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(MetroWest Daily News)   Boston to boost the attractiveness of public transportation by raising prices 40% and eliminating night and weekend service   ( metrowestdailynews.com) divider line
    More: Fail, Big Dig, public transports, MBTA, Joe Pesaturo, commuter rail, transit district, Framingham  
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6457 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jan 2012 at 8:24 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-01-29 05:23:59 AM  
The reason why they're proposing this is because this is how you do it in public transit. You tell everybody you're doubling their fares and cutting all service except at rush hour and then you wait for the people to come in and yell and then you go "oh OKAY, we'll just raise the fares by 8% and cut service on the line to Timbuktoo back to once every half an hour, fine, are you HAPPY now" and then everybody goes away and they actually are happy, because the people united will never be defeated, and you just managed to stave off disaster for another 6 months, but hey, 6 months from now you might not be in office, and those farkers can figure it out then, and Hooray For Democracy!
 
2012-01-29 05:26:37 AM  
Well, to be fair, raising the rates and cutting nighttime service will keep some of the riffraff off. It's not like they'll be commuting for work or anything.
 
2012-01-29 08:28:27 AM  
Everyone knows public transport is a communist abomination anyway.
 
2012-01-29 08:28:27 AM  

Osomatic: The reason why they're proposing this is because this is how you do it in public transit. You tell everybody you're doubling their fares and cutting all service except at rush hour and then you wait for the people to come in and yell and then you go "oh OKAY, we'll just raise the fares by 8% and cut service on the line to Timbuktoo back to once every half an hour, fine, are you HAPPY now" and then everybody goes away and they actually are happy, because the people united will never be defeated, and you just managed to stave off disaster for another 6 months, but hey, 6 months from now you might not be in office, and those farkers can figure it out then, and Hooray For Democracy!


That's not how they did it in Pittsburgh. I know people who have lost their jobs because they couldn't get to work for their shifts anymore. Yeah, great way to get revenue from taxes: eliminate income withholdings and draw from unemployment and welfare reserves.
 
2012-01-29 08:32:55 AM  

Gothnet: Everyone knows public transport is a communist abomination anyway.


This is what my conservative friends in Atlanta actually believe.

/Because Jesus wants us to spend 2-4 hours alone in our car each day.
 
2012-01-29 08:34:24 AM  
I'm sure there are ways of using public transport without being put out financially.
 
2012-01-29 08:34:29 AM  
1. Refuse to bail out US automakers
2. Reward real estate bubble Wall Street with get out of jail free cards and big bonuses (boni)
3. Crash metro tax bases and refuse federal aid
4. Kill working public transportation
5. Sell expensive foreign cars to former rail commuters
6. Tear down buildings for parking lots
7. Profit
 
2012-01-29 08:34:46 AM  
Problem: Demand too low due to poor service and high prices
Solution: Raise prices and cut service
It's basic economics!
 
2012-01-29 08:36:14 AM  
What night services? Farking T stops running at 1:30 as it is.

It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.
 
2012-01-29 08:38:35 AM  

Pontious Pilates: Gothnet: Everyone knows public transport is a communist abomination anyway.

This is what my conservative friends in Atlanta actually believe.

/Because Jesus wants us to spend 2-4 hours alone in our car each day.


If Jesus really wanted me to drive, he'd have built me a hot rod.
 
2012-01-29 08:39:58 AM  
Old News. But someone needs to tell Charley (new window)
 
2012-01-29 08:40:37 AM  
Jeez:

As a Canadian, I worry for our cousins. I keep reading about cities down there closing services, shuttering public transport, switching off streetlights, and cannot help but think that some parts of the US are going into economic death spirals.
 
2012-01-29 08:40:48 AM  
Vote for George O'Brian! Get poor Charlie off the MTA!
 
2012-01-29 08:43:58 AM  

Klivian: What night services? Farking T stops running at 1:30 as it is.

It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.


Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?

The article also mentions that the MBTA is over $5 billion in debt. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that they waited too long to raise prices.
 
2012-01-29 08:48:39 AM  
Public transportation should be a public service, like schools, hospitals, and so on, not a source of income for the government. Not that there's anything with breaking even or anything, but there's nothing wrong with raising taxes to make it work. It costs what it costs.

/maybe the Boston govt doesn't want it to work?
 
2012-01-29 08:48:57 AM  
Link (new window)

No longer on the MBTA
 
2012-01-29 08:49:19 AM  
The less people on public transport the more attractive it will be, true.
 
2012-01-29 08:50:19 AM  
The writer shouldn't have used the word "hobbling." Were MetroWest transit riders truly hobbled, they wouldn't give a rat's ass about train prices.

/I get angry when some douche misuses decimated for devastated
 
2012-01-29 08:59:42 AM  
If you complain about this then you must be some kind of libberul. Free market FTW

stucka: The writer shouldn't have used the word "hobbling." Were MetroWest transit riders truly hobbled, they wouldn't give a rat's ass about train prices.

/I get angry when some douche misuses decimated for devastated


I hate when people misuse words too. If they were truly `hobbled` then they would have had their ankle broken as slaves to prevent rapid escape....
 
2012-01-29 09:09:15 AM  

xenovalent: Klivian: What night services? Farking T stops running at 1:30 as it is.

It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.

Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?

The article also mentions that the MBTA is over $5 billion in debt. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that they waited too long to raise prices.


Every once in a while I take a train home after 10:00; usually after I've gone out drinking after work. Cabs are expensive when you live 20 miles outside Boston. I wouldn't mind cutting off service after 9:00 though, except for one more late train at 11:30 or so. At least then I'd have a chance to take a train if I needed to.

As to the debt and fees - you're completely right. MBTA does not make nearly enough money and has a ton of debt. As far as I can tell they don't have a ridership problem, at least during commuting hours - they can probably afford to increase fees significantly without losing riders. I'm pretty sure that a 40% increase in fare will bring the cost up to about what I would pay driving every day, and still saves me the hassle.
 
2012-01-29 09:10:23 AM  
Prices haven't gone up in five years, but I'm sure the costs have. The MBTA is running in the red so the prices today are not keeping up with basic operating costs let alone the need to improve and maintain services. NYC MTA finally got the right idea. They have already announced price increases for 2013 and every other year there after. No one can whine as the price is already set and everyone knows it well ahead of time.
 
2012-01-29 09:10:56 AM  

Uncle Tractor: Public transportation should be a public service, like schools, hospitals, and so on, not a source of income for the government. Not that there's anything with breaking even or anything, but there's nothing wrong with raising taxes to make it work. It costs what it costs.

/maybe the Boston govt doesn't want it to work?


If it's anything like New York, the pols will rant and rave sanctimoniously about how the heartless transit authority is breaking the backs of their poor, beleaguered constituents... all while neglecting to mention that overseeing and providing funding for the state-created transit agency is THEIR DAMN JOB.

/so yeah, probably
 
2012-01-29 09:14:49 AM  
Haven't been on the MBTA-been on other mass transit systems, and the fare/schedule wars rage every where over this. A large percentage of the NYC bridge and tunnel fares fund their mass transit-not that it's enough. Philly's system although much smaller-generally is 10-20%more to ride-less toll money to fund it-and it's nothing to brag about.
This will get really interesting given the price of gas will never go down, if anything will go higher, and just how will people afford to get around in this large country? Either by car or mass transit, it's gonna cost a lot more, what are the trade offs going to be? Stay really local and short hop it to where ever you need to go? The talk of more fuel efficient anything seems to have faded away.
 
2012-01-29 09:16:27 AM  
They tried this in our city with the bus service. Didn't work, so they modified the bus routes by eliminating some of the routes. Now even less people are riding. I used to like riding sometimes, less gas to buy and I didn't have to worry about parking - now I have to walk a mile which isn't so bad, but sometimes it's a one way ticket downtown.
 
2012-01-29 09:24:00 AM  
well it will boost attractiveness by continuing to have the service at all.

/and did he ever return, no he never returned...
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-01-29 09:26:07 AM  
A lot of the system, especially commuter rail, serves commuting traffic. Full trains during rush hour probably break even. Late night trains where one car out of six is populated are very expensive.

When the MBTA tried late night bus service a few years ago most of the closing time buses were more expensive per passenger than cabs. (Operating cost, not fare price.) Mass transit requires masses to ride.

The T faces the highest debt burden of any transit agency in the country, its officials said.

Meanwhile, the governor thinks the MBTA can afford a $2 billion commuter rail line that will add $20 million per year to the agency's annual deficit because fares don't cover operating expenses.
 
2012-01-29 09:37:31 AM  

ZAZ: A lot of the system, especially commuter rail, serves commuting traffic. Full trains during rush hour probably break even. Late night trains where one car out of six is populated are very expensive.

When the MBTA tried late night bus service a few years ago most of the closing time buses were more expensive per passenger than cabs. (Operating cost, not fare price.) Mass transit requires masses to ride.

The T faces the highest debt burden of any transit agency in the country, its officials said.

Meanwhile, the governor thinks the MBTA can afford a $2 billion commuter rail line that will add $20 million per year to the agency's annual deficit because fares don't cover operating expenses.


What do you expect from a guy who got re-elected despite the fact you can't find a single person who voted for him?
 
2012-01-29 09:37:41 AM  

xenovalent: The article also mentions that the MBTA is over $5 billion in debt. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that they waited too long to raise prices.


And I thought the TTC was messed up.
 
2012-01-29 09:38:15 AM  
Page 2 of the article mentions one of the reasons for such huge debts: the Big Dig! I swear, nothing handled by Massachusetts government is ever on time, under budget, or of decent quality.

Once in a while, I take the commuter rail in from Haverhill. It's currently $8.25, one way, to go about 35 miles. I don't use it nearly enough to get a monthly pass. Sadly, that's still a better rate than trying to use the nonexistent parking in downtown Boston.
 
2012-01-29 09:38:41 AM  
Genius.

My wife commutes from the north shore by train every day. Never mind the cuts in service (which will keep up from using mass transit to go into Boston for any evening event ever - dinner, movies, live theater, summer concerts on the Charles, just visiting friends, whatever... or heaven forbid I need to get home from Loagn Airport late on a Sunday night). The fare hike will actually make it cheaper to drive to Boston and rent a parking space by the month. I'm including gas, tolls and even service on the car here.

Know what, MBTA? Fark you. Shut the whole thing down. I'll eat local, and fly out of Manchester. Boston loses ALL my money. Give the T a honorable death rather than killing it little by little.
 
2012-01-29 09:42:24 AM  
failblog.files.wordpress.comView Full Size
 
2012-01-29 09:43:07 AM  

xenovalent: Klivian: What night services? Farking T stops running at 1:30 as it is.

It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.

Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?

The article also mentions that the MBTA is over $5 billion in debt. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that they waited too long to raise prices.


To be fair to MBTA, it's not entirely their fault. The state shifted a large portion of the Big Dig debt onto MBTA and basically just said "here, it's your problem now".

I blame Romney.

/seriously
 
2012-01-29 09:43:42 AM  

gaslight: Jeez:

As a Canadian, I worry for our cousins. I keep reading about cities down there closing services, shuttering public transport, switching off streetlights, and cannot help but think that some parts of the US are going into economic death spirals.


Don't be too smug. The same's going on in Toronto. At one point they were talking about stopping late night service on the TTC. Because I guess there would be no negative economic impact if thousands of people can't get to work, people stop going to bars because they can't get home, and drunk driving increases exponentially.
 
2012-01-29 09:45:28 AM  
FTA: Service cutback applies only to the commuter rail. I assume the red/green/blue/orange subway and trolley lines still run 5am - 1am 7 days/week.

That Framingham commuter who was feeling slighted - they could drive just a few miles east to the Riverside Green Line trolley stop in Newton. Not perfect, but still way better than driving into downtown.

/Displaced Boston native
//misses mass transit
 
2012-01-29 09:50:42 AM  
I don't take contracts in downtown Boston anymore. Tried the MBTA at Franklin Forge - - they doubled the parking fees and jacked the commuter ticket 20% and STILL were a half-hour late once a week. Switched to driving in on the Pike and parking in the Back Bay. Then the parking garage jacked THEIR price up to $30/day.

Screw it - - at least in Providence I can find free parking off toll-free roads.
 
2012-01-29 09:52:04 AM  
People should not be expected to pay the full cost of getting to and from work. The evil rich should pay the cost.

Any attempt to use private, market priced toll roads to ensure that cars are not subsidized is racist.
 
2012-01-29 09:53:36 AM  
Came here for Charlie, leaving satisfied...though really, subby, how could you miss this?

/no he never returned...
 
2012-01-29 09:54:37 AM  

xenovalent: Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?


I don't know about Boston, but plenty of people who live in the burbs in Chicago do. I know that the last of the commuter trains to the burbs in Chicago leave the city around midnight. As a teenager I rode that train a few times and there were always plenty of people on it going home from a night in the city.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-01-29 09:54:44 AM  
Lipo

There's a lot more Big Dig blame than can be laid on Romney. The executive branch, including Romney's predecessors, mostly owns the fraud. Raiding agencies to fund the project was a cooperative effort with the legislature. The Turnpike Authority was conscripted to send toll money. The Port Authority was told to buy part of the Big Dig because the Port Authority had more revenue than it needed.

You could raise commuter rail costs to match operating costs and use open road tolling on the Zakim Bridge and Southeast Expressway to cover Big Dig costs, but I won't trust Massachusetts politicians with more tolls. They already proved tolls will be abused.
 
2012-01-29 09:56:38 AM  
If it's still like it was back when I had to use it, the problem is that they don't collect the fare from half the people. Half the time when I rode the conductor was never seen to collect fares. Also always wondered how much cash went into conductors pockets. Handling so much cash must be a huge temptation.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-01-29 10:03:58 AM  
groundhog

I assume (hope) conductors have to turn in their punched copies of cash tickets at the end of a shift. Conductor started with 100 tickets. He finished with 50 unused tickets and 50 punched tickets with zones adding up to $200. He had better have $200 to match. To commit fraud the conductor would have to collect money for a longer trip than he punched. That's easy for one way tickets but difficult for round trip tickets. If I'm going back to zone 4 I'm going to worry if he punched zone 2 in the morning. So he has to punch zone 4 on my ticket and zone 2 on his receipt. Somebody could notice.
 
2012-01-29 10:16:06 AM  

Artist: Haven't been on the MBTA-been on other mass transit systems, and the fare/schedule wars rage every where over this. A large percentage of the NYC bridge and tunnel fares fund their mass transit-not that it's enough. Philly's system although much smaller-generally is 10-20%more to ride-less toll money to fund it-and it's nothing to brag about.
This will get really interesting given the price of gas will never go down, if anything will go higher, and just how will people afford to get around in this large country? Either by car or mass transit, it's gonna cost a lot more, what are the trade offs going to be? Stay really local and short hop it to where ever you need to go? The talk of more fuel efficient anything seems to have faded away.


that's the scary part - looking at the big picture. where we are headed, how quickly, overall as a country. grocery costs are steadily rising to the point of i cannot foresee affording most foods 5 years from today if they continue to cost rise as they have the past 18 months..
those that are large and in charge steered the country to where it is today, and IMHO they are going to make life much more miserable in the days to come.
steadily more people are being plunged into working poor or broke. those that are already on hard times are going to turn to desperate measures just to stay warm and stave off hunger.
every year more youth with college education, the debt that brings and no job opportunities in sight - when will they get their chance to 'succeed', to move up in the workplace, own a home, have 1.4 children?
make it un-affordable for your working class to get to work & high unemployment. pretty soon delis & food vendors feel the pinch and watch the price of lunch become 3X what it is today = un-affordable. on and on it goes as the clowns of WashDC war/shenanigans shot us into debt beyond the imagination, no end in sight, and no plan to make good.
this movie is not going to end well. we are seeing plenty of indicators in news stories but it seems too many are still asleep at the wheel on the road of don't know don't care.
 
2012-01-29 10:18:47 AM  

Jenna Tellya: Problem: Demand too low due to poor service and high prices
Solution: Raise prices and cut service
It's basic economics!



They aren't going to get out of their budget debt by increasing ridership, in most cities even full buses and trains don't make money. I'm sure they know they will lose riders but the price increase and savings from cutting service will save them more money.
 
2012-01-29 10:22:14 AM  

Klivian: It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.


What? That has nothing to do with it. The T stops at 1 am because they can't make a profit keeping it open, and because they use that time for repairs and maintenance because it's a 100 year old system.
 
2012-01-29 10:24:57 AM  
When the Republicans piss and moan about class warfare and wonder where the "shared sacrifice" is, look no further.

Lack of accessible, inexpensive public transportation deeply affects the poor and middle class. Transit in any urban area is how they get around. It's expensive to own a car, and even more so in an urban area where you have additional emissions requirements and parking fees. Well, it's expensive when your income is under $40,000 a year.
 
2012-01-29 10:26:59 AM  

Klivian: What do you expect from a guy who got re-elected despite the fact you can't find a single person who voted for him?


I voted for him.
 
2012-01-29 10:30:34 AM  

xenovalent: Klivian: What night services? Farking T stops running at 1:30 as it is.

It's disgraceful, and the logic behind it is that the college kids won't drink as much if the T closes early, not that it actually works.

Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?

The article also mentions that the MBTA is over $5 billion in debt. I'm pretty sure that's a sign that they waited too long to raise prices.


Not everyone works 9 to 5. If this has been put into effect in New York City I would have been out of a job. And I build, maintenance, and repair ISP network gear. You'd be freaking out if Fark didn't work. It's up and running because guys like me at all times of the day and night.
 
2012-01-29 10:31:53 AM  

xenovalent: Read the article - this is commuter rail service after 10:00 PM. Who the hell uses the commuter rail at 10:00 PM?


I moved to the burbs but both my wife and I take commuter rail trains to work. We live a block from the rail station. If we stay in town on a Friday night after work for drinks / catch a show, we're definitely coming home after 10. And when we do, the trains usually have a pretty good crowd on them.

The problem is, they wouldn't have to cut service and raise fares if they were managed properly. The trains are wayyy behind on maintenance, they are delayed by the slightest precipitation threat, tracks freeze, signals go haywire during bad weather, and so on. Meanwhile the guy tearing my ticket or strolling by and glancing at my monthly pass is making $80k annually with a full pension if he retires after 20 years. You had people retiring in their 40s from the commuter rail being paid their full salary with no limitations on finding employment again within the system. There was a director level guy making a six-figure pension while simultaneously holding another 6-figure job within the organization.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-01-29 10:31:56 AM  
in most cities even full buses and trains don't make money

I think they do around Boston. I could be wrong. What I heard is, the central subway and busy bus routes make money if you look at them in isolation.

Overall, fares pay about 1/3 of operating costs. Operating costs for bus and subway are nearly constant per vehicle-trip, empty or full. If the system average is less than 1/3 capacity full vehicles should make money. Lightly used commuter rail trips have fewer crew members and are cheaper to operate.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-01-29 10:34:18 AM  
WinoRhino

Late night commuter trains feel crowded because passengers are packed into fewer cars.

Meanwhile the guy tearing my ticket or strolling by and glancing at my monthly pass is making $80k annually with a full pension if he retires after 20 years.

A report recently recommended against having the MBTA take over commuter rail operations. MBCR employees would demand pay raises after becoming state employees and the MBTA would be unwilling to say no.
 
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