Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Follow-up: Duhhhh on the bus issue

I promised the other day in this post that I would go in search of Bus ridership figures.  And I have.

My first thought was to contact Concord Coach Lines directly, and here is the response I got:

That information is not available to the public. You are welcome to submit your request in writing for individual review.

Thank you

I suppose I might have gotten a better response if I told them I was some sort of muckety-muck, or a grand high poobah, but I didn’t.  So I’ll put on the groveling pads and submit a written request.  Unless I can get one of the aforementioned to intervene on my behalf.  I’ll call Stan about this tomorrow.

I’ll sort that out and keep you posted.  For today, however, I decided to do a little ‘on site’ reporting, so I headed into town to catch 3 of the 4 Bus stops at Maine Street Station.

Before I give you the results of this highly unscientific study, here are a few interesting tidbits to go along with the data:

  • The Downeaster Train from Portland to Boston cannot take you directly to the airport, like the buses from Brunswick and Portland can.  The Buses take you right to your specific airline’s terminal, and pick you up at the same place when you return.  If you take the train to Boston, you have to catch “The T” to take you from the train station to the airport, and then you’ll have to pick up a free shuttle to take you to your terminal.
  • The Downeaster Train from Portland to Boston cannot connect you directly to the Amtrak train running from Boston down to New York and beyond.  Once again, you’ve got to catch “The T” to go from Boston’s North Station to South Station to make that connection.  The Bus, on the other hand can take you to South Station to catch the southbound train.
  • The Bus driver will load and unload your luggage for you.  I’m certain there is no one to do the same for you on the trains.

Here are the results from my one day survey in town.

  1. The first bus of the day was Southbound, and due to depart Brunswick at 10:25am.  It arrived late, and left about a half hour late for Portland.  Not a single person got off the bus when it arrived, and six people boarded in Brunswick, all with luggage indicating they were off on a serious trip.  Five were headed to Logan Airport.



2.  The second bus of the day was also Southbound, originating in Brunswick.  Two people got on the bus, each with travel luggage.  So that’s the total load to Portland, departing at 2:45pm.

3.   The third bus of the day was Northbound, and was about 15 minutes late arriving in Brunswick (due at 2:35pm.)  While I couldn’t see clearly, I’d guess there were 8-10 people tops on the bus.  One person got off in Brunswick with luggage, and one person got on in Brunswick with luggage.

I didn’t have enough dedication to meet the 6:50pm Northbound bus arrival in Brunswick, but I can’t imagine it would measurably change the impression gleaned from the other three stops.

At this juncture in the day, I’m a bit weary, and don’t want to dissect and analyze the fare issues.  The convenience factor clearly seems to be on the side of the Buses; our limited study finds Logan Airport to be the primary reason for travel, which you would expect.

I’ll take a look at the fares and ‘value’ aspects in subsequent posts.

Oh….and one more thing; what about the effect a train coming to  Brunswick will have on the economics and viability of the existing Bus service?  Will the jobs added for the train cost jobs at the Bus company?

By current standards, I figure my effort today is worth at least $1,000 in consulting fees.  Would someone please tell me who I should submit my invoice to?

Seriously, folks, I’m getting really angry about how little analysis has been done on the train proposal, and how much the entire situation seems to be driven by ‘don’t worry, we’re the government, and we have unlimited money to make us look good and all of you feel better.’  And, ‘somebody call the media and bring out the cameras.’

There will be more to follow, including thoughts on a $1 million traffic study for the local area.

1 comment:

  1. As a point of further information, if you are taking the train to get to Logan Airport, you cannot get there from here. There is no T stop at Boston's North Station, you would have to walk to Mass General stop or take a taxi.