Legislators ride the T. Will it make a difference?

Yesterday 47 out of 200 state legislators rode some type of MBTA service as part of an advocacy push being called "Gov On The T". Governor Baker is skiing in Utah this week.

The comments from those using Commuter Rail were reflective of the issues we've been dealing with for decades, though unfortunately many seem to take aim at the T as if every problem is simply a management failure. For example:

“Having the message board not reflect the accurate time of the train until just before it was due to arrive is the problem, and it’s a serious problem.”

In other words, "I demand this be fixed. Now, I said!... Reform before revenue!" Even the Transportation Secretary is jumping in on the T bashing:

“Just giving the T money alone is not going to solve the problem,” Pollack said.

No! Money is not the complete answer but it's the first step. There may be a lack of vision and planning within some segments of the T but for the most part our issues are related to inadequate funding and lack of political will to support transit. How much "reform" must we endure before we see adequate revenue?

MBTA management defers to political pressure in other ways too. Whenever a politician complains about something the T works hard to appease them. That's what I'm afraid of now. These same politicians (and riders) who scream about poor transit service never come up with any answers. They just want their people taken care of, at someone else's expense, and only offer more comprehensive studies that will conclude the same thing as the last five comprehensive studies. By that time they hope frustration will subside, it will be summer, and everyone will forget about the snow just like we do every year.

Let's track our representatives to see who didn't ride yesterday and more importantly, see which ones actually support adequate transit funding and decision making. The T can't advocate for itself. That's for all of us. Otherwise Gov On The T was just a photo opportunity and it's back to business as usual.