Members of the North Shore business community got plenty of straight talk yesterday from Transportation Secretary Richard Davey:

Growing up south of Boston, "the North Shore was kind of like Quebec to me."

The one thing he doesn't want to hear from employees to explain inefficiencies: "We've always done it this way."

If a bridge or road-building project is worth doing, it should be done fast.

And recent talk of fare increases and service cuts on the MBTA are not fear-mongering, but reflect the reality that the oldest transit system in the nation is in a state of fiscal crisis.

The former head of the MBTA, who managed the commuter rail system before that, seems well-prepared to oversee the state's highway, mass transit and aviation systems. And he wants to hear from regular users of these services so essential to the quality of life and economic health of the Bay State.

Here's one question posed by a regular reader: If the MBTA is so strapped for cash, why doesn't it take advantage of peak demand times — New Year's Eve, a big game at TD Garden — to maximize revenues?

Our caller related his experience riding the train to the Garden for a state tournament basketball game last spring. The cars were packed with fans heading into Boston, but the conductors never collected their fares.

When this person asked why, he was told it was too much trouble making change for all those people.

Davey noted that he is all about "improving the customer experience," and riding the train for nothing no doubt made the trip to Boston more enjoyable for most. But he also said he wants his department to run more like a business, and we don't know many companies that are willing to give their product away when demand is highest.

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