After not taking Commuter Rail for several weeks, I got a surprise as I had to pass through a gauntlet at South Station on the way to Fairmount early this afternoon. Some Campbell's-kids looking junior T employees confronted every aspiring passenger at the entry to Track 9. They demanded tickets for that specific train. I carped as I had to unburden myself of my Haymarket goodies and coffee to dig into my shirt pocket. The kid blocking me tried to be solemn in saying, "It's in the tariff!" Read more.
MassDOT reports that ridership on the only only-in-Boston commuter rail line increased 25% during the first of two fare-free weeks in May - and 44% the second week - but then dropped back down to normal light levels when the fares came back.
The Dorchester Reporter reports that US Rep. Michael Capuano will spend roughly $50,000 in campaign funds to promote the Fairmount Line by letting everybody ride for free between May 8 and May 21.
The good news in a Boston Foundation report on the Fairmount Line is that a $200-million state investment in adding and improving stations and service meant a three-fold increase in ridership since 2012.
The bad news is that only means 2,257 riders on a typical weekday, because ridership in 2012 was so low - just 789. Read more.
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board voted today to hire a construction company to build a $17-million station for the Fairmount Line between Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway, about a quarter mile outside Mattapan Square. Read more.
An exhausted outbound Fairmount Line bought the farm just before Fairmount station and now the T says there are delays of 30 to 40 minutes, which is roughly twice as long as it would take the average adult to just get out and walk from Fairmount to the end of the line at Readville (yes, of course, unlike every other line, the Fairmount Line is not named for the last stop).
The T reports it's trying to get the stuck switch unstuck so the train that Sam Sam was waiting for, the one just sitting there just before the Fairmount stop, can get moving again.
A couple days ago, the Globe reported how Keolis treats the Faimount Line like its spare-parts bin - pulling equipment off the line when other lines have problems. This morning, Samantha Sergeant reports:
now 754 Fairmount Readville is having engine issues after already 20mins late! WTF R WE PAYING U 4?!?!
Praise to Keolis — not a phrase I normally use. However, I just got a call from their support folk about six minutes after I emailed a complaint. AND she resolved it.
This gist centers on a nickel. Read more.
You never know what you'll see at the Readville train station, a.k.a. the world's largest model train set.
With it still being too hot to cook tonight, I drove down to Olympic Pizza in Wolcott Square, put in an order, then walked over to the station, where I spotted an unusual locomotive on a Fairmount Line train. Read more.
City Councilors Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) and Michelle Wu (at large) want the T to publicly explain why people who use the Fairmount Line or who board the train at Forest Hills pay so much less than people who take commuter rail in from Roslindale and other parts of Hyde Park in particular. Read more.
Developers have filed plans for a city-owned vacant lot in Uphams Corner that would include 80 apartments, eight townhouse condos and a building for light-industrial and office use.
The Indigo Block, proposed by a team lead by the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp., would sit on a 2.75-acre lot at 65 E. Cottage St., next to the Uphams Corner stop on the Indigo, or Fairmount, Line. Read more.
News that the MBTA is canceling contracts for art on the Green Line extension - and on the Fairmount Line - got artist Elisa H. Hamilton to thinking on how art in Red Line stations helped shape her as an artist, and what the loss of the proposed art means:
Public transportation is one of the great equalizers here in the Commonwealth - the artwork created for our MBTA stations is not only meant to beautify, but also to create a sense of place for people in every walk of life. The decisions we make now in renovating and rebuilding our MBTA stations will impact our communities for a very long time. Art in MBTA stations gives an otherwise utilitarian space a sense of soul, a sense of color, culture, and life, a sense of the communities that these stations represent and serve. It fosters a tremendous sense of community ownership - every time T riders see this art, it says to them, "you are home."
Ari Ofsevit makes the case that adding electric wires and buying electric-powered cars would make a lot more sense on the only in-city commuter-rail line than the individual diesel cars the T proposed buying until the governor put the kibosh on them: Electrification would be cheaper in the long run and the trains would get to and from downtown faster.
City Councilors Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale and Mattapan) and Michelle Wu (at large) hope to hold a hearing at which MBTA officials can explain the differing fares for commuter-rail stations within Boston city limits - in particular at stations south of Forest Hills. Read more.
Somebody's attached a whole bunch of CDs to a fence at one of the entrances to the Fairmount station on the Fairmount line (on Fairmount Avenue, of course).
The Herald reports the Baker administration has stopped plans to buy "diesel multiple unit" trains that would have allowed the Fairmount Line to run at subway-like frequencies, saying now's not the time to load up on new technologies on the T. Read more.
DMUs are passenger coaches with their own diesel engines, which can be more easily assembled into smaller trains at non-peak hours; the Patrick administration had touted them as a way to improve service on the line - and also to serve the proposed West Station stop in Allston on the Worcester Line and connect Back Bay with the South Boston convention center.
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