I've said it once - I'll say it again: the biggest issue people have with the MBTA Commuter Rail is the lack of proper communication to passengers in the event of an "issue."
Today, stopped at Belmont station, Fitchburg train 414 stopped for approximately 15 minutes. The conductor, obviously frustrated with the lack of clear communication he was getting, announced a delay due to a switch issue.
He announced that they were working on the switch - and that he was told "it would be a few minutes." Some 30 minutes later, another announcement was made that the "switch maintainer" had yet to arrive.
Hordes of passengers then deboarded, some 50 minutes after the initial stoppage. Earlier communication about the severity of the issue, or the actual ETA of a work crew would have allowed passengers the option of catching one of three MBTA buses, getting them inbound quicker
Problems happen - people are generally understanding. However, when there are people who have work, medical appointments, or other such time-bound obligations, clarity in communication during times of unforeseen issues would make for a lot less frustrating experience on the MBTA.
An addendum, considering the latest update indicting the train is "60-70 minutes late:" at what point does it become incumbent upon the MBTA Commuter Rail to send a shuttle bus to pickup the stranded passengers? Or announce local bus connection options for less experienced MBTA riders?