“With the number of delays caused by the locomotives, if we can give the contractor four, five, six, 10, 14 either new or new-er locomotives that gives them more time to work on the old locomotives in the shop, which is key, and puts more reliable locomotives on the rail.”
Commuter rail has been in the news a lot lately, both fairly and unfairly, Davey says. “It certainly was a tough winter, but for other agencies as well.
“Metro North, all the sister agencies struggled in a variety of ways, as did we, but we ran service.” He continues, “I think overall we did reasonably well or about as well as we could have, with some exceptions.”
He says there are definitely some improvements that MBCR could have made and that there are some customer communication improvements that they have made. After a complete review of their winter performance, they will look at how they position themselves for next year so they are in a better place.
He says, however, that commuter rail carries 10 percent of their ridership, so while that’s important, they’ve got other issues, too. The Orange Line on the heavy rail system has cars that are 31 years old. “Every single one of them,” Davey states. “We have Red Line cars that were built and are in service, they were built in 1969.”
For the commuter side, there are 75 new coaches coming, there’s an investment coming in the next couple years. “We need to shift our attention back to our heavy rail side which does not have that kind of investment coming in the next couple years.” He says, “We have to figure out a way to make investment in the current vehicles and then figure out a way to buy new vehicles in the future.”
The Customer Experience
While Davey is excited about the many projects underway, he says he loves the day-to-day “tinkering.” With so many little things going on, there are a lot of ways they look to make the customer experience easier and better, including rewriting the cleaning contracts, improving the fare media so the Charlie card can be used to park at key stations, and quiet cars. “Those don’t cost very much money or save money, for example, but that can improve our customers’ experience with the MBTA.”