Monday, November 3, 2014

Waste Watch: WGME Investigates The Downeaster


On tonight’s broadcast, Jon Chrisos of Channel 13 offered his “Waste Watch” report on the Amtrak Downeaster, and in particular, the Portland North extension between Portland and Brunswick.

For some reason, we can’t get the ‘embed’ version of the video clip to import here, so we’re linking you to the location:

Clicking the ‘play’ arrow in the screen capture at the top here won’t do anything.  You’ll have to click on the link in the last paragraph, and endure an ad at the beginning of the video. But tough it out, and you should enjoy it.

We particularly liked the quotes on ridership between Portland and Brunswick, and the shots of the empty seating.  Patricia Quinn, head of NNEPRA, attempted to brush this aside as a consequence of not having an MLF in Brunswick.  Yah, shurrr; that’s it.

Ms. Quinn also doesn’t have much grasp of the concept of a ‘hub’ in transportation.  Here’s a clue: the end of the line is not a ‘hub.’  She talks about wasted expense running empty trains for ‘relocation’ purposes, and not getting any revenue from the movements.  Here’s a clue: maybe she should sell tickets for those runs!

Turns out she’s running near empty trains for revenue purposes as well.  In the same vein, we’re not sure why she never talks about the contract with Brunswick Taxi for running crews back and forth to Portland twice a day, 365 days a year.  We’ve previously estimated that cost at in the range of $200,000 a year, but somehow it never comes up in discussions of the service extension.

As a reader suggested today, one who likes trains, they should just give up on the Brunswick Downeaster run, and substitute a few extra bus trips.

Sorry for the ‘technical’ problem.  We’ll check again in the morning to see if we can get the embed feature to work.

Goodnight for now, you “Princes and Princesses of Maine.”  And no wise cracks and snickering, please, after we turn the lights out, about the “Waist Watch” at Other Side offices.

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