeting.

    Give us more money and we will stop lying to you. Is that really what this guy is saying?

    Oh yeah, I'm shocked, lol.

    By on

    I've made plenty of comments online about the T lying, it looks like I'm vindicated.

    My question is which neighborhoods got the shaft of no show buses? I've always suspected that the buses run better in Newton than in Dorchester. I wonder if there are any patterns of no-show buses that break down on economic lines? I mean how did they decide which buses wouldn't show up and which buses would run most efficiently?

    Yep!

    I smell a "we'll cut service in places nobody cares about this way" bullshit going on. The crew out of Sullivan Station is famous for their attitude toward certain communities and bus riders in general.

    Notice how the press couldn't give one tenth of a sh*t until the sainted and annointed commuter rail began to show signs of strain!

    A great example of what's going on...

    For the past 25+ years or so, the Route 50 bus that runs between Forest Hills and Hyde Park has been a nice, quick alternate route that you could set your watch to on the weekdays. It left Cleary Square on the 10's, 30's and 50's every hour during rush hour. Route 50 also runs through the Joe Malone senior citizen housing.

    When they revised the Route 50 schedule, the times shifted radically. In the mornings, buses now come every 25 minutes, and every 22 minutes in the afternoons. They adjusted the 6:30 bus by 5 minutes, the 6:50 bus by ten, the 7:10 bus by fifteen, etc. Route 50 is "the bus of the apocalypse" (everyone get on or else you'll be fried) whenever the other Roslindale/West Roxbury trunk routes don't show up.

    On the other hand, Route 32 now has articulated buses because they can't handle the massive crowds during rush hour; they end those buses at 7pm and use the regular buses, and again, the lizard-brain mentality rears its ugly head. Same for the Route 71, which seems to be the red-headed stepchild of Route 73 when it comes to bus quantity (e.g. three Route 73 coaches to Waverley Sq vs. one Route 71 coach to Watertown, packed with people)

    Yes, Smilin' Dan has a LOT of questions to ask as well as answer. I can see the T falling into receivership within the next year or two, and a few public firings aren't going to settle it. The changes are going to be painful.

    Another call for Grabauskas to go

    By on

    Jeff Carter Gilson, in Melrose:

    ... Not a month goes by that I don’t spend a morning or two (or more) wondering where the hell the bus is. It's nice to know that it's actually the T making me late for work instead of wondering if my clock changes on me during the night. ...

    LOL

    Extending the analogy here ... those batters who would get to bat would have to be Yawkey approved, as it were.

    This is outrageous

    By on

    It's time for the MBTA to be abolished and replaced by an agency with a more responsive and accountable structure.

    damn you, T; damn you, Globe

    By on

    Two things.

    Thing One: The T now has GPS on its buses, allowing them (and their state overlords?) to track where every bus is at all times. Lots of public transit agencies are now using this kind of tech to set up systems that tell passengers how far away their bus is, or to collect data for improving schedule efficiency, that sort of thing.

    Could it be that it was only a matter of time til the GPS data were going to make it impossible to hide this kind of behavior?

    Thing Two: Where the hell is the Globe on this? Why are they ignoring this today to run a story about potholes, a tepid scoop on how sometimes the mail doesn't come at the same time every day in Hyde Park and a retooled press release on the restored New Bedford commuter rail? Don't even get me started on Starts and Stops.

    Did Dan G. leak it to them, too, and they took a pass? Are they petulantly refusing to cover it because they got scooped by the Herald? Or perhaps the whole newsroom has run a bunch of canned stories in the Sunday paper and gone and fucked off to New Hampshire for the long weekend.

    Whichever it is, fie on them.

    Thing Two

    Am betting that yeah, fit of petulance
    at being scooped. That plus they're all busy
    scouring the kennels of New England looking
    for adoptable beagles. Just like the
    rest of us.

    Starts and Stops?

    By on

    You mean the column today that recycled the old story about the guy up in Maine who refused to pay tolls? Also, let's not forget the story about the tagger that's a week old, although it is a well written story with some new details about how he was caught.

    Real time GPS Tracking

    By on

    I'm with Lissa Harris (above)--it is LONG past time for the T to make real schedule information available using the GPS that is already on all its buses.

    Most of the buses don't have

    By on

    Most of the buses don't have a real-time connection back to the system; the GPS data is only gathered from them when they get back to a garage, once a day or so. The data can be used for general trend analysis (and that's happening), but not real-time tracking. There is some of that being rolled out, but of course it involves expensive upgrades to each bus's radio and computer system, and it'll be at least a couple of years before it's widely deployed.

    Maybe I am stupid but...

    By on

    ...each morning I get on the green line, show my pass, sit down, and about 20 mins later I get off the train and go to work. Maybe 3-4 times in the last six months I was behind a disabled train and had to sit in the tunnel for 3-5 mins. I guess I don't really understand what all the ire is about - the ride from Brookline to Government Centre at rush hour (8:20 am) doesn't seem bad at all. Even during those bitter cold mornings, I haven't waited more than 10 mins for a train (sometimes they are crowded, but another comes within 5 mins) - but I am sure to have gloves and a good coat.

    Now one could be of the opinion that the commuter rail is slow or awful because that is the punishment for you living in places like Haverhill or Canton. ;) I am of the opinion that most people are content to just whine and complain than take action.

    For example...if you see copies of the godawful free papers (Metro, BostonNow) on the T strewn about, do you just step on them or toss them away? Do you leave your papers, your large iced coffee cup from DD, your scratch tickets, etc, just on the train, like it is one big garbage can? I bet most of you do. I know, because as I am getting off the train, I sometimes pick up a few pieces and toss them.

    Sure, Dan G needs to fix things, but the only efforts the public has made in regards to the T has been complaining about T radio. Here are some ideas for a better experience:

    -If the commuter rail station is outside of Boston, care and upkeep and systems of that station are taken care of by the MBTA but your city pays for it. That means if the sign at the Waltham station is busted, it comes out of Waltham's pocket directly, not people in other places.

    -Food should be banned on the T, and anyone littering (even by tossing a paper) should be fined. This would increase revenue by fines, as well as lowering costs because less cleaning people are needed to clear up your bleeding heart, self entitled mess on the train. This goes too for grafitti or destruction. I have seen people do this, get yelled at by the driver but not fined or censured. Well, I suppose even the driver making 40K a year doesn't want to get jacked by some homeboy from Rozzie.

    -MBTA Police should be more visible. If they are spending more times on certain T stations due to violence or crime, those stations should be closed and bypassed along the route. Why should I have to have my Redline delayed because some urban punks jacked someone's ipod daily at stony brook? Close the station down until local police can settle the matter.

    -Re-organize bus routes - some routes are too redundant and are unneeded. This will lower general overhead. You could eliminate 25% of bus routes with minimal impact. People here are too fat anyways, so making them walk another 2 blocks in certain areas would do them good. There is also the option to privatize in some of the suburbs.

    There are more suggestions to fix the quality of services (better speakers, drivers who need to take some English lessons, better lighting at stations) but those won't happen till the T gets more funding. I believe my proposals above will help it to that end.

    I have been taking the T since I was a kid, for about 20 years now. It gets me where I need to be, when I need to be there about 90% od the time. If you hate it so much, buy a car, or a bike, or try to be CONSTRUCTIVE because the T needs direction, not whining.

    That is all.

    Green Line

    By on

    See, you're on the D Line which is the one trolley line that has a dedicated way. The other lines have to stop for traffic, pedestrains, etc. aboveground, which can make them take an extremely long time.

    Also, given the number of elderly and/or people with disabilities I see riding the bus, I think it would be unkind to get rid of very many bus stops...you or I can trot along two blocks in a couple minutes; some people are going to take several times as long, simply because they can't move that fast.

    Get real

    By on

    Try riding the B line, the E line, the Orange line, the commuter rail, the buses (any of them), try doing any of this off-rush hour or on a weekend...

    You are using an example for the cushiest ride, outside of someone going from Alewife to Kendall at 7:30 AM...

    Furthermore, your suggestions for improving the system are either overly naive or obtuse. "People are fat, make them walk"? "Close whole stations because of regular theft"? "No food...liberals leave the messes"?

    You're not in touch with reality enough to be determining what should and shouldn't be done about the MBTA.

    Why More Money for the MBTA ?

    By on

    The T is $12 Billion in debt from reports from Worcester RTA which is in worse shape. The real number maybe $6 billion but who is really counting. Sure we really need to done every nickel we can from the rest of the state. The Big Digg cost the Feds and the State a bundle but the T really needs to file chapter 9. My grand children should not have to be paying out bonds from 29 years ago and 30-40 years into the future. 20% of the states sales tax goes into paying for the T's bond issues.

    For the under served outlying towns supposedly being served by the T they should withdraw membership and seek better solutions that serve their communities and citizens.