We're getting new trains, so what if the stations are crumbling?

The Globe reports on an internal MBTA report that shows "hundreds of MBTA properties - stations, garages, and parking lots - are in disrepair, from equipment that seems permanently broken to shabby surroundings that make the daily commute that much more unpleasant" (see the crumbling ceiling at Copley).

Stephanie Pollack is quoted, basically, as telling commuters to quit their bitching: They're getting new trains and the state can't possibly pay for both that and decent stations (see the pouring rain inside Forest Hills; but be heartened that the concrete-dropping Alewife garage is getting repaired).

The Globe quotes Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, one of the few elected officials who actually commutes on the T: "We as commuters should not have to choose between healthy station conditions and functional service levels."

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Issue is always ignored

The governor gets to ignore this issue because he's going to win anyway and he falls on the right side of most social issues that take up a bulk of the press. There was round-the-clock coverage of the Commonwealth Ave Bridge project but this is a one and done article about a much larger and complex problem.

Local officials shrug and say, "Love to help but not my problem". A good portion of commuters either don't have the time or ability to vote anyway.

So the T limps along.

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But where do we get the money?

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The T is barely (and finally) just making ends meet. If we want to fix all this stuff we:

a) need the money. We can take it from the existing budget - then we need to cut something else (what?) Or we need to raise taxes. could happen - but then you justify the T's behavior for the past 20 years of - don't do capital improvements - just keep increasing wages and benefits so when it gets bad enough - they'll just raise taxes to pay for all the broken stuff (which is how we are paying for all the new equipment already). Baker drew a line in the sand on that and is forcing them to control costs better.

b) we need the people (greatly increasing the cost). The state threw heaps of money at the T and a while back they cried uncle - saying they didn't have the heads to manage the capital projects they had - so don't send them more money because they couldn't manage it.

b) commuters don't have the time or ability to vote? Seriously- sorry they are all lazy sad sacks. You get the government you deserve.

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Right?

Absentee ballot. (Expletive) Christ.

I'm still red about the 20% turnout in my Brighton ward last week. Pathetic. Keep sucking.

Not everyone can legally vote here

Not everyone who rides the T has voting rights. I have a number of friends who take the T daily and have a greencard which doesn't provide voting rights.

Resident status shouldn't matter as far as having a well maintained public transit system goes.

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No it shouldn't

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But neither should you have a say in what happens to the T. Become a citizen and VOTE!

(and no citizenship - no vote)

They can write letters

Pat Jehlen included one of my son's letters about why transit matters when there was talk of cancelling a local bus line.

He was 15. That's one way to get involved if you can't vote.

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Tough

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U can't vote w a green card and if you are a college student, establish residency and vote until your heart's content. Don't like it, move.

You're

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...a real tough guy, aren't you?

MBTA is broke.

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The MBTA pension fund just released results from last year. The fund had a 15% + return and still fell $140 million further behind on liability. There are more retirees than workers on the plan.

The only way to get out of this is to have the inevitable strike, fire all of the current workforce, and start from a clean slate. Even then, that probably won't work.

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...And Snarley Faker says...

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the budget is balanced...yeah right, I bet it's because he cut the MBTA, healthcare, and numerous other things that the 99% need. Vote Blue across the board.

Its funny

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Because they built and repaired every station less Readville on the Fairmount line. At rush hour maybe 5 people get on at each station, not to mention the stations have been extensively damaged by local kids.

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And do you know why they did that?

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Even the T doesn't have money to just throw around like that. But as long as you're researching that, look up the other promise the state made to people along the line, the one about "subway-like" service ...

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My point is

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Nobody uses it and they destroyed it.

And as someone actually from Boston and who's used the MBTA on a daily basis for decades, i know what they promised. They also only charge $80 a month because it a minority majority neighborhood. Unlike say Roslindale Village.

All politicians make promises they never keep including your savor Lord Obama!

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Nice try bringing in Obama

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Maybe if the state had gone after some of that ARRA money for subways instead of just roads, the state of the T would be better ...

People don't use the Fairmount Line because it's run like a typical commuter-rail line on a route that needs subway-like frequency, which the state promised and then never delivered (the one stop that could benefit from basic commuter-rail service is Readville, where the fare is way higher than on the rest of the line).

Those promises were made, of course, during the Patrick administration, and were dependent on the state buying a particular kind of train car that could be used for it. Guess what one of the first things the Baker administration canceled was?

As for fares at places like Roslindale Village, yes, there's an equity issue there. You might want to talk to Tim McCarthy and Michelle Wu about their efforts to change that. I'd suggest you talk to Angelo Scaccia, too, since his district includes two Fairmount Line stops, but he doesn't seem to talk to anybody he hasn't known for 40 years these days (so maybe you qualify).

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Two questions

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1) Are you saying that the high level platforms have been destroyed and are unable to be used? That's what most of the construction money went for.

2) Do you know what the fares would be to commuters using Newmarket, Uphams Corner, Four Corners/Geneva, Talbot Ave, and Morton Street Stations based solely on distance (which is how the T calculates the fares)? I'll give you a hint, too. It's the same as the fare for commuters using Forest Hills Station.

Nice racist dog whistles, though.

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It's a fact

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Local groups petitioned the T to reduce fairs on the Fairmount which runs through minority majority neighborhoods around 2015. You're correct in respects to said stations but you conveniently omitted the Fairmount stop.

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Yet your fact is not a fact

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First, the word is fare. Second, the T lowered the fare at one of the stops to induce ridership.

But the point of my omission was the reaction to the statement-

They also only charge $80 a month because it a minority majority neighborhood.

My point being that for most of the line, the fare is correct, just like how the fares charged in Roslindale, West Roxbury, Needham, Lynn, Brockton, Waltham, and Readville are what they should be based on distance. That Fairmount breaks the convention seems to be a bit of a controversy. Hyde Park station is a short distance away, in even a more "minority majority" part of the neighborhood, yet it is Zone 1. I'm amazed that somehow there is not as much bellyaching about that compared to those who are better served by transit in Roslindale griping about paying the proper fare.

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Wrong

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Mela Bush of the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition lead the petition to have the fare reduced using the argument it was a low income community which couldn't afford the current fair structure.

It happened in 2013 so finding the article as rather hard.

Also they're zone 1A and it jumps to Zone 2 at Readville.

So, what you're saying is

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A coalition that represents an area that is squarely within the 1A zone wanted the squarely middle class people who live around Fairmount to pay the 1A fare because it is a low income area?

Okay.

I definitely gripe about the

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I definitely gripe about the $200 a month I pay in Rozzie b/c it's not a "proper fare." My train is late every single day, runs every 2 hours on Saturday and nothing on Sunday.

You can get on at Needham Heights for $6.75 and go all the way to SS. You get on at Rozzie sq (or any of the Boston stops) and it's $6.25.

My originating stop has fewer stops to Back Bay than if I took the train to Needham & I pay twice as much. I'm willing to pay my fair share but I don't think the Needham line is truly equitable.

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Sigh. Do you really don't know?

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The interzone fare system is a great way of getting people to use seats that would otherwise go empty. To use your example, people get off the train at Roslindale Square, leaving empty seats. The interzone fare encourages people to occupy the seats vacated.

It surprises me how people who use the commuter rail don't understand the basics of how it works. The system is designed to get people from suburban areas to downtown for work. That's why the frequencies are greater during rush hours. In some cities in the US, they don't even run the trains midday because the usage would be so low. The "commute" the fare based on distance, which as been done since the 19th century.

I hope that helped you out. Just remember, the last time T riders got the T to make serious adjustments to fare structure (allowing for a free transfer from subway to bus and a transfer from bus to subway costing only an upgrade to the subway fare) those who were unaffected by the changes (people who only rode the subway) got screwed. Of course, the T could just reduce the commuter rail fares across the board. They'd lose revenue in the process, but then again, it's not like the train stations are in poor condition and need maintenance or anything. Oh, wait...

Had I known I wouldn't have

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Had I known I wouldn't have asked!

If the trains were on time, clean, worked, didn't have an hour lapse during rush hour, better air quality on the platforms and had service on the weekends (both days) then maybe I would think the fare is fair. But as it is now I am late every day for work, don't get a seat, can't take it downtown on Sunday and can't breath on platforms b/c of the fumes.

Maybe the 19th century fare based on distance isn't exactly equitable anymore. Once you get into the Boston stops that is when the trains get packed (at least that is the case for the line I am on).

I've taken all modes of the T daily for almost 40 years (except for the Blue Line). I have only seen prices go higher and conditions and service deteriorate.

I certainly don't have the answers but I do know it's only getting worse and no one (including riders) seems to know what to do.

If you’ve been to this website

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You’ve read the explanations and seen the arguments. Over and over again.

At the end of the day, you pay the same fare people in Belmont, Melrose, Winchester, and Newtonville pay for a state subsidized service because it is the way the fare is calculated, by distance. Do you think Belmont commuters get a better deal than you do? Auburndale is in zone 2, but it is closer to downtown than Riverside, which costs $4.50 less to commute from. Is that fair?

But hey, if you think lowering the fare will get you a seat on the train, I don’t think you’ll get the logic of commuter rail fares.

Used to game this

It was twice the distance, but took the same amount of time for me to get to Wedgemere than to West Medford. The payoff was that Wedgemere is Zone 1 ... and was a couple dollars cheaper to get back and forth to Lowell than West Medford was.

I'm not sure about all of the

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I'm not sure about all of the pre-existing stops on the line, but Upham's Corner was Zone 1A fare when I was using the Fairmount Line in 2002-2003.

I'm impressed

This dude just worked a "Thanks Obama" into a story about the T's embarrassing infrastructure in 2018.

Take a bow my friend, take a bow. /snark

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Fairmount will never be subway

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Despite the push fo the neighborhoods and some front-facing federal people (who know better) that line will never be a subway.

The only reasons some of the bridges were replaced was because they did not meet modern standards for possible electrification in the future and also to allow certain military vehicles and double-stack containers to pass under comfortably. It is the only rail line with access to the Port of Boston were it necessary to get military vehicles there in time of national emergency. Other rail lines go under buildings and the clearance is not great enough. This is already an old and dropped topic on various rail discussion forums.

I believe it was discussed here that CSX which owned the tracks also has an option to re-activate its right of way, (now a test track for the Red Line) , when and if the Port looks toward increasing freight and goods deliveries in Boston, which in fact is under consideration. If so any change to the rail line that interrupts its contractual rights will allow them to veto. Since hazmat cannot go under the Pru tunnel or back Bay tunnel and some freight will not fit (double stacks) Fairmount is the only viable access.

Federal law prohibits "subway" and "heavy" rail trains from using the same tracks, so the line will continue to be "Heavy" rail trains like you see there now. The question is whether the frequency and cost can be met. The MBTA had a plan to rebuild a few of the retired train sets to allow the locomotives to start and stop quicker like a subway service but that was set aside because they had to pull a few out of mothballs to fix up to run the current service they have.

As to Diesel-multi units (DMU or self-propelled motorized coaches like in Europe) that is not happening quickly due to cost, and no company currently manufacturing them here. They would have to ramp up an assembly plant first. As it is, new tariffs and recently passed legislation will make it harder for a foreign company to build here and even the current order of subway trains from China is in serious question. To emphasize this... Hyundai-Rotem just closed its plant where the current new rolling stock of MBTA bilevel commuter rail coaches were built. So that manufacturer no longer has a place to supplement MBTA repairs if anything goes wrong, and the T's repair facility is not big enough or equipped for serious repairs. It has to be contracted out.

For the MBTA to make Fairmount work, the train has to go further than Hyde Park, but plans to extend the trains to Foxboro or Canton have been opposed by the local development group because the train is presently defined as operating in an under-served community and minority community which makes development funds available for urban improvements. If the train goes elsewhere that designation is lost and could have an impact on available federal development dollars. This part needs to be looked at carefully.

So there are many different interests pulling in different directions here. There is no off-the-shelf solution

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References?

I'm interested in the military access to the port of Boston assertion. Not saying you're wrong but I would assume there's plenty of rail service to Newport, Portsmouth, other ports with active bases, etc... to move military vehicles without having to access Boston.

References

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According to the City of Boston's 2009 economic study for the Marine Park, "use [of the railroad track into the Seaport] by the Department of Defense provides an opportunity for the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army to have a facility for the trans-shipment movement of equipment. This Division is headquartered in Watertown, New York and currently has no convenient Port of Embarkation for their use. Previously, they used the Military Ocean Terminal (MOT) in Bayonne, New Jersey, but this facility has closed."

Anon is wrong. Seaport tracks are connected to Old Colony, not F

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The Seaport tracks are connected to the Old Colony tracks, ie Red Line Ashmont, Braintree, Commuter Lakeville, Brockton, Plymouth, etc. The Seaport tracks are not connected to the Fairmount. The Anon is flat out wrong. Military rail access runs through Quincy - Fore River.

Yes but. Its slated to close

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The Hyundai Rotem plant in Philly is also closing. The Springfield rail car plant will likely close after the Red-Orange orders. The plant closings showcase the "Made in America" barriers to improving rail service in the US. Tons of new foreign auto cars get shipped to Massachusetts every month without high penalties. If you try to ship a train, get ready to pay through the nose.

It won't become a subway. but not for the reasons you shared

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Most of your reasoning is just plain wrong. However, the conclusion is correct. The Fairmount will not become a subway because of two items: cost and gentrification. Tito Jackson promoted several Fairmount subway ideas. all running in the billions of dollars. At the same time if said subway line was built. it would spur the greatest gentrification exodus in the history of the US.

HAHA

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Please, we're a blue state and have been fora LONG time. And here you are blaming the state of the MBTA solely on Baker, TYPICAL!

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Typical, but true

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What, exactly, has Baker done to try to get more funding for station maintenance?

And recall that the new Orange and Green Line trains (and the original set of Red Line trains) were all ordered under the Patrick administration.

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Right

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Screwing over people who do actual work is always the solution.

NOPE.

Show your numbers next time - and don't muck with them.

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Carmen Union Corrupt As Hell

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The Carmen members have received raises year after year unlike other MBTA employees. They also fight to keep negligent employees working. The union has been the biggest opponent to sick time reform at the T because most of their members abuse it. Getting them out/toeing the line would be a step towards improvement.

Oh Swirly.

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Oh Swirly.
I know T personnel that retired in their 50's that started after 1970. They tell me quite frankly how they game the system. Pad the overtime, etc..

I know you rely on google and such for much ( a lot) of your information but these are the things google won't tell you.

But anon was completely wrong

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This article from Commonwealth Magazine gives a good overview. The poor slobs have to wait until they turn 55 to collect, which is at least 5 years (and up to 15 depending on how you read the comment) older than anon claimed.

I'm not defending the 55 year old retiree, just giving some truth to the discussion.

Its not always

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About MORE MORE MORE, the T has a huge issue in how they utilize the available money on hand.

Whats your solution, elected a far left socialist and TAX TAX TAX?

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They do?

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Please show your work.

Repeating 40 year old talking points is not showing your work.

Pressley can pick up the Fairmount pieces

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These "California trains" are being produced in Japan. No assembly, disassembly, and reassembly BS as seen with CRRC Springfield. No "Buy America" restrictions. No Bull. As the growing California system procures additional vehicles directly from Japan, Pressley can get in touch with Kamala Harris and work out a federal agreement. At $3 million a pop, these trains are cheaper than the new CAF USA Green Line vehicles but not as cheap as the massive CRRC subway bundle.

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Great idea

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But you know how the whole government thing works, don’t you? I’ll give you a hint. Members of Congress don’t order railcars.

You’re getting close

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MassDOT or maybe the MBTA itself would be the level of government that would request procurement. Pressley’s job would be to press Chao and the Federal Transit Administration to approve federal funds as a match for state funds, but only if Massachusetts requested it first.

Please retake Government 101. You could really learn a lot.

What is it with you and your Fairmount Line hatred

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Seriously you hate any idea concerning Fairmount Line improvements, whether its electrification, new vehicles, or something else. This corridor doesn't need the state. Maybe you should take Government 101 and stop with the constant sniping

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I love the Fairmount Line

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I was even hanging around the future Blue Hill Avenue Station today. My first trip on the commuter rail was from Fairmount to South Station. I support any reasonable proposal to improve the line, like more stations, an expanded schedule, and even DMUs (if there are compliant models out there)

But here’s the thing. I’m not the Governor, or the head of MassDOT, or the head of the MBTA, or even a state rep or senator. Those people can get the state to buy DMUs. Capuano, Pressley, Warren, and Markey are limited on what they can do to what Massachusetts wants. That’s the part of how government works you are utterly clueless about.

Oh, and I can’t wait until the GLX opens.

Building Authorities, Special Purpose Districts, P3s

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There are an assortment of Mass entities that can procure the vehicles. You don't need to rely on the state for everything. Will the state have a seat at the table? Of course. it always will. But if the US MA caucus, Boston, regional groups, and the private sector all support the same project, it will be tough for the state to say no.

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Ok, but. give Ayanna a chance to breath

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Her term doesn't start for months. Capuano is your rep for the rest of the year. If you have a sudden gas fire, you're working with Capuano not Pressley

*ahem*

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forward funding. Big Dig debt transfer.

the T has been in a downward spiral ever since.

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Deval Patrick

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has been the only Democrat in the Governor's seat for over 30 years. Weirdly enough he was the one who got the new cars for Red and Orange lines moving ahead, the fire under the ass of the GLX lit, and the plans to subway-ize the Fairmount line. Please, illuminate us as to what Weld, Romney, Celluci, Swift, and Baker have done for the T, aside from slashing its budget and saddling it with debt from other transit departments.

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Under Patrick, we went from 2

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Under Patrick, we went from 2 MBTA employees per subway train to 1, and we went from a union token booth person to an outsourced customer agent.

That seems like good cost cutting to me

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Renovated Stations

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Have wondered for years why the T can't force the construction companies to fix the poor workmanship at the renovated stations. As a daily rider of the Blue Line, I look at the crumbling entrance to Maverick. Government Center is a mess: the floors are filthy, the paint on the posts are peeling, hand rails become loose, etc, etc.

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Is it really?

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Is Government Center station really a mess? I use that station at least 1-2 a week and am always so impressed with how it looks. Is it not one of, if not the, nicest stations in the system? Do some people just like to complain?

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the government center roof

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the government center roof was already stained by water damage two weeks after it reopened. it the ceiling was peeling paint and the cement was being compromised not long after that.

the renovations they did there were, outside of the headhouse and installing elevators, putting lipstick on a pig. they did not address any of the water issues which ultimately cause electrical problems which disrupt service. i realize the system is old, but they had completely opened up the ground to do the renovations, they could have done some waterproofing at that point.

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BS Charlie

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He spends more time putting stickers of trucks promoting T development than even riding the T

No surprise

When any entity is told to cut their budget, the first thing to go is maintenance. Easy to quickly cut costs, and by the time the s* hits the fan, you can blame 'the other guys' for making those cuts...

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Re-organize the T under Chapter 9 Municipal Bankruptcy Law

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The T has tremendous structural issues. IMHO, the best solution is fierce: re-organize the entity under Chapter 9. Bankruptcy law gives you wide latitude to reject / re-structure contracts and put the T on a firm foundation.

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Michelle my belle

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Good job now if you and your city councilors would ride the MBTA and address the out of control school students who bully and beat up other students and terrorize passengers especially at Forest Hills station. At least you could demand the Transit Police come out of hiding in the back rooms and patrol the station.

What on earth are you talking about?

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I commute through Forest Hills, my daughter commuted to BLS through there for 6 years, and we have had Girl Scout cookie booths in there, including during after school hours. There are Transit Police in the station during those school commute times.

And I have been in that station at all hours of the day and never seen students terrorizing passengers. Not impossible, but not the pervasive scenario you paint.

I see more of that in Downtown Crossing, both above and below ground.

Function over form.

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Of course they should make sure they have newer equipment to replace the aging cars, and worry about appearances later. That Globe article has someone from Winchester saying they deserved a station as grand as their town. Hard to believe such pearl-clutching nonsense gets printed.

Winchester

deserves a station that isn't falling apart, and that is ADA-compliant. It's an elevated station that probably hasn't seen any major construction since the 1950s, and ought to be at least put into a state of good repair.

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Kix Tart

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Seems like the pearl clutches should fundraiser and prove Winchester worthy.

I mean, they certainly could do better than the Newton commuter rail stations if they raised $20,000.

Seriously.. Newton's got the school taken care of... their railroad-commute-to-working taxpayers deserve better.

Even better, the state DOT and Mass Highway could join in the project for Newton's rail stations.

South Attleboro

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South Attleboro is less pleasant than the Newton stations.

This station has a rusting-apart rickety pedestrian bridge over the tracks. Only the ramps are open, because the stairs are so thoroughly rusted out there are holes through the steel plating that a person would fall through, should they be allowed to step on them.

I'm waiting for a good storm to see this thing collapse on the high-speed rail line.

Hasn't the MBTA said

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Hasn't the MBTA said previously that they have the money, but lack other resources, (mainly the time it would take to make all these repairs while still keeping trains running, since they went so long without making repairs that we're not talking about regular maintenance, but large-scale projects)?

“If they are not unsafe, then

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“If they are not unsafe, then whether your stations are a little nicer or not nicer may not change the length of your commute or the on-time performance of the line,” Pollack said.

Translation: "Let them eat cake!"

Translation

My boss is an idiot and until I pull him off the nearest Koch brother, this is all I got.

Adjective

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HEALTHFUL

Conditions and stations (and other inanimate things) cannot be healthy. They don't have health at all.
They can threaten the health of creatures in the stations, however.

A manchineel tree might be both healthy and unhealthful to those beneath it.

Up your vocabulary game, Ms. Wu!