Thursday, February 12, 2015

Senate Republican Caucus Urges Gov. Baker to Take Public Transportation Action

Today the Senate Republican Caucus distributed the following press release regarding a letter the caucus sent to Governor Baker urging him to take action on the issues currently hampering the state’s public transportation system:

Senate Republican Caucus Urges Gov. Baker to Take Public Transportation Action

Caucus Stands with the Administration in Seeking Solutions

Boston- Expressing concern of the current state of the Commonwealth’s public transportation system, the Senate Republican Caucus sent a letter to Governor Charlie Baker today to urge him to take the necessary steps in improving Massachusetts’ public transportation system.

“These past few weeks of arctic cold temperatures coupled with abnormal amounts of precipitation have stressed the need for further action to prevent the type of commuter gridlock that has prevented so many from receiving a timely commute to work, home, and other important destinations,” wrote the caucus.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Assistant Minority Leader Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), Senate Minority Whip Donald Humason (R-Westfield), Assistant Minority Whip Ryan Fattman (R-Webster) and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth) the Ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, highlighted several issues currently plaguing the public transportation system within their letter. Those issues include:

  • A lack of timely communications to inform passengers of delays, cancellations, and diversions;

  • A failure of Keolis to fulfill a lengthy list of promised service improvements, e.g., on time performance, equipment performance, safety, customer service, customer satisfaction, ridership growth, etc.;

  • The failure of a strong working relationship between Keolis and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA); and

  • The purchase of different types of equipment (locomotives, coaches, and control cars) throughout the years from different manufacturers, preventing the formation of a fleet of standardized equipment, which now requires additional training, maintenance and inventory issues and challenges.
“With ridership currently falling over the past decade, an aging infrastructure that has been pieced together through the years, and costs continuing to skyrocket to operate the nation’s oldest public transportation system, we stand with you in exploring methods to ensure the types of adverse issues that have prohibited timely commutes are stymied,” wrote Senate Republicans.

The senators are optimistic that Governor Baker and the legislature can work cooperatively to bring a cost effective, world class transportation system that commuters can depend on through reforms to address their concerns.

“We urge you to take all necessary action in improving Massachusetts’ public transportation system.  The Commonwealth depends on a system that delivers a world class service to commuters, and we are dedicated in working with you to ensure the people of this state receive such a system,” wrote the caucus.


* Posted below is the letter sent today by the Senate Republican Caucus to Governor Charlie Baker.