I wrote this letter to the governor just a moment ago and I thought I would share it with all of you in my moment of frustration.
Dear Governor Patrick,
This morning I plopped down $151 of my hard earned dollars for a zone 2 commuter rail pass. This afternoon I got on the train for the ride home. We had hardly left South Station when the lights and the heat went out. We rolled along for a minute and then stopped in the middle of nowhere. After sitting, in the dark, without heat, for several minutes the train finally started moving again. This surprised no one, as it is a regular occurrence on all three of the lines I regularly ride. I called to complain while we sat there, in the cold and in the dark, and was put on hold for even longer than we sat motionless on the train. When she finally came back the woman told me that it would take two weeks to get me a letter explaining why the train I was riding broke down.
Her supervisor, Miss Jordan, explained to me that it would take 14 days because first they had to go through the difficult task of sending an e-mail with my complaint and my request in it. Then the e-mail recipient will have to work extraordinarily hard to find my train in the maintenance log, and compose a simple letter to me. Sealing it and placing it in the mail is the final step in this arduous task. If my boss asked me to look something as simple as that up, and then I told her it would take two weeks for her to get an answer, I would be long fired before that fortnight was over.
It is unfathomable that it should take so long to accomplish such a simple task. The only possible reason I can see for such a delay is that there are so many complaints that the MBTA has a huge backlog. In that case it would be far more productive to put those resources into making the trains run on time than fielding complaints from frustrated commuters like myself. I can understand if there is the occasional delay because of an unforeseeable accident, or if there is a blizzard, but this is a regular pattern of poor service. It even seems to be getting worse, not better.
While paying for my pass this morning I looked over at the poster on the wall and saw that the Fairmount Line, which I ride most often, had only a 58% on time record. I have two questions for you. First, what do you plan to do about the abysmal service I and thousands of other commuters receive every day on the Commuter Rail? Also, please don’t pass the buck to the MBTA as I have already complained to them and plan on sending an e-mail to Daniel Grabauskas as well. You have no problem putting your name on MBTA signs and literature, so I hope we can expect to see some results from you as well. Secondly, since the trains only perform as they should 58% of the time, it seems fair that I should only have to pay 58% of the fare. May I have my $63.42 back, please?