Keller @ Large: MBCR Heads Need To Roll

BOSTON (CBS) – The brass at the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR), the private company hired by the state to run local commuter rail, are apologizing as hard as they can for Monday’s fiasco on the Boston to Worcester line, where passengers were stuck for hours on a disabled train amid overall chaos.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

They can be heard repeating the contrite buzzword we’ve been hearing from them and MBTA officials all winter long about their wretched performance, that it is “unacceptable,” and I can’t argue with that.

But MBCR’s explanation for what happened Monday is also unacceptable.

They admit that the very same engine that broke down and doubled an 80 minute commute had caused delays earlier Monday on that very same route, but in an initial statement yesterday claimed that the engine has been fixed before it was sent out again to torture customers.

Their flack gave out the usual poormouth line, that the problems “reflect the age of the fleet.” But later they admitted that they should never have put that engine back into service, so apparently, the breakdown reflected the incompetence of MBCR staff and management as well.

Public comments on the Globe web site have been scathing.

Wrote one: “These former MBTA managers undertook the contract understanding the age of the fleet…they knew they needed to invest more in maintenance. Now they realize they need to invest more in operations and less in the profits.”

And another wrote: “Does anyone ever have a truly pleasant commute on any form of Boston public transportation?” (OK, the commuter boat isn’t bad.)

Every time I talk with someone in the state transportation hierarchy about MBCR, they either roll their eyes or shake their heads or both.

There’s a problem there, and given the loss of time, income, and even jobs their chronic ineptitude has caused, perhaps its time for some heads to roll.

Or better yet, make the brass ride the Worcester line for the rest of the year. Talk about a fate worse than firing.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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