Wednesday, March 24, 2021

MA State News: "Should we still call it ‘commuter’ rail?"; uncertainty in the vaccine numbers

"Should we still call it ‘commuter’ rail?" 

"The MBTA is launching a fairly radical change to its commuter rail operations on April 5, running fewer trains at the traditional morning and evening peaks and spreading service out at regular intervals over the course of the day – what some call regional rail.

On the Framingham-Worcester line, trains currently depart from Worcester for Boston at 5:30 a.m., 7 a.m., and 8:50 a.m. and then run at roughly two-hour intervals the rest of the day. Under the new approach starting April 5, the first train from Worcester will depart  at 4:15 a.m., the next train at 5 a.m., and then trains will depart every hour on the hour for the rest of the day until 7 p.m. The three late-night trains will depart at 8:20, 9:20, and 10:20.

 The idea behind the scheduling experiment is that COVID has disrupted ridership patterns. No one is quite sure what riders will want in the future, but the feeling is that they will no longer rigidly commute into work in the morning and return in the evening. They want more flexibility and greater frequency. And they want schedules that are easy to remember."
Continue reading the article online

"Uncertainty abounds in vaccine eligibility numbers"

"WHEN THE MASSACHUSETTS COVID-19 Command Center calculates how many people are eligible for vaccinations in each of the state’s three phases, there’s a problem: The total number is 1 million more adults than actually live in the state.

The main reason is that the state is double counting many individuals in these estimates.

As a result, while the Command Center has said an estimated 2.55 million people could become eligible for vaccinations in the final group – generally healthy people between ages 16 and 55 who are not essential workers – the uncertainty in the numbers raises the possibility that the final group may be smaller than expected."
Continue reading the article online

Note: This another symptom of the lack of a fully integrated and functioning public health infrastructure. The Commonwealth has various sources of data about the population (voter records, driver licenses, tax records, etc.) yet they lack the cohesiveness of a central repository of our population so we could know our count and categorizations without double counting. The repository would drive the planning already done by the local departments of health to enable the timely and accurate delivery of a vaccine or anything health related to all.

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