General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Equilibria

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Paraphrasing Poftak:

The train was last inspected June 23, 2021. A sill fell off the train, and all cars have been inspected for loose sills. Sills are not essential to the function of the train, but cover parts that do.

The motorman led evacuations, but a few people took it upon themselves through self-evacuation through 4 windows.
I know you're not the one saying this, but... um... it sure seems like sills are essential for the safe functioning of the train.
 

bigpicture7

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I know you're not the one saying this, but... um... it sure seems like sills are essential for the safe functioning of the train.
That statement struck me similarly. It's like saying "the roadway's guardrail is not essential for the safe functioning of the roadway's pavement." Sure...but such a claim is fairly irrelevant when the integrated system is the thing whose safety we care about.
 

Equilibria

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That statement struck me similarly. It's like saying "the roadway's guardrail is not essential for the safe functioning of the roadway's pavement." Sure...but such a claim is fairly irrelevant when the integrated system is the thing whose safety we care about.
An airplane's in-flight entertainment system isn't "essential", except for when it causes the passengers to burn alive and the plane to crash...

 

greenlinetobrooklyn

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The person jumping is apparently fine - she refused to get into the boat that responded, swam to shore, and walked away.
absolute tangent, but what is the water quality of the Mystic? I have no qualms about swimming in the Charles as long as it hasn't rained recently and I don't have to touch the bottom, but thinking about swimming in the Mystic gives me the heebee jeebies
 

Stlin

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absolute tangent, but what is the water quality of the Mystic? I have no qualms about swimming in the Charles as long as it hasn't rained recently and I don't have to touch the bottom, but thinking about swimming in the Mystic gives me the heebee jeebies
Mystic+R+Watershed+Water+Quality+20211024_1+cropped.jpg

The resolution on this is terrible, as the EPA website at time of posting appears down, but it looks like the Mystic overall gets a B+ for water quality, but the Malden river right by the bridge is a C-.

 

F-Line to Dudley

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Paraphrasing Poftak:

The train was last inspected June 23, 2022. A sill fell off the train, and all cars have been inspected for loose sills. Sills are not essential to the function of the train, but cover parts that do.

The motorman led evacuations, but a few people took it upon themselves through self-evacuation through 4 windows.
From the first-hand reports from passengers (you can find them on the /r/Boston thread) it sounds like there was no intercom so the "self evacuating" passengers got started fleeing the train before the motorperson had a chance to take control of the situation.

If you put passengers in a car full of smoke with no intercom announcement, you have to expect they're going to start taking matters into their own hands for good or ill.

The person jumping is apparently fine - she refused to get into the boat that responded, swam to shore, and walked away.
"Not essential" crap falling off trains and igniting themselves and the train...PLUS no working intercoms for the evac. That's doubleplusbad. The NTSB is going to have a field day with this one.


Poftak's a goner under the next Gov., right? He's one of Baker's ex-Pioneer Institute lackeys, and I'm guessing the next occupant of the corner office is going to want to run far far away from that element. Certainly the guy's spin job is the kind of low effort you'd expect from someone whose job status is a terminal condition.
 

OldColony

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Holy shit, apparently someone jumped in the river??

(Not commenting on whether the fire was “bad enough” to warrant that reaction per se, but the fact that someone was that panicked about it is a huge problem — the T has a responsibility to ensure that passengers feel reasonably safe.)
Riverside's comment is spot on. Ignoring the completely irrelevant water quality question, someone felt jumping from a high bridge into the river of unknown depth was the better option.

Meanwhile, passengers in the lead car busted open windows to escape. Gaslighter MBTA general manager Poftak states the motorman led the evacuation. I hope that was the case. If not, how did the passengers know whether or not the third rail was still live?

Where is the flipping management accountability for the public's safety? You're not going to get that from Poftak. Nor from Gov. Baker. His comments are reported here, from an interview today on Boston Public Radio.

Another gaslighter, Rep. William Straus on the legislature's joint transportation committee has recently questioned whether the MBTA should be abolished and management of services rolled into MassDOT. Would accountability be any better under MassDOT management?

I hope the Federal Transit Administration jumps ugly on this incident.
 

KentXie

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The MBTA has been a shitstain for years and I'm glad that this is finally coming to light. I've lost faith in the MBTA to be able to run a transit system competently the day a disabled Silver Line at South Station was enough to shut the whole Seaport Silver Line down. Maybe actual change and accountability will happen (but I won't hold my breath)
 
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bigpicture7

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notthemonthaugust

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"Not essential" crap falling off trains and igniting themselves and the train...PLUS no working intercoms for the evac. That's doubleplusbad. The NTSB is going to have a field day with this one.


Poftak's a goner under the next Gov., right? He's one of Baker's ex-Pioneer Institute lackeys, and I'm guessing the next occupant of the corner office is going to want to run far far away from that element. Certainly the guy's spin job is the kind of low effort you'd expect from someone whose job status is a terminal condition.
I read in one article (can't recall where) that Poftak was quoted as saying something like "this isn't the service that the MBTA hopes to provide." I couldn't help but laugh when I read that.
 

Lrfox

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Poftak's a goner under the next Gov., right? He's one of Baker's ex-Pioneer Institute lackeys, and I'm guessing the next occupant of the corner office is going to want to run far far away from that element. Certainly the guy's spin job is the kind of low effort you'd expect from someone whose job status is a terminal condition.
Oh absolutely, and he knows it. The Gov appoints the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary will spearhead senior leadership changes (with the approval of the Governor, of course). The more troubled the agency, the deeper the changes usually go. Given the shitstorm the next administration is walking into with the T, I imagine there will be big changes and the GM will be among the first. It's low hanging fruit for a new Gov. (especially when there's a change in party). It'd be bad optics if there wasn't a change at that position.

The thing that gets me about the spin job is that there's a team of people that these comments went through before being made public. And considering the high profile of the incident, the comments likely had to be reviewed by the Gov's press team (as well as the Secretary's) first. A lot of eyes saw this stuff and it still went public.
 

Badusername

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Oh absolutely, and he knows it. The Gov appoints the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary will spearhead senior leadership changes (with the approval of the Governor, of course). The more troubled the agency, the deeper the changes usually go. Given the shitstorm the next administration is walking into with the T, I imagine there will be big changes and the GM will be among the first. It's low hanging fruit for a new Gov. (especially when there's a change in party). It'd be bad optics if there wasn't a change at that position.

The thing that gets me about the spin job is that there's a team of people that these comments went through before being made public. And considering the high profile of the incident, the comments likely had to be reviewed by the Gov's press team (as well as the Secretary's) first. A lot of eyes saw this stuff and it still went public.
I know the Healey campaign has been pretty light on specifics, but are there any ideas of who would (or should) be picked for Sec. of Transportation? Jim Aloisi again?
 
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Lrfox

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I know the Healey campaign has been pretty light on specifics, but are there any ideas of who would (or should) be picked for Sec. of Transportation? Jim Aloisi again?
I have no idea. It'll be interesting to see who the pick ends up being. Considering the current state of the T, I would guess Healey would want to go with someone new (maybe someone who has overseen a highly regarded system somewhere else) rather than someone who has been in the MassDOT seat before. But who knows?
 
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bakgwailo

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I have no idea. It'll be interesting to see who the pick ends up being. Considering the current state of the T, I would guess Healey would want to go with someone new (maybe someone who has overseen a highly regarded system somewhere else) rather than someone new rather than someone who has been in the MassDOT seat before. But who knows?
One would hope they would look internationally for that.
 

Java King

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Richard L. Taylor's Biography (thehistorymakers.org)

How about someone with the same name for the position again? LOL I used to live in Newton and I would get voice messages and phone calls for Richard and Kathy. I actually had their number handy so I could give it to the callers. (All were extremely nice.) The voice messages were funny. "Hello Richard, I've reserved a court for us at the club, and I hope you and Kathy can make it." Yeah...........that is certainly NOT me, the least of which is that I would never have a Kathy but rather a Kurt. LOL

I've also recently been tagged on LinkedIn for spearheading developments in Roxbury. I find that pretty amusing but also awesome.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone who could do the long-term needs thinking AND had the ability to slap lawmakers into actually fixing things? We always get the same thing: ineffective demi-wonk appointees consistently choking back high volume truths, then singing the polically savvy ‘must balance the budget’ song, ultimately disguising their cowardice as fiscal responsibility.
In my lifetime I can’t think of any leader who wasn’t a weak-withered supply-sider. We’ve inbred a multi-generational revenue wasting sickness that saps our infrastructural bones. We have fiscal rickets.

We again tried to let the rising tide lift all boats (or in this case, trains). It didn’t. Our reality requires higher capital gains and estate taxes, but we’ll likely have to settle for deficit spending or a bundle of bond issues if we’re lucky. Either way, the checks need to be written.
Now.

We need to sack up and build out! No more Baker-esque milquetoast middling. There is work to be done.
 

KCasiglio

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I know this is highly unlikely but I think picking someone from outside the commonwealth and really empowering them is the only way we’ll see anything close to the necessary institutional culture change. Throw a bucket of money at Janette Sadik-Khan (or a Spaniard, or a German, etc ) and then get out of her way
 

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