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Service cuts? They'll show you service cuts

So far this cold January morning, trains have died on the Red, Blue and Green lines and the Worcester Line is experiencing major delays.

At 8:34 a.m., Tanya K. tweeted:

Two empty, broken down trains we will be pushing in. 1000+ frozen, frustrated people cramming into this one. MBTA Red Line. Good times.

A few minutes later, Candice Springer added:

Thank you, MBTA for stranding me outside on the Wollaston platform in the EFFING cold. Now I have to go all the way back to drive in to work

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Comments

And the MBCR managers sending out the commuter rail alerts (I believe the commuter rail alerts come right from MBCR now, and not from the T itself) have the gall to blame "inclement weather" for most of the commuter rail delays.

Yes, 9°F is cold, but hardly "inclement" weather for January in Massachusetts.

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...that I received was this:

Red Line experiencing 20 min delays due to disabled trains passengers are encouraged to utilize the Green and Orange Line in the Downtown area.

Now let me figure out how to take the Orange Line from Broadway to Charles. Oh, wait...

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Entirely predictable that the first truly cold day of the year was a T-saster. Happens like clockwork every single year.

I drove in today. If there ever is a day to spring for parking or a taxi, the first bitter cold day of the year is it.

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Yep--the first really cold day and the T just falls apart. It happens every year.

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#9/#10 to Copley, green line to blue line, then walk from Bowdoin. Shouldn't add more than an hour to your commute :)

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9/10 to Copley, Green Line to Lechmere, 87/88 to Davis, Red Line back into Charles. Shouldn't add more than two hours... (snark)

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A broken-down train at Rt. 128 caused backups from about 6:30 am until at least 8. Also blamed on inclement weather.

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I passed a stop on Chestnut Hill Ave on my way in to work this morning with an 86 bus dead on the curb and a service truck parked behind it.

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I was in the Red Line mess too, made me late for work. I"m sure cutting service and hiking the fares will solve ALL these problems, right?

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We will address this important manner just as soon as we are finished crafting a new patronage empire with the revenue and agencies involving the new state sanctioned casinos.

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Just gotta underline, one more time: if they had the funds to upgrade equipment and properly maintain, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The state needs to step up!!! Anyone having probs today should doubly add their voice to the feedback on the proposed fare hikes and service cuts!

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What cold weather-proofing projects did the T announce they wanted to do, but couldn't because they didn't have enough money?

The T spends *billions* of dollars on capital projects every year. Funding is not the problem.

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The last MBTA Capital Investment Program was planned out for 2012-2016 to spend $3.8 billion over all 5 years...or $760 million per year for capital projects. That's not BILLIONS per year...it's MILLIONS. It also detailed that this level of spending is completely unsustainable and that the 5 year projection is a pipe dream unless the state fixes the Forward Funding situation. You can find a link here:

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/financials/?id=...

The MBTA barely spends 3/4 of a billion per year right now on capital projects. It has a backlog of BILLIONS in needed repairs and upgrades JUST to get the system back to a status of "good repair".

The one thing that is probably the most effected by the weather and they have the least money to spend on it based on the CIP are signals. They are planning to spend about $150 million over 5 years (about 4% of total capital expenditures) and have something like 6-7 listed unfunded future projects that would improve signals but no money for it. It's Chapter 4 in the 2012-16 CIP in case you want to read up for next time.

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I know that it is pretty damn cold out there, and it can affect engine performance. But I also note trains running throughout the year through some nasty passes in the Sierra Nevadas and Rockies, northern Canada, and even Alaska. Maybe the MBTA should hire a mechanical consultant from one of those Class I railroads.

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No one said that cold weather can affect moving parts on engines and coaches. But for MBCR managers to blame this morning's commuter rail failures on "inclement weather" is absurd. Blinding snow with 40mph winds is inclement weather. Cloudless skies and 8°F in January is not inclement weather, and to pass this morning's delays off as weather-related and not because of poor maintenance of an aging fleet is negligence.

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Because inclement weather, underfunded / pushed off upkeep and repair, and general age is too long for those fancy, expensive new electronic boards.

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Probably would be too long for the delay announcement tweets too :)

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There is a general sense of unbelief in the T's proclamations that service delays this morning were caused solely by the cold weather, and many of you would be happier if the message coming from the T read...

"Trains have been delayed due to an aging fleet which has not received proper maintenance."

Fair enough, I suppose. And, if the T sent out such messages, I'm sure it wouldn't be condemned here as a disingenuous try at using their public alert system as a way of begging the legislature for more funding, right?

By the way, are you willing to have a fare increase in order to perform some of the maintenance you'd prefer be done? Seems inevitable to me.

Yes, I know. You'd be happy to pay more, IF it was guaranteed that the monies would go toward maintenance and service upgrades. That's understandable. But there's a debt issue to take care of first, right? Or am I missing something?

(Sorry. I woke up on the wrong side of the gutter this morning, and am feeling extra curmudgeonly. Answer with as much snark as you wish.)

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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But the state also needs to properly fund the MBTA.

Service cuts and fare raises are a hard pill to swallow as Menino and the state house bumble with their pet projects (casinos).

Fixing our crumbling infrastructure that is the bedrock of any economy will do more for job creation then creating a few table jockies.

The MBTA simply isn't going to fix it's debt issue from raising fairs and cutting services. It can't operate like that. Nothing can. Roads can't, Planes can't, Trains can't. Thats why they're all heavily subsidized by the government.

Somethings simply don't have free market solutions if we want them, and the benefits they create.

We could always git rid of the MBTA, but does Boston really want to deal with hyper congestion and the lost economic activity of clogging the roads way beyond capacity. Roads that are already very heavily subsidized by taxpayers as it is.

Honestly, I'd like to see:
1) Road congestion charges for Metro Boston based on real time traffic data that would go to a general fund for equal funding of both roads and the MBTA.
2) Forward funding from the state house
3) Raise in fares

It's a little of everything.

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Take the 1.8 billion dollars of Big Dig debt off their books and put it back where it belongs: on the state budget. It's ridiculous to force T riders to pay for a massive highway boondoggle, alone. That could save 110-120 million dollars a year for the MBTA, closing the gap considerably.

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as usually. Cold for the first 5 min, but you warm right up after that. Probably burned 300-400 calories too.

Not frustration, disappointment, or anger. The cold air and bright sun works as well as coffee to boot.

Kinda glad i gave up on the MBTA and their monthly extortion a few years ago.

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It's a long walk from Mansfield to South Station. Not really an option. Driving is usually a nightmare, so I'm stuck with the train, even in "inclement" weather.

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Everyone who takes the T into Boston in the morning could drive in for one day, and park in the Beacon Hill area - double, triple, etc. park.

That might get some attention.

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Sorry to hear.

I've figured if you're going to be renting, better to spend the $250 transportation cost on something in Boston. + another couple $100 bucks in your pocket from insurance and car upkeep if you get rid of the car.

Doesn't exactly work for homeowners outside the city though.

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Please give me a call if you can, my number is 617-929-3100. I'm a reporter for the Boston Globe working on a story about the MBTA delays this morning.

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Crazy commute this morning on the Red Line Inbound from Braintree! Got kicked off at Wollaston. Back Tracked to QC just to be able to get on a train. Made it to work on time because I give myself enough time in the morning. If you take the T everyday you need to know there are delays here and there.

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