Reasonable Transit Pitches

Riverside

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So, this has probably already been discussed plenty of times - with F-List explaining why its a bad idea. But I’ll ask anyway: could we extend service south from Foxboro, down to Mansfield and maybe as far south as Providence?
Coincidentally, almost a year ago to the day, I wrote about this very idea. In my opinion, it's unlikely to be worth it, except perhaps for serving a reverse-commute market to Providence. The big issue is travel time (in my opinion):

At best, running largely non-stop, a train from Foxborough Patriot Place takes 45 minutes to get to South Station. Tack on another 5 minutes to travel to Mansfield, and your travel time from Mansfield to South Station clocks at 50 minutes. By contrast, a mid-day local from Mansfield via the NEC, stopping everywhere including Canton Junction and Hyde Park, clocks in at 44 minutes. Pre-pandemic, the morning expresses from Mansfield -- making about as many stops as the 45-minute Foxborough Express -- clocked at 36 and even 31 minutes on the timetable.

(A Foxborough Local, pre-pandemic, was timetabled at 55 minutes, which would make it an even hour from Mansfield.)

60 minute local/50 minute express vs 44 minute local/36 minute express -- in both cases, traveling via Foxborough adds about 37% to your travel time.
The only way I see it working is if Mansfield ratchets up the TOD around the station to the max, but even then it's a long-shot.
 

DominusNovus

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Coincidentally, almost a year ago to the day, I wrote about this very idea. In my opinion, it's unlikely to be worth it, except perhaps for serving a reverse-commute market to Providence. The big issue is travel time (in my opinion):



The only way I see it working is if Mansfield ratchets up the TOD around the station to the max, but even then it's a long-shot.
I was actually thinking strictly for events at Gillette. Anyone who wants to beat the traffic going north has the option, but going south, they don’t.
 

Riverside

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Historically, the "Train to the Game" did actually have two services -- one from Boston, and one from Providence. I'm not sure if the most recent iteration had both services. Plus, there definitely have been events that the trains did not run to.

EDIT: The service is not called "Train to the Game" -- that's an MTA term from NYC. I don't think we had a "brand name" for it. See details here: https://www.mbta.com/destinations/gillette-stadium
 

bakgwailo

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Returning to the topic of "business class on the commuter rail" (as discussed back on page 93 etc), I learned from yesterday's Miles In Transit video that the CapeFlyer added a "first class" to the trainset. To my eyes, amenities aside, the biggest difference is the new seats. If there ever is going to be a business class on the commuter rail, I imagine it'll look something like that.

I wonder what that coach (with the refitted seats) will be used for now that the season is over.
Well, that seems a rather... underwhelming "first-class" experience. Also, that table at the end is kind of funny of the train vs. bus as far as trip time and the number of daily trips. Kind of crazy that the bus is a full hour faster than the train (at least on schedule).

Outside of the CapeFlyer, I kind of have a hard time imagine a business class product working on the Commuter Rail (as things are today). Not against it; but I just don't see the market for it given the current high prices of the CR. Are there really enough people who would fork out even more money on top of their monthly $200-$426 monthly passes? It works on Amtrak (Acela vs Regional) as most of that is getting expensed (and thus why not spend more for the Acela, it's on the company's dime), not sure if the business really would be OK expensing the daily commute as an upsell, though.
 

Brattle Loop

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Outside of the CapeFlyer, I kind of have a hard time imagine a business class product working on the Commuter Rail (as things are today). Not against it; but I just don't see the market for it given the current high prices of the CR. Are there really enough people who would fork out even more money on top of their monthly $200-$426 monthly passes? It works on Amtrak (Acela vs Regional) as most of that is getting expensed (and thus why not spend more for the Acela, it's on the company's dime), not sure if the business really would be OK expensing the daily commute as an upsell, though.
While I tend to agree with your analysis, when thinking about pre-Covid times I do find myself wondering if a business class specifically with reserved (and therefore guaranteed) seating might have been popular on some of the busiest trains (I'm particularly thinking about the monster Providence trains that turned into zoos whenever there was a shortage of bilevels). Not sure that it would be popular enough on enough trains/routes to justify the double difficulties of limiting consists and managing seat reservations/assignments, but it's at least an area where there could be a market. (If I recall correctly, guaranteed seating used to be a selling point of Amtrak's business class on the NEC before the Northeast Regionals went all-reserved.)
 

DominusNovus

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Historically, the "Train to the Game" did actually have two services -- one from Boston, and one from Providence. I'm not sure if the most recent iteration had both services. Plus, there definitely have been events that the trains did not run to.

EDIT: The service is not called "Train to the Game" -- that's an MTA term from NYC. I don't think we had a "brand name" for it. See details here: https://www.mbta.com/destinations/gillette-stadium
Huh, I just assumed it didn’t go down to Providence at all, for reasons. This is great! A pitch so reasonable, they didn’t just do it in the past, but they kept doing it!
 

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