MBTA late night feasibility study

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) of Massachusetts.
Tracking # SPR14:201
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:

All studies or reports regarding the logistical and fiscal feasibility of offering late night MBTA service

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

A no responsive documents response.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski,

I've received your reply that MBTA does not have documents pertaining to any feasibility studies for the late night MBTA service. Can we speak to discuss this response? I want to be clear as to the scope of your answer before I publish anything based off of it.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Krupanski and Mr. Pesaturo,

I've received the MBTA's reply to my records request that your agency does not have documents pertaining to any feasibility studies for the late night MBTA service.

Can we speak to discuss this response? I want to be clear as to the scope of your answer before I publish anything based off of it.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Pesaturo, Joe

What's your follow up question?

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Joe,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Does the MBTA have any projections for cost, revenue, etc for late night service? Ms. Krupanski's response to my records request (attached) suggests that the MBTA has not conducted any such feasibility studies.

Best,
Shawn

From: Pesaturo, Joe

That's correct Shawn. That's why late night service is a one year pilot program. The MBTA will use the data collected over the course of the pilot program to measure the performance of the program and to help make post-pilot decisions

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Joe,

Is there a reason no feasibility studies were done in this instance? I had expected it to be a routine step -- for instance, in 2010, MBTA did an extensive feasibility study on offering full-time rail service to Foxborough (http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/default.asp?id=20111).

-Shawn

From: Pesaturo, Joe

Unlike late-night service, it is impossible to conduct a pilot program for full-time rail service to Foxborough. Unlike full-time rail service to Foxborough, late-night service does not require major capital investments up front.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Joe,

Thanks for clarifying.

To be absolutely clear -- does the MBTA have any projections for ridership, revenue impact or staffing requirements with regard to introducing late night service?

-Shawn

From: Pesaturo, Joe

The pilot program carries a projected cost of approximately $20 million. The MBTA is hiring 109 new employees to help operate late night service.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Mr. Pesaturo and Ms. Krupanski:

Respectfully, these projections suggest that there are documents that exist within MBTA that are responsive to my request that were not provided to me.

On March 13, I requested "All studies or reports regarding the logistical and fiscal feasibility of offering late night MBTA service."

While a formal feasibility study would certainly be responsive to this request, all reports that reflect the figures you've just cited would, as well. Can you and Ms. Krupanski confirm whether an additional search for responsive documents is warranted?

Again, I'd be happy to discuss this request to further clarify, if necessary.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Pesaturo, Joe

There is no feasibility study, nor documents to support a feasibility study. Late night service is a one year pilot program. The MBTA will use the data collected over the course of the pilot program to measure the performance of the program and to help make post-pilot decisions

From: Shawn Musgrave

Mr. Pesaturo and Ms. Krupanski:

I understand that the MBTA has not conducted a formal feasibility study.

But it is clear that the MBTA has made projections as to the fiscal and logistical feasibility of launching late night service. You have provided specific figures — $20 million projected cost and 109 new employees — that, I would assume, come from a report or memo prepared in the decision process around the launch. Such a document or documents would fall under my initial request.

Please confirm whether the MBTA can provide these documents, or if I should file an appeal with the Supervisor of Records.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Pesaturo, Joe

At public events around the region, customers and business owners frequently request expanded MBTA service hours, particularly at night. Stakeholders believe that additional late night service hours will benefit the region’s economic competitiveness by expanding access to employment and entertainment options. The MBTA offered “Night Owl” service from 2001-2005. Ridership was low on Night Owl service and it was discontinued. The new late night service is more precisely targeted to Friday night (i.e. Saturday a.m.) and Saturday night (i.e. Sunday a.m.) and unlike Night Owl, includes rail service, increasing capacity and simplifying access to service for customers. With Night Owl service, rail routes were served by buses, sometimes with connections, routes and start and end points that were not necessarily convenient for customers. The new late night service will extend the operation of normal heavy and light rail services as well as the service on the 15 largest MBTA bus routes. The new late night service is a pilot program. MBTA will monitor ridership on late night service for one year and conduct an evaluation of the service before determining what next steps to take. The ridership information evaluation will be made available after the conclusion of the pilot year.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Supervisor of Records
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

March 28, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed all correspondence with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority with regard to a public records request dated March 13, 2014 for "All studies or reports regarding the logistical and fiscal feasibility of offering late night MBTA service."

As detailed in the responsive letter and subsequent correspondence, the MBTA insists that it has no documents responsive to my request. However, the MBTA has apparently limited its search solely to documents prepared as part of a formal feasibility study. My request is not limited to formal feasibility studies, as I have indicated to MBTA spokesperson Joseph Pesaturo and Assistant General Counsel Susan Krupanski a number of times.

It stands to reason that the MBTA has prepared any number of reports that would be responsive to my request. Namely, for such a large undertaking, I assume that MBTA analysts prepared a number of possible scenarios for rolling out late night service, and that the implemented option was chosen based on iterative decision-making with input from a wide range of policymakers. This is but one example of any number of reports that are reasonable to assume were prepared ahead of today's late night service launch.

Briefs and reports prepared surrounding this decision-making process would clearly fall within my request for reports regarding the fiscal and logistical feasibility of introducing late night service. If such documents exist, the MBTA has incorrectly indicated that it has no documents responsive to my request.

I respectfully request that you remand this request back to the MBTA for a more thorough search for documents.

Best,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Mr. Pesaturo, Ms. Krupanski and Ms. Rastellini:

A copy of the appeal below has been sent by mail to the appropriate address at the Supervisor of Records.

I've also obtained a report of the kind I assume the MBTA has in its possession that would be responsive to my request. I've attached it here.

Again, I would be happy to discuss this request further if additional clarification is required.

Thank you,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Acknowledged and received Mr. Musgrave.

From: Supervisor of Public Records

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.

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