Watertown Town Council weighs in on bus service issues

The Watertown Town Council has transmitted a letter to the MBTA expressing concerns and offering collaboration for service improvement.

Letter to MBTA, 03-20-2014

Representatives Hecht and Lawn and I have been in close contact with the Town Council. In addition to 71 and 73 issues, the council is also concerned about the 70 and the probability of additional development along Arsenal Street.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

6 replies on “Watertown Town Council weighs in on bus service issues”

  1. Hello,

    In riding bus 71 today (9/18/2014), I couldn’t help but notice that bus numbers 4113, 4105, and 4123 (I forget the order) passed the Hosmer school area within a few minutes of each other.

    I took the first bus which was absolutely packed followed by a second bus (for at least a couple of miles prior to Hosmer) that had all of ~4 people on it. In fact our bus was so ‘slow’ because of the number of people on the bus, the second bus driver had our bus driver stop to take the bus off the power line which took another ~5 minutes so that the second bus could pass. Essentially, that bus penalized those people even further that had waited longer for a bus to arrive. There was also no thought of switching some of the folks while we stopped to the second bus to perhaps encourage efficiency in having an express bus to Watertown square (which by the way would not have included me).

    I didn’t happen to see how many people were on the third bus but there definitely could not have been more than a handful.

    Classmates of mine in business school did an assessment of the Green ‘C’ line over 20 years ago and found the variation of trolley’s leaving was highly inconsistent at best. The primary reason was the fact trolley drivers relied upon their watches to determine when to leave. Needless to say, time synchronization did not occur and trolley drivers would forget to check their watch to leave on a timely basis. The inconsistency and inefficiency of the bus system makes me wonder if things have changed at all in 20 years.

    These are questions and analyses that the private sector is absolutely required to do. With the exception of the ‘T’ message boards indicating the pending arrival of trains, I have never seen any type of innovation in the delivery model and yet continue to see abysmally inefficiency and service variation.

    I would be extremely curious to see the MBTA look at these three buses (numbers 4113, 4105, and 4123) within the time frame of 2:15 – 3:15 pm on 9/1/2014 to provide an assessment. I think if the MBTA is unwilling or unable to provide such analysis with legitimate explanations, this is the absolute primary reason such problems exist in the first place.

    Accountability to ridership should be priority one.

    Thank you for working on this issue.

    1. Don. I’m sure you are right!

      We are hoping to put some hard data together on this bunching problem — we’ve made a lot of progress and are collecting the T’s data feeds for the 71 and should have more information to report on the problem within a week or two.

      1. Thank you for the response Senator Brownsberger.

        However, the MBTA should be able to respond within 24 hours what the policy is regarding stopping a bus enroute so that another bus with all of 4 people on it can proceed to pass a bus crammed with people. The absence of common sense and creative thinking quite frankly is one of the biggest problems. Data is not the issue.

        If your constituents and the MBTA would be interested, I believe a local high school, college, or certainly graduate school could assign a group of students to analyze this problem. I assure you they could come up with solutions before the need to analyze any data.

        My graduate school classmates provided plenty of data over TWENTY years ago and I would be extremely curious as to how drivers determine when they are supposed to leave for their route.

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