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Springfield as a Boston suburb

No, we're not talking about fever dreams about high-speed rail between Basketballville and the Hub, but about the estimated 10,000 people who already commute from the western part of the state to jobs in the Boston area. MassLive.com interviews one guy who spends $230 a week in tolls and gas to commute from Springfield to downtown Boston - 25% of his take-home pay.

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A normal pass would cost him $400 month plus parking. And I assume a high speed rail pass would be fare more expensive.

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Voting closed 18

Rep. Richard Neal really needs to look at the data on this. He keeps getting swept up in rail nostalgia. This is the same Rep. that blew over a $100 million so he could restore Springfield's massive Union Station to handle a passenger load of roughy 10 riders per hour. Meanwhile, he could have spent $15 million for a small rail platform right next to MGM and the Basketball HOF on the other side of Springfield's Downtown.

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Despite all this talk of "no good jobs closer to home" sometimes I think there is a thing of commuting for commuting's sake. Sometimes it's just not worth it. Get another job for heaven's sake.

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It's somewhat long, but it does get into the issue of why somebody would drive 170 miles roundtrip every day for jobs (hint: It involves the fact that western Mass. just doesn't have the sort of jobs eastern Mass. does).

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Why not move instead? Or do what a friend of mine did - rent a bedroom from a friend closer in and make fewer round trips?

The costs really don't pencil, either. Living in some place closer like Leominster is just as cheap, but less costly to commute.

My brother lives in rural Alberta and commutes 170km (about 100 miles) round trip each day, but that takes him about 20 minutes longer each way on empty, flat, straight 110kmh speed limit roads than my commute (bike to train, walk to bus, drive, or bike in - about the same). I cannot imagine doing 170 miles in the northeast.

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Voting closed 18

Unless the person is in a career like healthcare, construction, fire or police there is literally NO reason anyone needs to be present 40 hours a week in a single location to perform work. The state needs to give tax breaks to businesses who offer more remote positions so that roads clear out, the housing market comes back to reality in and around Boston and people don't have to sacrifice 4 hours of their day to get to a decent paying job.

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Voting closed 42

Cooks, cashiers, clerks and servers of all kinds beg to disagree with you. There are lots of "unskilled" jobs that require people to BE IN A LOCATION which cannot be done by twiddling a laptop. This idea that pencil pushers should all get another little bonus for staying at home... What a smack in the face. Not a real solution

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Voting closed 22

A lot of skilled positions involve more than sitting at a computer all day. The "just telecommute" people are in such a bubble they have no understanding of the majority of jobs that allow them to sit at a desk all day.

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Voting closed 25

What functions are required that I'm missing? IT servers are run remotely, Supply Chain is done on computers, Engineering teams work all over the country in most organizations (IBM employs hundreds of thousands of these people), HR? Payroll? Again those are all not functions that require anyone to be in the same place...Finance? Name two of these "many" major functions of an organization that require people to be in a single location otherwise failure and chaos will ensue.

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Unless someone has a decent definition that will have me eating crow, a lot of supply chain involves a physical presence. Just look at a leader in supply chain, FedEx. Not a lot of their employees work from home.

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Your crow has been served.

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On a computer. Procurement, buying and other aspects are SCM. In cases where you go to the source of raw material to see about quality issues it can't be done done remotely. That's maybe 5% of the time spent doing that job though.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/30/70-percent-of-people-globally-work-remot...

Just because you don't understand or accept the fact that a large portion of the workforce in 2019 is connected by infrastructure that spans the globe doesn't mean that this is a fake solution.

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Voting closed 13

The editing of that article is incompetent in the extreme. The headline says "70% of people", but in the body it says "IWG found that 70 percent of professionals..." Right there you know you're getting a complete misrepresentation of a single study. And of course the study could itself be flawed. It certainly isn't disinterested science; IWG is an office space provider.

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Voting closed 11

It cites another Gallup report if you want to download it. In case this trend in work really is fake... https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2...

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Why would you root against somebody else having an easier life at no detriment to the quality of your own?

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a company a tax break for doing something that's already going to be positive for their bottom line. Telecommuting isn't a "cost" to employers - it usually results in less overhead costs like rent and utilities.

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It saves on facilities but the IT infrastructure required to manage a VPN isn't free.

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Nearly a thousand bucks a week take-home ( assuming the $230 being 25% of his check thing is accurate). So if he's left with $700 a week he's still making more than most of us out here in the real world. Out in Springfield how easy is it to find a job that's paying you $750 a week? Cuz its no so easy in Boston even. Is obviously worth it for this gentleman to make the trek. Maybe he has a mortgage and once the place is paid off he'll be looking for something else. Who's to say. Personally my time is worth more to me, I can't imagine spending 25-30 hours a week in the car just getting to and fro, unless it was REALLY worth it.

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Voting closed 8

Haven't done all the backward math but the article said the $230 was 25% of his biweekly paycheck, not weekly. Also did not say if it was gross or net.

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No matter how many articles Richard Neal and Eric Lesser push at MassLive to boost their East-West Rail dreams, the numbers are just not there. Instead, both of them should look at FlixBus and other European based bus networks that are slowly finding a foothold in the US. FlixBus is ten times better than Peter Pan and Greyhound. Its the best solution between trashy Peter Pan and crazy East-West rail fantasies

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Voting closed 11

Honey, induced demand works for public transportation, too. Especially when the housing cost gradient is so extreme.

The numbers will be there. Look it up.

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Really?

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FlixBus communications team member!

how much do you get per post in a regionally relevant forum?

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Being ten times better than PPB.

Do you get 10x the legroom? Does it magically avoid 10x the traffic? Is the price 10x as cheap? Does it magically have the ability to serve 10x as many stops along the way without getting on and off the highway and adding time to the overall journey?

Do tell.

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I use Boston Express to get to Logan. I prefer it over Peter Pan and the T. Does that make me a Boston Express spokesperson?

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Capuano is a former Mayor of Somerville. Neal is a former Mayor of Springfield. Capuano got into Congress, funneled money to his hometown and forgot about the rest of his district. Neal got into Congress, funneled money to his hometown and forgot about the rest of his district. Capuano was challenged by a young up-start outside of Somerville and was crushed. Neal is being challenged by a young up-start outside of Springfield, Alex Morse.

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The new Wachusett Station on the Fitchburg Line has a new unofficial role: UMASS Amherst's gateway to Boston. Several buses and carpools of UMASS students ride Route 202 and 2 direct to the station. The Worcester Line could use its own Wachusett Station. A Park & Ride in Auburn where the Amtrak Lake Shore tracks and I-90 meet at Dark Brook. That's probably the closest thing to a middle-ground option.

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I asked the UHub West Bureau out in the Pioneer Valley about this and her reaction was basically: Wha?

The going rate for a ride share from UMass Amherst to South Station is $20. A ride that relies on both the Fitchburg Line and a ride up 202/2 hardly seems worth it (and at least in the case of UHub West, we're talking about somebody who really like trains and who once tried to see if it were possible to get from Amherst to Boston entirely via public transit - PVTA to MRTA to the Fitchburg Line - only to conclude it would take forever).

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I mean, Union Station in Worcester is closer to UMass and interestingly is where the Lake Shore Limited stops.

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It's too bad we are so intimidated by large infrastructure projects because creating a reliable and affordable high-speed rail link from west to east would do a lot to alleviate the housing crisis and the traffic crisis in Boston.

As someone who grew up in western MA, but whose job basically relies on being in a major city, I wish it were easier to live outside of the metro Boston area. Buying even in nicer western MA towns is significantly cheaper than a fixer upper in a less than desirable Boston metro area.

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this weekend and passed by the commuter rail stop. I am SHOCKED at how little development there is around it. There is actually a supermarket, stores, and restaurants, all within walking distance and several shuttered businesses and abandoned lots all within a stones throw of the train station. I'm not exactly sure how other Commuter rail stations' areas look but a lot could be done in a place like that to get more people within walking/biking distance of an existing train stop to help the congestion and housing madness in/around the areas the subway system touches.
This would require relatively nothing of the MBTA (except perhaps more frequent service) and could be achieved by developers with vision and slick real estate and marketing folks.

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Development to the Brockton area has already happened. Plenty of apartment buildings are going to start going up within the next 2-3 years in that area. Also, an apartment building across the street just opened up. Slowly but surely -- plenty of information on the internet about the plans.

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Could we get the commuters who live less than 10 miles away from the city taken care of first?

I mean, sure, whatever. I feel for Springfield-ians but maybe let's focus on getting people more than 3 stops on the Orange Line before having to switch to phantom Greyhound buses driven by people who need a %&@:&#% map before we add another steady influx of commuters.

imo, of course

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Unless you honestly think that the snobzoned towns ringing Boston are going to upzone any time soon, the simplest solution is to improve transporation options.

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Take Sherborn versus Millis.

Two bordering towns with different demographics but some similar landscapes (farms).

Millis residents want the same thing as Sherborn residents for the most part. I wouldn't call Millis residents "snobs" in the sense you are thinking of though.

But I don't have a huge problem with either town and their zoning. Do we really need to upzone either of these communities?

Now the issue with zoning and towns like Sherborn requiring a certain size building, etc I see what your talking about there. (only Mansions allowed)

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Neither of those are within 10 miles of downtown Boston. We are basically talking the area ringed by I-95, not the places you are noting.

When I see Winchester building apartments near their train stations, we will talk.

Nice goalpost move - you are an expert at that, probably professionally.

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Just because most people on this site find you annoying and douchy (I’m guessing that’s true real life too) doesn’t mean my comment was trying to subvert you in anyway. I bet you don’t even own any real estate. Who the f*&& should have guessed you would be talking about Winchester. “Snobby” towns come in all sorts of stereotypes. Wellesley, Newton and Brookline have all sorts of new developments near transportation, Weston, Dover and Milton will battle the same developments.

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than here. More than a few people live in Northampton and commute to pied a'terre in NYC for 3-4 days a week. North south rail service from Greenfield down to points south has been increased and that makes so much more sense than building new infrastructure across Worcester County. It's the inverse of the Nashua and Providence links here in the east.

If you had $1b to spend on rail improvements, it would 100% be wiser to spend that cash on eastern MA commuter rail.

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Western Mass is more connected to Hartford and points south because of I-91. That relationship has developed over time because the efficient link to Boston does not exist. What appears to be some sort of self-evident cultural phenomenon is the result of specific infrastructure decisions.

And the people who migrate down to their "pied-a-terre" from Northampton is a laughably small portion of the Western Mass population.

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Most probably into the inner ring of Greater Boston, is a drop in the bucket.

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