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Old 12-22-2014, 01:22 PM
 
Location: The Moon
1,717 posts, read 1,807,780 times
Reputation: 1919

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parsec View Post
As unreliable as the commuter rail is, buses and subways are even more unreliable....


....I take the Worcester train daily and it's only been more than 5-10 min late about a dozen times in the past 3 years.

Just to point out, the commuter rail is much less reliable in terms of mean miles between failures as well as on time performance. The Worcester line isn't as bad as some others, namely Rockport and Fitchburg. But as a whole, the rail is at 85% on time performance while the Red is 95%.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
5,037 posts, read 6,923,971 times
Reputation: 5961
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgang239 View Post
Just to point out, the commuter rail is much less reliable in terms of mean miles between failures as well as on time performance. The Worcester line isn't as bad as some others, namely Rockport and Fitchburg. But as a whole, the rail is at 85% on time performance while the Red is 95%.
In all fairness the metrics between the two modes are totally different. The commuter rail follows a set schedule and the Red Line metric is that trains leave with an interval of at most 1.5x the expected interval. If you're only travelling by Red Line that's a reasonable metric, but if you're commuting via subway and commuter rail, the most important metric is that the red line gets to South Station within a set time period from when you reach the station. There are many times that the Red Line trains are stacked up and they'll leave reasonably frequently but take forever to get where you're going. By the MBTA metric that's considered on-time performance, even though from a practical standpoint it's not that useful.

The end result is that someone commuting by both red line and commuter rail is that you have to leave a pretty big window on the red line -> commuter rail leg or risk missing your train entirely and having to wait 45 minutes or longer for the next one. If you can avoid transfers you'll be much happier.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:45 PM
 
Location: The Moon
1,717 posts, read 1,807,780 times
Reputation: 1919
You are correct, just kindly pointing out an error. I agree that avoiding transfers is best, as is avoiding walking from North Station to South Station. But to say that the Commuter Rail is more reliable is incorrect.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:15 PM
 
Location: 42°22'55.2"N 71°24'46.8"W
4,848 posts, read 11,812,501 times
Reputation: 2962
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgang239 View Post
You are correct, just kindly pointing out an error. I agree that avoiding transfers is best, as is avoiding walking from North Station to South Station. But to say that the Commuter Rail is more reliable is incorrect.
Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't mean "reliable" in a technical sense, but rather a practical sense. I know the commuter rail will show up within a reasonable period of time and get me to work or back to my car in the suburbs. But I will often be waiting on the platform at DTX trying to get to North Station and watch 3 trains pass by in 15 minutes completely full, then wait another 10 minutes for the next train, then another 5 min to North Station just in time to see my commuter rail train leave the platform without me.
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:51 PM
 
Location: The Moon
1,717 posts, read 1,807,780 times
Reputation: 1919
And there been times where I've had to wait at the Lincoln train station for an extra 35 minutes to catch a train. I'm not trying to disprove anyone's anecdotes but just pointing out the fact that statistically the commuter rail is less reliable. Transfers (including from an automobile) will make any mode of transportation less reliable. As someone pointed out earlier the metrics are different on the subway. For example if a red line train is due every five minutes, but you see three pass by your station and catch the fourth within 5 minutes you are still on time

I apologize for derailing the thread. This data is all publicly available if anyone wants to investigate further.

Last edited by wolfgang239; 12-22-2014 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:07 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
5,037 posts, read 6,923,971 times
Reputation: 5961
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgang239 View Post
And there been times where I've had to wait at the Lincoln train station for an extra 35 minutes to catch a train. I'm not trying to disprove anyone's anecdotes but just pointing out the fact that statistically the commuter rail is less reliable. Transfers (including from an automobile) will make any mode of transportation less reliable. As someone pointed out earlier the metrics are different on the subway. For example if a red line train is due every five minutes, but you see three pass by your station and catch the fourth within 5 minutes you are still on time

I apologize for derailing the thread. This data is all publicly available if anyone wants to investigate further.
The point is that the statistic doesn't match up with the perception of reliable. That's a fault of the statistics and the schedules being different. Since the statistics are tabulated so differently direct comparison of the two is not advisable.

Anecdotally, the red line causes problems in my commute more frequently but the commuter rail failures are generally more catastrophic. That could be completely consistent with the MBTA statistics because they are tabulated so differently from each other. I think it might also be a factor that "causes problems" takes on a different meaning because of the vastly different nature of the services.

Sorry for continuing the tangent, but hopefully this convinces the OP that South Station bound trains are the better choice.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:06 AM
 
Location: 42°22'55.2"N 71°24'46.8"W
4,848 posts, read 11,812,501 times
Reputation: 2962
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrandom View Post

Sorry for continuing the tangent, but hopefully this convinces the OP that South Station bound trains are the better choice.
Actually, did the OP say where he will be working? I think I just saw "downtown Boston". If he works at the Northern part of the financial district at Exchange Place for example, he has the flexibility of choosing either North or South Station. But in general, South Station is better for most office buildings including the Financial District, Downtown Crossing and Back Bay (in case he switches jobs).
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
5,037 posts, read 6,923,971 times
Reputation: 5961
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHguy View Post
All,

Anyone have experience relocating to within commuting distance of downtown Boston? I live in Merrimack NH. Am in the final interview stages with a company located close to South Station. If I get it, I'll have to move because of the commute.
These things get lost on long threads with tangents (and tangents are usually the most informative part of any thread), but the OP will be near south station.

Another advantage of southern commuter rail lines is easier access to Back Bay. My wife started near South Station and moved to Back Bay and we didn't have to move. Not sure if that's applicable to the OP but there's significant overlap between the two areas in terms of job profiles.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:54 AM
 
71 posts, read 171,489 times
Reputation: 104
Ashland fits your criteria and budget. Natick also, budget-wise (probably more budget friendly than Ashland); I don't know about schools, but seems that more families are choosing there, so must be on upswing.
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: 42°22'55.2"N 71°24'46.8"W
4,848 posts, read 11,812,501 times
Reputation: 2962
Quote:
Originally Posted by measured1 View Post
Ashland fits your criteria and budget. Natick also, budget-wise (probably more budget friendly than Ashland); I don't know about schools, but seems that more families are choosing there, so must be on upswing.
You got that backwards. Ashland is more budget-friendly than Natick. Average price of homes sold in November was $293k in Ashland vs $525k in Natick. Pretty big difference there.
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