No more passing the buck — fix broken commuter rail system

When the subway breaks down, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has to take the heat from angry passengers. It’s a public agency, and it is accountable to us. When the commuter rail breaks down, nobody seems to take responsibility (“Commuter rail firm has been proud T partner,” Letters, Jan. 15).

The MBTA blames the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. because MBCR runs the trains. MCBR blames the T for providing faulty equipment. The T tries to keep the trains running on time by including a penalty clause in the MBCR contract, but then accepts the excuse that the late trains aren’t MBCRs fault, so the penalties aren’t applied.


This is a broken system, and commuter rail riders deserve better. The T should just run the commuter rail directly, so there’s no passing of the buck. If the agency can’t, then it should present a short contract with a clear expectation that the contract will not be renewed if the winning firm doesn’t provide good service with no excuses.

Ken Olum


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