Saturday, April 11, 2009

25 Random Quotes from MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo

1. "Collect every dime we're owed." - 7/2/06 on the goal of the then-new automated fare system.

2. "The free ride is over, so to speak." - 8/23/07 after a computer glitch was discovered that had allowed an unknown number of T riders to board buses and trains for free without reloading their passes for seven months.

3. “If you look around the country most major transit agencies have raised fares and cut service.” - 3/15/2006 justifying fare hikes in 2006.

4. "The number of complaints, compared to the number of rides each day...is tiny.” - 6/1/07 in response to the nearly 13,500 customer complaints from January to April of 2007.

5. "The MBTA felt it was important to further strengthen the integrity of the process." - 7/29/05 speaking of the T's drug-test policy after a T worker testified that a supervisor, in exchange for oral sex, twice tipped off a motorwoman that she was about to be screened.

6. "The tunnels are underground; it's like your basement at home." 2/2/08 explaining why after more than $262 million renovating North Station, water poured in through the ceiling during a storm. No need to worry, he added, "We have a very elaborate drainage system and a lot of pumps."

7. "To expect buses to be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time -- that would be naive." - 11/28/05 responding to charges that up to 40% of MBTA buses on the road shouldn't be. when asked why buses weren't being regularly inspected, he replied: "It's slipping through the cracks."

8. "They are incapable of thinking outside the box.” - 2/23/04 offering his opinion of critics of the silver line, which was originally going to be a rail line, but ended up a bus line instead.

9. "There may have been a medical condition prior to her fall on the escalator." - 2/24/09 after an 82-year-old Dorchester woman was strangled to death when her scarf got caught in an MBTA escalator.

10. “It was found that alcohol was a factor in that accident.” - 3/15/05 after the death-by-escalator of a man at the Porter Square T.

11. "We will continue to remind people who use escalators to use them properly" - 3/15/05 after attributing two escalator incidents, one of which resulted in the death of a customer to "human error," by which he presumably meant on the part of the humans using the escalators at the time.

12. "Very few in the nation do." - 2/25/09 when asked if the escalator at the State Street Station has any mechanism that forces it to shut down if anything gets caught.

13. "The MBTA is not developing plans for a fare increase." - 3/6/08.

14. "The T barely has the resources to operate existing services, never mind adding additional services." - 3/29/09 dismissing calls for 24-hour bus service.

15. "While blogs come and go, people will always be able to present comments and concerns directly to the T's Customer Support Services." - 2/16/07 a couple days after MBTA GM Dan Grabauskas admitted the MBTA's "Write to the Top" program wasn't working, and that fixing it would require 25 new customer-service reps.

16. "There are numerous ways for employees to get help if they want it." - 11/21/08 after revelations that two recent incidents on the T involving injuries to passengers or passersby involved drunk or drugged-out drivers.

17. "Why are there so many stops on the B Line? Get rid of some, but not mine." - 4/22/04 mocking complaints of B line customers, mostly students, who, granted, deserve to be mocked.

18. "Their assessment was that it wasn't a situation that warranted medical attention, and we rely on the experience and the expertise of train crews that have been doing this for many, many years." - 1/31/09 defending medically unqualified T employees' assessment that a man who had collapsed on the floor of a subway car at rush hour did not need medical assistance. A similar assessment by T employees in 2004 resulted in a $3.9m wrongful death settlement against the MBTA.

19. "It's not like we had a group of girls out wilding.'' - 6/25/05 assuring riders that the T is "100 per cent safe" after a woman and her young son were attacked by a group of teenage girls, who jumped her and began kicking, punching and pulling her hair. No one on the crowded subway car did anything to aid her, though the assault lasted several minutes, spilling out onto a T platform where an MBTA worker at the station also did nothing.

20. "It's very rare that something like this will happen. The engineer sounded his whistle and [the victim] moved over to the side of the tracks, but unfortunately not enough." - 11/21/03 sort of stating the obvious after a high school student was struck and killed by a commuter train. (The rare something Pesaturo was talking about was not someone getting struck by a train, but two people getting struck by the same train in separate incidents on the same day - the other "reportedly suffered a severed arm, but was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he underwent surgery to reattach the arm.")

21. "We do have designated crossing areas for pedestrians, which we encourage people to use because you can see what happens when you don't use one of the designated crossing areas." - 11/17/08 offering another teachable moment after a BU student was struck by a green line train. He added that the trolley driver had been traumatized by the incident.

22. "The train's 240 passengers were not injured." - 1/16/09 when asked to comment on former Esquire publisher Alan Stiles MBTA-assisted suicide.

23. "We understand that some people would be frustrated when these situations occur." - 12/24/08 empathizing with riders after the T came to a 45-minute standstill during the evening commute. While it was "not clear [for the duration of the standstill] what triggered it," it turned out to be ice on the tracks. After an ice storm. Go figure.

24. "You can't put a price on safety." - 7/30/04 reacting to criticism that T ran secret "special" Orange Line trains free of charge all four nights of the Democratic National Convention for attendees.

25. "It's much too early to draw conclusions, although it is very encouraging that we accomplished our primary goal of increasing revenue." - 12/21/08 affirming the wisdom of doubling parking fees at transit lots, a move that drove down the average number of weekday parkers from 32,533 in 2007 to 29,261 in the aftermath of the increase.

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