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One of these days, Keolis will learn to really communicate with riders, maybe

Mark A. Grasso was heading into town on Train 414 on the Fitchburg Line, which pulled into Belmont shortly after noon - and then just sat there. He reports:

I've said it once - I'll say it again: the biggest issue people have with the MBTA Commuter Rail is the lack of proper communication to passengers in the event of an "issue."

Today, stopped at Belmont station, Fitchburg train 414 stopped for approximately 15 minutes. The conductor, obviously frustrated with the lack of clear communication he was getting, announced a delay due to a switch issue.

He announced that they were working on the switch - and that he was told "it would be a few minutes." Some 30 minutes later, another announcement was made that the "switch maintainer" had yet to arrive.

Hordes of passengers then deboarded, some 50 minutes after the initial stoppage. Earlier communication about the severity of the issue, or the actual ETA of a work crew would have allowed passengers the option of catching one of three MBTA buses, getting them inbound quicker

Problems happen - people are generally understanding. However, when there are people who have work, medical appointments, or other such time-bound obligations, clarity in communication during times of unforeseen issues would make for a lot less frustrating experience on the MBTA.

An addendum, considering the latest update indicting the train is "60-70 minutes late:" at what point does it become incumbent upon the MBTA Commuter Rail to send a shuttle bus to pickup the stranded passengers? Or announce local bus connection options for less experienced MBTA riders?



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I don't ride the commuter rail but I do ride the Red Line frequently. The following problems are frequent both in the stations and the trains

Sound system doesn't work at all
System works on one car but not another
Sound system volume so low that it can not be heard
Sound system too loud and hurts your ears
T employee talking to fast to be heard
T employee accent makes it difficult understand.
Reason for delay keeps changing.
No notification of reason for delay or long wait for notification.

None of this is new. The T clearly doesn't give a crap and Charlie the Governor also doesn't care.

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As they lose more and more revenue to uber/lyft etc, they will have to face the issue of poor service in order to win back some of the passengers.

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MBTA communication in general is horrific. I remember the one time in my life I "made a scene" on the train (and was incredibly embarrassed about it).

I was on the B heading back to Harvard Ave on a normal Sunday morning. After Packard's Corner, all of a sudden the train says "Next stop, South Street. This train is running express!" Cue very slow and gradual confusion from everybody on the train. I become "that person" who goes up to the driver and loudly says, "Excuse me, nobody told us this train was going express. Can you let us off at Harvard Ave so people can wait? We never heard an announcement."

It became a shouting match back and forth between me and the driver, who INSISTED that she had come on the loudspeaker announcing it was an express train. She tried blaming me for having headphones in (I didn't) or just being in the back of the train. At that point we were honestly both getting a bit hysterical because she was saying patronizing shit like, "Honey, you must not've been listening well enough, this train is going express and that's that." Helpfully, a bunch of people backed me up and said that her speaker wasn't working. I basically had to beg for her to at least stop at Harvard Ave to let us off because we had no fucking clue the train was going express. She did, but not without major grumbling.

Thank god I don't live on the Green Line anymore but I'm still pissed about that day.

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… this may have been a good time for a well-timed "to stop train and open doors use this lever."

Also, given that Harvard Street is the busiest stop on the line, no train should ever be expressed past it, even if there is decent communication.

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i think the threat of pulling the emergency stop should be enough to get the driver to comply. a friend of mine was on a train that had it pulled and they had to wait for the T police to arrive before they could proceed. meanwhile the guy who pulled it (not my friend), casually walked off and was, to the best of my knowledge, never caught.

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That's a stupid thing to suggest (and you did suggest it).

Illegal, dangerous, can damage the train, and will certainly cause a delay for the thousands of people.

Would you also advocate standing on the tracks in front of a train because you just missed it? Even if they closed the doors early so you think you're justified, it's still antisocial behavior.

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