politics

Podcast 27 - Transportation For Massachusetts (T4MA)

We're joined in the studio by Transportation For Massachusetts (T4MA) staff -- Josh Ostroff, Partnerships Director & Charlie Ticotsky, Policy Director -- to let us know what they do and share recent news on their efforts to secure more funding for transit. Visit t4ma.org or follow them on Twitter @T4MASS. Read about MassDOT's improved but still inadequate Capital Improvement Plan on the T4MA blog.

This episode was recorded on April 5. [Our apologies for the long break, we've been busy advocating for better transit. More shows are in the pipeline. If you're interested in helping with podcast editing and blog posting, please email feedback@transitmatters.info.]

TransitMatters advocates for fast, frequent, reliable and effective public transportation in and around Boston. As part of our vision to repair, upgrade and expand the MBTA transit network, we aim to elevate the conversation around transit issues by offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think: connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña @DigitalSciGuy, or email us here.

Podcast 22 - MBTA Raising Fares Again, Overtime Lies, Challenges and Opportunities

The MBTA fare increase proposals (presentation, summary) are unnecessary and not even helpful in closing the budget gap. This is the latest example to the way the Fiscal & Management Control Board is using misleading statistics to support an ideological agenda that has never worked. What happened to being visionary and taking a fresh look?

Short of major investment -- which is needed more than ever -- many simple changes could improve the user experience and help alleviate capacity constraints. For example:

  1. The transfer policy could allow unlimited use within 2 hours (instead of the current one-transfer limit) to offer new options for shorter trips, increase ridership, reduce congestion downtown and save money.
  2. All-door boarding on buses and trolleys means faster trips, more frequent service, lower fare evasion and operating cost savings.
  3. Expanding Zone 1A on Commuter Rail to all Boston stations as well as Waltham and Lynn would offer fast service for thousands of low-income riders while reducing operating costs.
  4. Many low-cost changes such as upgrading bus stops, stations and terminals would improve service quality and increase ridership.

UPDATE: See our Fares & Service fact sheet (the longer version is here).

All this and more in this week's show, recorded in the WMBR studio at MIT in Cambridge. Marc offers some insights from this year's TransportationCamp DC on how regional governance could address some of our management challenges, and former T General Manager Beverly Scott was there. We hear a little bit from the growing transit advocacy network, as organizations like TransitMatters start to pop up in cities across the country.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews with transit advocates and more. By offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media, we can achieve a useful and effective transportation network because Transit Matters.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think by connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson at @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña at @DigitalSciGuy, and or email us here.

Podcast 12 - MBTA Panel Report

We debate the recent MBTA report (PDF | Globe) commissioned by Governor Baker. Is it accurate? Are it's recommendations sound? What will happen now? Will we find new revenue sources and ways to improve transit, or will riders be forced to pay more for the same lousy service? These questions and many more from your trusted transit enthusiasts.

We'd love to hear what you think of the report. Did one of us get it completely wrong? Send us your questions, comments and ideas for topics or guests  Or share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews and more. We focus on sustainable transportation planning, operations and policies in Boston and beyond. Transit Matters is a joint project of local transit advocates Marc Ebuña, Jeremy Mendelson and Josh Fairchild.

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Looking for more transit content? Check out the redesigned Critical Transit with a full archive of past shows.

Podcast 11 - Transit Polling with Rich Parr of MassINC

MassINC Polling Research Director Rich Parr shares his recent work and perspectives on what people think about the transportation dilemma in Boston. After the MBTA collapsed, a follow-up poll showed a dramatic increase in perceived important of transit, and most people now recognize that the region suffers without good transit. Still nobody can agree on how to fix it, and myths such as wasteful spending and mismanagement continue to lower the discourse.

Scott’s Resignation a Wake Up Call for Massachusetts

Scott’s Resignation a Wake Up Call for Massachusetts

MBTA GM Beverly Scott, PhD, delivered an impassioned speech earlier this week  [Photo via Boston Globe]

We’ve seen it before: the highly qualified leader of a beleaguered transit agency gets fed up with state politics getting in the way of him/her doing his/her job and resigns.

Take Jay Walder, former CEO of Hong Kong MTR, former Managing Director for Finance and Planning of Transport for London, and current CEO of Motivate, the company that manages Hubway. When he resigned as NYC MTA CEO back in 2011, it was not merely to take the job at HK MTR that paid 3 times as much. His resignation followed significant difficulty with indifferent politicians and seemed to be punctuated by his last in-person encounter with Governor Cuomo: getting passed over after travelling to the governor's office. Unlike here where the seat of state government is less than a kilometre away from transit headquarters, Walder had travelled to the capitol 2.5 hours by train upstate to see the governor.

Podcast 05 - Post-Election Roundup | Guest: Walking Bostonian

Podcast 05 - Post-Election Roundup | Guest: Walking Bostonian

The panel is back for a post-election show crush-loaded with over an hour of the latest transportation news and analysis, this time joined by the Walking Bostonian (Matthew Danish) to explain how the theory of induced (travel) demand applies to roads and transit in Boston. We learn about everything from our most frustrating transit line (hint: it's green) to efforts to re imagine a boulevard of death (Commonwealth Ave in Allston & Brighton) to an entirely new neighborhood about to be created in Allston -- if we get it right.

November's show would not be complete without a recap of the election including the repeal of gas tax indexing, speculation on transit's future under Governor Charlie Baker and how we might build on the legacy of the late Mayor Menino.

More after the break...

MBTA Announces 24/7 Service, Promptly Declares Bankruptcy

April Fools

MassDOT and MBTA officials today announced the introduction of 24-hour service at a press conference held at the State Transportation Building. This move came from a recent mandate by state legislation requiring the T operate at all hours of the day. The legislature hopes to reduce the incidence of drunk driving and provide riders extra hours of service to beat delays and get to work on time.