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Hope springs eternal for Commuter riders

Angry Commuter Rail customers stranded on freezing cold platforms during January’s snowstorms can look forward to something beside spring.  

Angry Commuter Rail customers stranded on freezing cold platforms during January’s snowstorms can look forward to something beside spring.

MBCR, the private company that manages the Commuter Rail, presented state and MBTA officials with a plan yesterday to improve service during winter storms. In addition to running reduced storm schedules, the system’s frustratingly unreliable T Alerts will be improved.

“Everybody in the organization is frustrated by the lack of communication with customers,” Secretary of Transportation Jeff Mullan said. “People should see large-scale communication improvements in the beginning of March.”

Currently, T employees sending alerts and LED sign updates rely on the Commuter Rail to inform them about delays.

“We’re going to give [MBCR] the tools on the T Alerts to do that themselves,” MBTA GM Rich Davey said. “That’s already under way.”

MBCR called its performance “unacceptable” but noted that 45 percent of delays in January were the direct result of weather.

“The weather ... revealed the vulnerability of a system that relies on aging locomotives and passenger coaches, many which are over 20 years old,” MBCR said in a statement. “In short, the weather in January and early February created tremendous fatigue on equipment, employees and customers.

“MBCR expects the initiatives unveiled today will help return commuter rail service to normal levels.”

 
 
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