Off The Rails
June 13, 2019
How much more can commuters in Boston take?
by Joe Aiello | Northeast Field Coordinator
Two in the last week.
Four in the last four months.
Five (so far) in 2019.
43 in total over the last five years.
Thanks to the Red Line fiasco this week, it’s been reported that the MBTA stands behind only behind the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has the worst safety record in the country. We are already #1 in the country for worst traffic, maybe this is another top ranking we should NOT be striving for…
SInce activism works in real time, social media was all over this. Yours truly, of course, took part with my fellow transit folks to call attention to the myriad of problems with our current system here in Boston. Sadly, the more we learn about the aftermath of the latest derailment - the more it looks like this is going to take weeks to clear up.
A story in four tweets:
2nd derailment in the last three days. You better believe that the #MBTA is still raising fares on July 1st.— J. Anton Aiello ???? (@aiellobytrain) June 11, 2019
OUR SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND TALKING A GOOD GAME ISNT ENOUGH ANYMORE, MR. GOVERNOR. @MBTA @MassGovernor @Steph_Pollack @spoftak #mapoli https://t.co/tnyS5vkzS1
It doesn't matter how many GMs or CEOs are brought in to fix the T - the problem is the State House. DECADES of inaction from lawmakers comfortable with the status quo have led us to this. Start the fight there. #mapoli https://t.co/sG2MjBrhhd— J. Anton Aiello ???? (@aiellobytrain) June 12, 2019
And yet if we had the @NSRailLink yesterday, people could take the commuter rail from JFK to S. Station & through to Porter (& vice versa) instead of being forced to rely on the overworked and overcrowded shuttle buses when the #RedLine goes down.— J. Anton Aiello ???? (@aiellobytrain) June 12, 2019
That's how #RegionalRail works. https://t.co/jVpuhVSllB
How much more can riders take? Crumbling infrastructure, ancient signals, politicians afraid to break the status quo... When will enough be enough and our leaders stop giving well meaning speeches and start putting the work in to make things better. As I pointed out in one of the above tweets, what good will the new Red Line (and Orange Line) train sets be if they are still going to roll on 100 year old track?
Governor Baker has seemingly done his best to steer clear of getting his hands dirty on the recent derailmemnts - which is a little surprising for a man who ran for re-election with a major pledge to fix the T (and ordering new cars inst enough).
“We want to make sure we get it right,” Baker said after an unrelated event in Springfield. “I wish we could install it [signal and track upgrades] all tomorrow. We can’t. But I believe we’re heading in the right direction on that stuff.”
The right direction?
Off the rails is a technically a “direction”.
But it’s easy to talk a big game when you are driven in a private, police escorted, vehicle to work each and every day.
If Boston is ever to be considered a "world-class" city (as so many here like to already call it), it is going to need a "world-class" transit system. And what we have now... is not it. But it could be so much better.
Until then, there is always this.
"The COVID Pandemic has been and continues to be the biggest challenge faced by Americans as it has taken a deadly toll on the world and on the world’s economies. During COVID Locomotive Engineers at Amtrak and other Passenger and Freight Railroads have embodied the definition of essential workers. This dedication by our members is not new. We applaud the Rail Passenger’s Association for recognizing the vital contributions of our members and their hard work moving Americans and freight during the COVID pandemic."
Dennis Pierce, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) National President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.