Monday, March 19, 2007

Uphams Corner: Overhyping the Obvious

The last time I wrote about Boston Globe transportation columnist Mac Daniel's Sunday Starts & Stops column, I was praising it for mentioning, unlike the MBTA website, that the T had completed construction projects on the E Line. Since then I've pretty much bitten my tongue, or blogging fingers, and left any rants about Mac Daniel or his column to the larger, more famous local blogs, Charlie on the MBTA and Bad Transit, as well as the MBTA Forum, all of which I have nothing but the utmost of respect for, I might add. The general consensus amongst the "Big 3" seems to be a respect for the work Mac Daniel does as far as being able to get "those answers" at the MBTA which us common folk would be given the run-around about, yet at the same time questioning both whether or not he actually rides the system and whether he is a PR machine for the MBTA. After this past Sunday's article on Uphams Corner, I can't take it any more--I have to throw my ring in the hat and rant too, and here's why:

With regard to upgrades to teh Uphams Corner Commuter Rail station on the Fairmount/Readville Line, let me first start off by saying it's about time that the MBTA starting doing anything positive for the Dorchester community. On behalf of low-to-middle class neighborhoods all over the Greater Boston Area feeling more than short-changed by the completion of the Greenbush Line while so many inner-city and inner-suburban projects have been sidelined, or done poorly, it's a baby step, but a step nonetheless, for the positive.

But that's where it ends. Saying it will "now cost you just $1.70 to take commuter rail downtown" is overstating the obvious--Uphams Corner (as well as Morton Street even further out) is a Zone 1A stop--that's how much it costs! It didn't magically come down in price... because the stop was renovated. And, duh, you pay it in cash, where applicable, to the conductors--like Chelsea, it's not like there's a ticket kiosk there--this isn't Metro-North, my friends. The fact that the "commuter rail still doesn't accept CharlieCards" is nothing new either. Look here for a lengthy explanation on why the Commuter Rail doesn't that I wrote months ago. Furthermore, in my rant, you'll see why I think think that, if anything, people with a LinkPass-loaded CharlieCard are getting screwed into paying more to board and exit at Uphams Corner and Morton Street because they didn't opt for the monthly Zone 1A--the non-RFID version of the LinkPass which costs the same and allows for Zone 1A Commuter Rail, Commuter Boat and any other MBTA anomalies where the CharlieCard isn't currently accepted. Still don't get it--let me try this approach: you're already paying for a monthly pass which, is supposed to cover your boarding and drop-off locations--why are you paying additionally?! Still lost--let me put it bluntly: if you buy a monthly pass for a particular coverage area you shouldn't have to pay another dime to use services within that coverage area--that is what people with LinkPass Charlie Cards are doing when they board Commuter Rail trains within Zone 1A and have a LinkPass CharlieCard instead of the Zone 1A CharlieTicket? So I'll reiterate from my earlier rant, until the CharlieCard is universally accepted on all MBTA modes of transport, get the Zone 1A--forget the LinkPass CharlieCard!



At 4/23/2007 02:29:00 PM, Blogger Rob Gray said...

train mon --
I'm sure you've covered this in another post, but where do you stand on the possible restoration of the E line down Centre St in Jamaica Plain? Where does that project stand now, anyway?
Rob Willison

At 4/30/2007 01:33:00 PM, Blogger Train Mon! said...

Rob, thanks for reading. Before I answer your questions, let me ask you, "No relation to a guy I went to high school with?"
Anyway, it took so long to respond becasue I was working on answers to your questions that were so long and drawn-out that I was working on an entirely new rant just to answer them, but then I just started rambling, so I deleted that. So to keep things short, to answers you first question, where I stand is that I think it should be revived. The short reason behind it is that any new/revived public transit is good public transit (yes, even the bloated Greenbush Line); the reestablished Heath Street-Arborway E Line extension would give JP riders back the one-seat ride on the Green Line that long-term residents grew up having (and anybody else visiting the area... such as myself). To all the naysayers and NIMBY's who b**** and seem to have one common complaint: the trolleys would have to deal with the double-parking on Center/Centre Street, I say that's the fault of both the BPD and "Transit Police" for not keep the tracks clear, literally. I mean the T inspectors can't even keep cars from mowing people down between Brigham Circle and Heath Street when the trolley doors open.
As far as where the project stands, the Commonwealth (State Transportation Department) is currently being sued by various activist groups in JP, most notably the Arborway Committee, over lack of action in restoring the extension; in fact the Commonwealth has taken just the opposite steps by (quietly) taking down much of the overhead wiring and paving over some of the rail. Meanwhile other pro-transit but anti-trolley groups, such as Better Transit Without Trolleys, pretty much just watch things play out, hoping that the end result will simply be better service on the Route 39.

At 5/24/2008 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Rob Gray said...

Thanks train mon!


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