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.
"When [NARP] comes to Washington, you help embolden us in our efforts to continue the progress for passenger rail. And not just on the Northeast Corridor. All over America! High-speed rail, passenger rail is coming to America, thanks to a lot of your efforts! We’re partners in this. ... You are the ones that are going to make this happen. Do not be dissuaded by the naysayers. There are thousands of people all over America who are for passenger rail and you represent the best of what America is about!"
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2012 NARP Spring Council Meeting