MBTA GM: We Need To Communicate Better

BOSTON (CBS) – MBTA General Manager Richard Davey says he hears commuters’ complaints about awful service this winter and promises better communications.

During a taped interview Friday, WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller told Davey the thing that bothers riders the most is communication and the lack of it.

“Ice cold trains, sitting, not moving with no explanation; the LED displays that give no information. What’s the problem and what’s the solution?” Keller asked.

“I think there are some at the T and commuter rail who forget we are moving people. They think we’re moving trains and buses. We’re not. We’re moving people and we have to think about it that way and not everyone does,” Davey said.

“So, you’re right, I think that our customers are very forgiving, or forgiving, when we have issues. They know it’s an aging infrastructure, they know it’s aging vehicles.”

“But they’re not forgiving, nor should they be, if we’re not communicating well.”

Davey also addressed the ongoing complaints with the T’s Alert system not getting information, particularly on commuter rail, out quick enough.

“We’ve dug into that. The reason is because we have two people doing it. We’ve got MBCR, the commuter rail contractor, calling the MBTA and the MBTA putting it out. We’re ending the middle man. MBCR will be doing this directly starting in a couple of weeks. That should help the flow of information for sure.”

Davey also told Keller they’re still honoring the T’s on-time guarantee.

“If your train, bus or commuter rail train is more than 30 minutes late, you can put in for a refund. We are honoring that,” Davey said.

“If you’re a monthly pass holder, all you have to do is indicate that you were on that particular train and, you too, would be honored a refund as well.”

You can apply for the refund on the MBTA’s web site or pick up a form at ticket offices at North Station, South Station or the Back Bay.

You can watch Jon Keller’s entire interview with Davey Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on “Keller at Large” on WBZ-TV.

More from Jon Keller
  • peter998899

    Totally useless article. There is no way the commuter rails should shut down in the snow, rain and ice. And if there are switch and light problems, there are plenty of workers and good communication avenues to use to let trains proceed safely.

    The people who run the trains should be ashamed of themselves for letting the system break as much as this. And the MBTA should be ashamed for installing a communicatino system for millions of dollars that they do not use efficiently and does not work.

  • http://topsy.com/boston.cbslocal.com/2011/02/04/mbta-gm-we-need-to-communicate-better/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention MBTA GM: We Need To Communicate Better « CBS Boston -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WBZ Boston News and Ryan Grannan-Doll, Mike Toole. Mike Toole said: . @mbtaGM promises better communication for riders in interview with @kelleratlarge http://tiny.cc/lhflp #wbz […]

  • Annmarie

    it would be nice if they let the people no the train is cancel
    not 5 min after it going to show up.
    my hubby was trying to get the train in Franklin mass 2 time
    the trains has not been on time at all.
    today was first tine they was on time to pick him up in franklin
    but they should do a better job letting people no in there web page
    if it going to be late or cancel

  • mikey

    ” Aging infrastructure?” That’s putting it mildly. I rode the MBTA a few weeks back, I felt as if I was in a coal mine.

  • linda

    There is as much patronage at the MBTA as there is at the Parole Board. Poor service, no communication, debt up to the sky – the MBTA should just declare bankruptcy like GM did, re-tool, and start over. This time, with employees who need to realize that they are there to provide customer service. They have gotten better, but still have a very long way to go.

    • Tina

      What you need to realize is that the employees are doing the best with what they are given it is up to the company to give them the equipment to operate properly. My husband had been on that job for 20 years and has always given 100 % and maybe the commuters should blame the company and not the people that operate the trains.

  • Kyle Michaels

    How about bringing up the equipment to teh 21st century instead of using trollets that were built in the 70’s & 80’s that keep breaking down. Come on!!!!!

  • FixTheMBTA

    Search “#mbta” on Twitter.com and you’ll see the anger the T has caused their customers every day for the past month. It is good to see that communications are improving and that they are honoring the refunds for late trains. Not processing these refunds in a timely manner will cause insult to injury and amplify this cycle of anger. Richard Davey, show your customers that you mean what you say and process these requests promptly.

  • Santini

    Reading this line makes me shudder..

    “I think there are some at the T and commuter rail who forget we are moving people. They think we’re moving trains and buses. We’re not. We’re moving people and we have to think about it that way and not everyone does,” Davey said.

    We trust these people to bring us to work and home to our families every day? There is something seriously wrong here.

  • JoeM

    That’s it???? What about better SERVICE in addition to better communications?!?

    While it’s nice that I get an email 10% of the time that my train is delayed 15 minutes, it would be even better if the email never had to be sent. Frequent delays with or without bad weather, poorly shoveled and salted platforms, conductors who don’t bother opening both doors on the commuter rail. Half the time they don’t even take tickets, which puts them even further in the hole.

    The MBTA has got to do better.

  • Fitchburg Rider

    Eastern Massachusetts has been struck by twin disasters: the MBTA and MBCR.

    Time to mobilize the National Guard.

  • john

    mr.davey…like your service …you too suck

  • Julian Wang

    So, no one has ever thought, has ever even wanted to privatize the MBTA? Well, maybe it could just be worse, but just throwing that out there.

  • bljo

    The T has been absolutely horrible the last month – especially. But let’s be clear – the T has service problems 12 months a year, not just when it snows, or its cold. Frequently, the Orange Line trains arriving at Sullivan are too full to board – all year long. I would pay double what I pay now for the T if I knew that would ensure frequent, on-time, and clean service, on modern equipment, with accurate and timely communication. Sadly I don’t see that happening in my lifetime – and I am young.

    Good job MBTA! I am going back to driving.

  • Kaz

    It’d be nice to see an expose detailing the REASON why the MBTA service is so bad. It’s not how the employees treat people. It’s the debt from the Big Dig that never should have been given to the MBTA just to make the state’s ledger clean and the lack of funding (in the form of declining sales tax income) that keeps the MBTA as “working poor” as most Americans these days just trying to pay credit card bills…except the MBTA didn’t even run up their credit card, the state did!

  • Kaz

    Search for “Born Broke” from the MBTA Advisory Board. It’s a report that came out in April 2009 and got next to no coverage from our press. It details exactly how the MBTA is like no other comparable transit authority in the amount of debt it’s saddled with and the moronic funding system put in place back in 1999-2000 that projected the sales tax in the state to only keep going up and up and up!

    The press should have been following up on that for the past 2 years to shame the state into fixing our transit system instead of ignoring it to focus on casinos and other hare-brained schemes.

    If you want a functional transit system, then it’s time to fix the mistakes of our past and put the MBTA back on the state’s books with the kind of funding it needs for both maintenance AND upgrades.

  • taxpayerwholaughs

    The MBTA really is a joke, the worst service you can imagine. I can only speak about the Providence line commuter rail. Unsafe cars, overpacked, no safety equipment, Snow…forget it..late or never even shows up with no notice, If they cannot handle the snow in New England …then lets find someone who can. They want to add another line to New Bedford area..they cannot take care of the lines they have now. Why should the taxpayers pay Billions of dollars for a new line which would only bring 50 to 100 additional riders..come on people..this agency is a joke

  • All aboard...

    next stop ” the Chechen Republic “

  • Emily

    I know the MBTA has lots of problems, but I truly believe Richard Davey cares ,very much , truly listens to the riders, and relates to the problems and does work to help better for the sytem.

  • Amy D.

    Workers on the green line need to stop chatting away while people are waiting the cold for a train. For example, today, I made it to Lechmere on time to catch my 3 o’clock train home. I stood on the green line train for TWENTY minutes with no explanation. I missed my train. Signal problems shouldn’t happen or they should be fixed before rush hour traffic starts.

    Thirty minute stops on the commuter rail while waiting for other trains to pass should not happen. For example, yesterday afternoon. The 4:30 train to Haverhill, was stopped for almost a half hour, while waiting for trains to pass. Trains that should have already passed.

    Fix this. There is no need for these delays when people have to get home to their families.

  • Fitchburg Rider

    Isn’t it funny how all these “signal” problems seem to vanish on Saturdays and Sundays?

    Perhaps the signal gremlins take weekends off…

  • Stacey B.

    No more excuses! Boston is a City that has more problems with buses and trains than anywhere else I know. Even the Hudson and Hartford lines in New York don’t break down or just fail to show up at their scheduled times. The NYC subways that run for 24 hours are always available and in my two years of commuting to NYC from Rye NY, I only once had a problem, due to a Hurricane that tore down trees and wires on the tracks (but the train was still running, at a slower speed) and that was it! If NYC Metro & NYC can meet the needs of its customers, the MBTA should be able to. No more excuses MBTA!

  • taxedout

    As long as the guy in the second trolly being pulled only job is to open and close doors, high pensions and don’t retired workers get a pass on the T??? Maybe after a 100 years they might save few few buicks to buy state of the art switches, track cleaners etc with a fare Increase all the time!!!! Privatize this dog, along with Massport and thier 90 to 100K a year parking attendents!!!! We have cut to the bone!!!!



  • Anonymous

    Dear Jon Keller

    How come the question isn’t asked to Mr. Davey if he thinks his position as the general manager of the mbta is a conflict of interest seeing he is the ex general manager of MBCR and probably a share holder. Mr. Davey’s claim to fame as general manager of MBCR was improving on time performance, when all he actually did was increase the schedule time of the trains in order not to have to pay the fines for being late. I’m sure all this was done with the help of Mr.james oleary

  • chickenparm

    No wonder why the commuter rail is a joke. MBCR has had 7 GM’s since
    July 2003. One of them was Rich Davey..hmmm

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