MBTA forgets riders pre-blizzard

Julianne Holland  Journal Staff

Time and time again the MBTA lets down its commuters. The storm Nemo devastated most of the coast and caused quite some panic for the unfortunate commuters that were forced to brave the blizzard. In addition to all this chaos the MBTA shut down train service at 3:30 p.m. Friday just as the rush hour began.

The blizzard Nemo has been considered the worst the city has seen since the blizzard of ’78: a fact known prior to the storm’s arrival. Nothing could be more imperative than making sure people are safe and at their homes. For those who rely on the MBTA, this was by far its greatest let down. Countless people were stranded in the blizzard desperate for transportation back to their homes. One may think: why didn’t these commuters think ahead and stay home from work or perhaps skip that meeting they have worked months to prepare for? It’s simple; not all have that luxury.

The worst part is that the storm was expected to start around 7 p.m. — if trains were kept running until 5 p.m., people would have a better chance of making it back to their homes. The MBTA website stated, “The suspension of service will so allow MBTA and MBCR personnel to concentrate all of their efforts on getting the transit system from the bus to commuter rail, up and running as soon as possible.” A point made by the Patriot Ledger: “Commuters were not informed when they can expect service to resume.”

In every city there are public transportation challenges, however, there must always be a “plan B.” In New York City there were extra trains running throughout the day to ensure that all commuters made it home safely before the storm hit. Boston was expected to be hit harder than New York City, yet did it not have a plan in play? This is Boston — we experience severe weather every season from raging temperatures and hurricanes to severe snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. It is about time our transit system takes that into consideration next time they do not have a “plan B” or the MBTA can expect a significant drop in the number of its commuters.

The service commuters experienced after the blizzard was also atrocious. After talking with a commuter, it came to my attention that it was not just the subway system — it was also the bus system. In almost every other city it is less than a twenty-minute wait for a bus. What the MBTA lacks is efficiency; and while on any other Boston day commuters are just as annoyed by the MBTA’s incompetence, this prior weekend they were outraged and with good reason.

A suggestion for the MBTA: When there is a blizzard underway, treat your transit system as lifelines to the commuters who rely on you each and every day. Do not shut down before rush hour unless there is no other option. Increase the number of train cars so more people can make it home safely. In the case that the trains are in fact incapable of running, given the conditions, replace them with buses and at all costs do not leave your commuters stranded. If New York City can do it, then we can do it. Thank you.

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