Letter to Bob Stoetzel (MBTA Commuter Rail Chief )

This letter pretty much sums up all of my feelings about my MBTA Commuter Rail experience the last four years. I am beyond hating using their service. The MBTA is always promising changes and they never come. Here is the letter:

Hi Bob,
First off I want to let you know that I have a 3 hour total commute daily. My total daily commute used to be 4 hours when I had to commute from North Station to Back Bay. I am a professional commuter and am pretty pissed at the MBTA commuter rail service.

The 7:20 train from Fitchburg (412) has not been on time into North Station in three weeks. It stops in the station 10 minutes late every F-ing day!! I have lost almost two hours of my time in the last two weeks.

TODAY (10/27/05) the train was 30 minutes late when it finally stopped at North Station. There were no public announcements and the conductors never reported it to the Controller. The signs along the route kept reporting that all trains were on time. The Fitchburg conductors never report when their trains are running late – NEVER. If they are already running 30 minutes late at the beginning of the route they report it other wise they don’t. I was told by a Fitchburg conductor that 10 minutes late wasn’t late and to stop complaining. Today they were 30 minutes late and the idiots still didn’t report it. They are always trying to cover their asses.

Any train running 10 minutes late or more should be reported and the signs at stations should be updated to report this. It isn’t a hard concept. I have been taking the Fitchburg line going on 4 years and the service sucks. The service sucks even more because of the price hike almost two years ago. I haven’t seen the service change AT ALL!!

Can someone please enforce some RULES and make the controllers keep track and report when trains are late? When a train sits outside of North Station for 15 minutes it isn’t in the station. THAT IS A LATE TRAIN TOO!!

I pay $200 a month and have never once come into North Station at the scheduled time.

BTW: The Lowell line is terrific but I have to drive 20 miles to grab that train.

Thanks for your time
-Ken Villines

Final Note:
There needs to be a better compensation structure when trains are late. If a train is 15 minutes late a person should get a single one way ticket. When a train is 30 minutes late we currently get two tickets. I don’t know how many times a train, I am on, rolls into the station 23-25 minutes late. That is no different then 30 minutes late in the minds of the rank-and-file using your service.

7 thoughts on “Letter to Bob Stoetzel (MBTA Commuter Rail Chief )

  1. Hi Ken

    Last week the 7:20am S. Attleboro train was sitting on the track in S. Attleboro for about a 1/2 hour. I asked the conductor if the train was broken down he looked at me as if I just called him a dickhead and replied “We’ll get there when we get there”. I hate the conductors they need to be replaced with self-service ticket machines.

    With the jobless rate at a record low the ticket punchers should be happy to have a job.

  2. @ Kathy

    I totally agree with you on getting conductors replaced with Self-service machines. In Japan they don’t have people walking around the trains collecting tickets. As a person gets on the train their pass is scanned and their identification is logged from that. They know who is on every train regardless if the person bought a trip or a monthly pass. This is a great terrorist measure.

    I really don’t know what they spend their budget on. They hiked up passes two years ago and made a ton of promises. I haven’t seen much change at all. There are too many people that are satisfied because they don’t know anything different. If people lived in Montreal they would see how a real transit system works and that ON TIME means within a minute of the scheduled time.

    And you also don’t get those bent out of shape “Southie” attitudes for asking questions.


  3. Ken,

    I have had a much different experience with the Commuter Rail than you. I am currently a student at Dean College, in Franklin, and frequently ride on the Franklin Commuter Rail line. The trains are almost always on time, (in fact some have even been a few minutes early) most of the conductors are very
    friendly, and the flashing sign at the Franklin station always says when trains are running late. And none of the trains I’ve been on have had broken heaters or air conditioners. I wonder why my experience with the Commuter Rail has been so much different than yours?

  4. @ajboldys

    I am not really sure why your experience is different. I know the majority of experiences that have been relayed to me have been bad. It has also been close to a year and a half since I wrote this.

    The experience on the Fitchburg line started getting better towards the end of my time on the train but I was also taking the Lowell train. The Lowell train is GREAT! always on time and the conductors are never rude. I moved to CT in June so I haven’t taken any trains for some time.

    My experience on the Fitchburg line was comparing three different trains. The Worcester line, the Lowell line, and the Fitchburg line. I took the Worcester line for two years and mixed in the Lowell line during my four years on the Fitchburg line.

    Fitchburg by far was the worst line….with complaints heard daily from many different passengers, not just me.

    I am glad your having a better experience in the Franklin line.

    cheers, Ken

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