Saturday, August 25, 2007

A pissed off MBTA rider....

As I've stated at THE Forums @ Transithistory and at the MBTA Rail Operations forum at Railroad.net, I am not quite clear as the public isn't clear on the details of the man who jumped into the Orange Line tracks as was electrocuted... It is a touching situation for myself as I was (sort of) there...
I was taking the Orange Line from Sullivan home to Forest Hills... We get to Community College... we enter the subway portal to North Station. We are going through and then stop all of a sudden. We are standing for about 15 minuites when we switch to 'emergency power' - only about 6 lights are on in the train. (About to get graphic) A bunch of college students (I assume) were laughing at the whole situation and noticed a smell which they said smelled like "burnt chinese food"... Of course, I now know that was an eletrocuted person we were smelling... I made that connection this morning and I can say I've never experienced anything like that...
Anyhow, 30 minuites later we're still inbetween Community and North Station. I was in the last car in the train and I happened to look into the cab before us and see a crowd of people walking with a T official in front of them. I knew what was coming... No one else in the train saw it, but I did... So he comes through the doors and says "we have to evacuate the train". So I wabble myself down the rickety 1981 Hawker-Siddley emergency steps into the subway tunnel...
Now as a railfan, I was happy to actually be in a tunnel! But tripping on debris and my huge fear of rats didn't make it a very pleasant experience. In fact, everyone was tripping and (almost) falling... I understand the situation however...
So we get outside the portal and exit through a gate that led us out of the subway tracks and under I-93, not far from Community College... All 200 of us are confused... and finally a T Police official gathers everyone around and tells us to walk "this way" to reach the buses. We walk that way... and it leads to Bunker Hill Community College's parking lot...
Now if I am correct, MBTA policy mandates that an MBTA official lead the passengers in an emergency... And that certainly didn't happen. We got to this huge parking lot... everyone is confused. We finally congregate at an intersection (not quite sure of the street name but is the entrance to Community College station was not far). Now you have a group of passengers on one side of the intersection, another across the street, another opposite to them and some still in the parking lot. Nobody is sure what the hell is going on and at this point people are jumping in cabs. An hour later, ONE bus (for a six car Orange line train) and an MBTA inspector shows up. They are yelling and being absolutely rude to the passengers who have been inconvienced in the most outrageous way. After being yelled at by the wonderful and courteous people at the MBTA, we are taking to Haymarket to wait for a train for 30 minuites and were able to go on our way. And passengers had to pay AGAIN to get in the system... World class city right?
What I want to know, not only as a railfan... not only as a Boston resident, but as a paying customer to the MBTA and a taxpayer why they are not prepared for emergencies and why are they spending our money for customer service training - (which they clearly not trained) and they are being completely rude to these people - US people who had to go through what we went through. The MBTA did not inform us of anything and sent us into nowhere. I am offended, angry and dissapointed at the MBTA. 110 years and they still can't get it right...
The MBTA did not follow through with their responsibilities for an emergency situation after big talk about what they are doing to improve the customer service side of the authority. And a distraught and angry bus driver (who was probably was angry because he had to put his donut down) and Inspector who clearly have no respect for the customers are not acceptable to us taxpayers.
This shows how incompetent this transit system truly is. They obviously have no training in emergency situations, though they claim to. This seems to be the most basic emergency situation and of course, the MBTA couldn't get it done. And for what I have to pay in fare (as if the MBTA can compare the New York's MTA) and what my tax dollars are going to, I want an explanation. I have to remind myself this is the same transit agency that counts a bus as a rapid transit line (when you paint it silver, that makes it rapid...).
Again, as a taxpayer I want and demand an explanation from the MBTA to why we were treated the way we were and why the training they claim they have undergone wasn't executed.

6 comments:

seashoreCM said...

All these people should have written in for a free fare as a result of being delayed more than 30 minutes plus a free fare to make up for having to pay again to re-enter the system to finish their journey.

sedrik said...

Lighten up buddy. Everyone got out safely, and non one (except the jerk who caused the whole mess) got hurt.

Me said...

Lighten up? Are you kidding? What was described was a horrific failure on the part of the MBTA. Not fatally injuring anyone else is an insultingly low standard to expect. The hostility the passengers were treated was inexcusable and frankly very unsafe. I'm afraid this sounds like the MBTA's emergency response procedure, though. Don't tell riders anything and yell at them for not knowing what's going on and then charge them for the privilege of being treated so poorly.

kellifer said...

let me tell you how unpleasent this really was...because i was on the train going to oak grove that got stuck in the tunnel...first the train starts going abnormaly slow...and slower and slower...then it comes to a dead stop you sit there for a minute or so and then all the power went out ( which means no ac or ventalation) at first it wasnt bad...but it was pretty hot and every one was sweating bullets and then after about 30 minutes people started getting ansy...noone was telling us anything except there was some sort of power outage...and they couldnt tell us how long we would be there...then it gets to about an hour and u just look around and everyones head is down..it got extreamly hard to breath...the air felt very thick....finaly they tell us to get off the train on a very unsafe looking step thing and make us walk throught the tunnel.. mind you i was with one girl who was wearing heals...o so not fun...lol and my 2 other friends triped and one fell on a piece of wood laying there that noone could see because it was dark...after sitting on a train for ovver an hour like that you would expect them to have water for us...no they didnt...they had nothing...not one person apolgized for the trouble...i mean i know the MBTA didnt make the situation but they could have made the whole thing in general better for there passengers....so SEDRIK for you to tell him to lighten up isnt okay because i agree with everything he said

sedrik said...

well, one good things come from incidents like this. the chronic whining from all the self-proclaimed transit experts drowns out the constant 'see something, say something' announcements

Brian said...

One thing you can always count on when the MBTA gets criticized on a blog. Someone obvious MBTA plant will start chastizing everyone for complaining about horrible service. Seriously, you can set your watches to it its so reliable.

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