Hank Investigates: T Time
What a mess! It's the North Shore morning rush. Hundreds of commuters this December morning, and some barge takes out the bridge. The train from Beverly isn't taking anyone anywhere.
"I'm already late."
Riders clamber onto buses and must be used to it. T figures show 286 times last year a Newburyport/Rockport line train was cancelled or more than 30 minutes late!
Think that's bad? One line is even worse!
We obtained the stats for commuter rail service in 2007 to find which lines had the biggest delays.
And the Worcester/Framingham line is the worst. Numbers show last year 583 times trains were cancelled, or more than a half hour late.
"I'm not happy, it's very frustrating."
Rounding out the top five with the last year's longest delays:
The Fairmount line: 182 times. The Haverhill line: 201 times. And on the Franklin/Forge Park line last year 225 times passengers waited more than 30 minutes.
But we found something surprising: many super-delayed passengers apparently don't know they can get paid for being late!
Look: The T offers a guarantee: if your service, even one way, is cancelled or delayed more than 30 minutes you can get a round trip refund. And that could be worth 15 dollars!
Here on the Worcester/Framingham line the leading line for delays we found riders are getting even.
On 80 percent of the late trains passengers demanded refunds.
"I've been riding the last two weeks on my refunds."
But we calculate tens of thousands of passengers are losing out. About half the time, on the Haverhill, Franklin and Fairmount late trains eligible commuters did not apply for reimbursement!
Hank Phillippi Ryan
"Have you ever put in for a refund?"
"No, I haven't."
And most people on the Needham and Lowell lines didn't either.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
"Why don't people do it?"
Joe Pesaturo, MBTA
"Hank, if you know the answer to that, let me know."
The T does say it publicizes the refund policy, here's their website. But we searched stations for the info posters we just couldn't find them. At all. T officials admitted they were mistakenly taken down! Now the general manager's ordered them back up in every station.
Remember, the on time guarantee goes for bus and T-riders too.
Click here for information on how to file an "on time guarantee" train:
This excel spreadsheet, provided by the MBTA, under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, contains the records for trains more than 29 minutes late or canceled in 2007:
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