Friday, December 29, 2006


While I consider my job as the Transport Avenger to be quite important, it doesn't exactly pay the bills.
I will begin a new job in the new year, and unfortunately that job location is not on any public transport lines, so this blog will be on a semi-permanent hiatus for awhile.
However, while I am away, my trusty companions eLo and Mr. Mac will regale me with tales of T employee incompetence, shoddy service, and fellow riders who are annoying, and of course, I shall pass those tales along to you.
Stay well, my children, I shall return!

Monday, December 18, 2006

You Get What You Pay For


But dontcha think that half a million dollars is quite enough for a website?

The T released a new version of last Friday, and it was nice, real nice.
Nice layout, navigation, features, color palette, fonts, etc.
Real, real nice.

That is, when it could be accessed.

Almost immediately the site was down, supposedly because it was overwhelmed with visitors.
I can see that happening, but when you drop $466,000 on a project that included all new web servers, according to the Boston Globe, wouldn't you expect it to work?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Slight Departure...

...from my normal raging.
It seems that this CharlieCard thing is actually good.
I know, I can't believe it either.
While the CharlieTicket makes sense vs. tokens and cash, it's still incredibly slow to use since it has to be fed into the fare gate.
Oddly, London Underground uses a similar ticket system, but they engineered it so the the ticket screams out of the machine and the gates open immediately.
So I went into South Station, walked up to the window, asked for one of the new (semi, i.e.; 3-5 year lifespan) permanent CharlieCards, got it (free, which I'm sure is temporary), put cash on it, and went on my way.
It's great to just tap the card on the sensor. Getting on a bus takes a second, and the gates on the subway open with no delay.

Now don't fuck it up, MBTA.

Friday, November 17, 2006


these are snippets from the story of the Greenbush CR line, that goes down towards the cape, and finally being (re) built after many years.
this line was an active freight and commuter line until the mid-70's, when it was abandoned by the B&M railroad.
in that time many NIMBY's have bought in the area, and tried to sue the state from re-activating the line.

# T officials admit they "wasted" $300,000 for tunnels placed under the tracks to allow endangered spotted turtles to reach nearby pools. That species was taken off the endangered list midway through construction.

huh? the T wasted money?

# In Cohasset, the town asked that parking spaces at the station be made wider to accommodate larger sport utility vehicles.

come on! please make spots larger to accommodate my wasteful car that usually carries one person at a time?! also, the town of cohasset was the most vocal AGAINST even building the line. since that is the case, and these people clearly don't want to take the T anywhere, why should the T lot fit their cars?
fyi, parking space sizing is regulated by the state, even when on private property, and must all be a uniform size. nobody gets a break for larger cars, unless it's a handicap spot.

#T officials also said that they seriously considered a woman's request to have the T pay for Prozac for her dog, who she said would be traumatized by the train noise. The woman's claim was eventually denied.

the T was actually going to pay for it?! f-ing idiots, as is the woman, who thinks that dogs need mental medicines.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Slow Train To Dawn

I know that the T is fixing the switches and signals on the Orange line, but COME ON!

It's been 4 years, and the damn thing still doesn't work right.

Thanks for making me 20 minutes late today.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Probable Cause

The Romney administration has ORDERED the T to resume bag searches.


Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with it, unless it got repetitive.
But just what is "probable cause"?
A kid with blue hair?
A person of a certain ethnicity?
Or do you actually have to be doing something illegal?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

For Your Protection

I saw a couple of Transportation Security Authority people on the SL platform at South Station today, one of whom looked to be about 12 years old.
What's the point?
They don't have guns, they don't even have walkie-talkies to call the real cops if something goes down, so why bother staffing with them?

Your tax dollars at work!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Response

To my post yesterday, which I made a nicer version of and sent to all the T chiefs on the Red, Blue, Orange, Green, and Silver lines, plus Mac Daniel at the Globe, and the GM at the T.


Dear Mr. Callahan,

Thank you for your email regarding additional train service.

The Blue Line has been operating extra service trains since the tragedy
surrounding the tunnel closures. We can operate one additional train
during rush periods, but are running most of the extra service during
traditional non-peak periods. Including the extra, rush hour service is
maximized at 14 trains operating every 3.75 minutes. I do not have the
equipment (trains), personnel, or capability with the signal system to
operate any more service during the peak periods. The Red and Green
Lines are similarly challenged.

Regular Commuter Rail and Commuter Boat service has much longer
headways between scheduled trips, so adding extra service for these
modes is possible.

Because of the additional roadway traffic congestion, some people are
commuting to work during off-peak hours. These commuters are benefitting
from more service at those times.

We certainly do want people to use public transportation! We are
striving to improve our services so that we can attract new, and retain
current, customers.

Thank you again for writing.


Lisa Bono
Chief of Blue Line Operations

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Off Peak

"The MBTA will increase service on the Orange and Blue subway lines during off-peak hours and add extra trains when the Green and Red lines are too crowded. Additional commuter trains will be added during off-peak hours from the Route 128 Station in Westwood and the Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn. In Quincy, more commuter ferries will be added for commuters during peak hours."

What is the rationale here? Why not extra trains on all 4 lines?
Considering that lack of communication at the T on a normal f-up, how are they going to know when to get more Red or Green trains out?
And why add extra service at NON peak hours when there are generally fewer people in the system, hence the term "Off-peak", when they are adding extra ferries?
Add the trains for the commute, you idiots!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Please Don't Fix

What KILLS me is that they actually are asking the public about it, and then:

"the T will make the decision whether to go forward with the new changes"

Generally I feel the riders should be consulted, but come on. This is clearly a move in the right direction.
Other than the unbelievably ugly fabric on the seats, these are all no brainers.

Ummm. No, MBTA, please do not put accurate maps in the cars, I'd rather not know where I'm going. And make the seats easy to tear and graffitti on.
Oh, and I'm short, so make sure I can't hang on.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just Walk It

At Wellington station there was a people mover to get travellers from the parking garage, which is quite far away, to the station.
For some bizarre reason, the T has decided to shut down the people mover, put in shuttle bus - the T loves buses! why don't we just rip up all the rails and use buses instead? As an aside, the T also proposed to use buses between Kendall and Park St. during the bridge work near Charles/MGH, AFTER the city offered to shift the tracks over so the train could continue. Idiots.
Anyway, so for now you can take a shuttle bus from the garage to the station, that is until the covered pedestrian bridge is constructed. Of course, they couldn't build it next to the people mover and let that run until it was finished.
It's well over a quarter mile from the garage to the station. If you're parked in the far left corner of the garage, good luck. You may as well drive the remaining 4 miles into Boston.
The only reason I can think of for replacing the people mover with a regular bridge is to satisfy the needs of the developers building in that area.
And the PEOPLE lose out to big business yet again.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You'll See

T cops are doing a sweep of every Logan-bound SL bus once it gets to the SL Way stop.
That's cool and everything, but this is not:

Courthouse stop, kid gets on with baggage, and is instructed by the T "inspector" to make sure the bag is set a certain way on the floor, etc. Again, not an issue.
The kid, understandably, asks, very politely, why it matters how his baggage is oriented.
"Just do it. You'll see why in a few stops, alright?!" yells the inspector.

What a dick.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wanna Bet?

Last night I was walking to the Silver Line Way stop when I noticed that the bus-stop-type (see, it IS a bus, it doesn't even use a subway-type-sign) sign is missing a very important notation: SL1.
SL1 is the route name for the Silver Line (SL, get it? Clever, MBTA!) bus that goes from South Station to Logan and back again.
This particular stop is where the SL1(Logan), SL2(BMIP), and SL3(City Point) split off from one another.
You can also end up on the "watefront" bus, which doesn't get an SL designation. It makes a loop at this stop and goes back to South Station.
Anyway, so I see a T inspector (what, exactly, are they inspecting?) and I mentioned to him that the bus-stop-type-sign doesn't list SL1, just SL2 and SL3.
Now keep in mind, there IS a sandwich board there telling people that they can catch a Logan bound bus at the stop, but that is not the point of my story. Or maybe it is.

The exchange:

Me: Hi.
Him: Hi.
Me: Did you know that the bus stop sign doesn't say SL1? It only says SL2 and SL3.
Him: Yes it does.
Me: No, it doesn't. I just looked at it, and took a photo with my phone.
Him: It does say it.
Me: No, it doesn't.
Him: Wanna bet?
Me: Yes, I'd love to bet. Do you want to look at it now?

So we walk over to the stop where I point out the sign to him.

Me: See? SL2 BMIP, SL3 City Point.
Him: There is a sign right there.
Me: You mean the sandwich board?
Him: Yeah.
Me: I see that. What I said was...
Him: You said that there wasn't a sign.
Me: No, I...
Him: You said that there wasn't a sign, and there it is.
Him: Oh, you're just trying to make a point.

Uhhhhh. Yeah, you idiot.

This is similar to an exhange way back that I had about station maps on this line, and the line chief basically lied to me until I caught him out on it.

Is Matt Amorello secretly running the T?


Spotted last night in South Station on the Red Line platform, northbound:

Four workers watching a fifth worker mop a wet patch on the floor.

Oh, to be union.......

Sunday, June 25, 2006


From the blue line chief, regarding a message I sent about the new train announcements:

Thank you for you comments regarding the new LED Signs, and station
announcements. The announcements are triggered by the signal system that
governs train movement. It is possible to countdown to train arrivals,
but the decision was made to limit the number of approaching train

I'm stunned.
So the T CAN do it, but they just don't feel like it?!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Money For Nothing

A cut of the profit of sales?
How does that make any sense?
By getting people in your store to get the card, they're likely to buy something from you. It's called "loss-leading".
So now the T is not only getting businesses to help fund the card and system in the form of advertising, but they're giving them money back to them?
How about a cut in the price of the frigging fare for the people who have to look at your stupid corporate logo everywhere?

Link to the Globe article:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nice Laaaaayyydeeey!

Apparently the monthly pass policy has been that you must be in the system for 20 minutes before you are allowed back in once you exit. This is to discourage "pass-backs" of monthly passes. That's fine, though 20 minutes is too long. So with the old turnstyles, you'd be locked out, but could always flash your pass at the person the booth, and they'd let you in the handicap entrance.

Not so with the Charlie Card. There is still the 20 minute window, but now they won't even let you through, as experienced by the guy in this article:

Well today it happened to me.

Today I had to get out at South Station to get some cash, as there are no BofA ATM's in the Marine Industrial Park.
So I got to SS and politely asked the CSA - who was a complete bitch, literally, I was 6" from her saying "excuse me, excuse me" and she just kept looking the other way - if I could come back in, as I had a monthly pass.
"Have you been on for 20 minutes?"
"I think so, but I'm not sure"
"Then you'll have to pay again"
"But I've got a monthly pass, you are seeing me exit, and I will come to you to get back in, can I do that?"
"I don't care what you do, as long as it's been 20 minutes."


Former token sellers are now referred to as CSA's, or Customer Service Agents. I'm thinking that the acronym really stands for inCompetent Surly Assholes.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Out Of Touch

I've written a bit about the new LED train arrival announcement system, and how hopefully it will get better, and actually let you know when the train will arrive. Currently, it only tells you when the train is about to enter the station. Nice, but utterly useless, as you can see the damn thing coming anyway.

Then today I read this from the Globe:

"The system can count down the minutes until a train arrives, but Grabauskas said that isn't necessary.

'You don't need 15 minutes lead time for a rapid transit train," he said. ''If you know you have enough time to get down the stairs, that may be all the information our customers need.' "

What a dope. He clearly drives to work.
Looks like the new boss is, in fact, the same as the old boss.
If the technology is ALREADY THERE, why not use it?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Balancing Act

To the people who think that they can hold a hot cup of coffee in one hand, a magazine or something else in the other, while standing, NOT hold onto a grab bar on the train, and manage to not fall victim to the laws of motion:


There was a woman today who tried that and fell everytime the train started and stopped, the whole way into town.
Plus, she was a doctor or nurse, unless she just liked to wear scrubs, and had a packet of Marlboro reds poking out of her jacket.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mr. Mac Has A Tale

Thought you’d appreciate this- I got off at Malden Station last night, and it was raining so I went to take the bus, but where the 101 picks people up there was a bus with a hand-written sign in the side window that said “93”. So, I looked at the front of the bus and the LED sign in front (the one on the side was broken) said “101”. When I got on, this cranky-ass bus driver was lambasting this woman passenger in her 60’s saying “Have you ever taken the 93?!? Have you?!? Have you ever seen it at Malden Station?!? No! Because it doesn’t go to Malden Station, so how could this be the 93 bus?!?” It was crazy. So, when I was getting off at my stop I asked if he wanted me to take down the hand-written sign. He said “No, whatever, it’s fine”. My phone started ringing, so that’s all I said. Lucky for him, because I was going to drag him out of the bus and attack him with my sock full of rocks if my phone hadn’t rung.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


My T stop got the new fare gates installed, and as promised there were helpful T employees showing people how to use the new ticket machines.
Helpful, that is, if you were only travelling to and from stations that accept the new tickets.
A family of 6 was buying tickets, and the T guy told them that they only needed to buy 1 ticket, but put enough value on it for all 6 riders.
What he didn't tell them was that that ticket wouldn't be valid for their return trip!
Given their full-on red sox gear, I assumed that they were going to the game last night.
So I walked up, next to the T guy and asked them if they were going.
Yes, they replied.
Well, you're going to have to buy 6 tokens for your return trip then once you get to Kenmore (or Ruggles, if they were taking the shuttle).
Why, they cried, but, we just bought 12 rides on this ticket!
Well, that guy forgot to tell you that the new value-added tickets aren't usable in the old turnstile stations.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Scam, I mean, Fare Structure

So with the new Charlie Card comes a huge fare increase.
We heard about this awhile back, and it's a good notice this time, with the increase to start in January 2007.
It's still a giant increase though, especially considering that they are elminating the subway and bus passes to make a combo pass called the OnePass.
There are combo passes now, and that's great if you happen to take the bus and subway on a regular basis.
I don't, and now my pass will go from $44 to $62 a month since I can take the bus if I want to - and I don't.
This means that now the T will cost more than the NYC subway for a monthly rider.

Nice one!

Out Of Sight...

This morning a conductor was cleaning up all the Metro papers that the idiots left on the floor of the train.
This is clearly not his job, so it's cool he even did it.
Instead of picking them up and walking, literally, 4 feet away to put them in the bin, he took about 5 minutes to jam them down between the platform and the train.
Did he think that they wouldn't be visible once the train pulled out of the station.
What an asshole.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Too Bus-y To Do Anything About It

Oak Grove bus stop.
A mild mannered T bus approaches.
Eager commuters crane their necks to catch a glimpse of the bus route on the LED sign.
Not surprisingly, the sign is all wacky, and there is a nice white sheet of paper taped to the windshield with the route number on it.
For the first time ever, the sign is not written with a sharpie, but is printed from a computer.
What's this? Route 101? But that goes from Malden Ctr. to Sullivan Square.
Oh, I see, the side LED sign has the correct route number on it.
But wait, there is also a paper 101 sign below the LED.
What is going on?
So I step onto the bus (#0250) and ask the driver if this is indeed going where I want to be.
Yeah, comes the surly reply, it's on the side sign.
But, pointing to sign on the front window, you know this says '101', right?
Yeah, and the side sign says the correct route.
But, there is also a '101' sign underneath, so which is it?
It's 'XXX'!
Oh. why don't you take down the paper signs then?
Well what if they switch this bus to the other route?

Since the bus was stopping at a T stop, they tend to wait for a load of people to board, so it wasn't that big a deal. However, when a bus is coming at you at 40 MPH, and you're waiting on the curb at a bus stop, you look at the front window.
If the route displayed is not the one you want, you generally step back, and the driver knows to keep on going past you.
Now if you had stepped back from this bus, there is no way you could see the side LED, with the correct route, until the bus almost ran you down.
By that point, you've missed the bus.

Free Rides!

If you're especially skint, or you just like sticking it to the man, head on over to Oak Grove in the next few weeks for a free ride on the T.
They are in the midst of replacing the old turnstiles with the new Charlie Card fare gates, and barely have staff watching commuters going into the station.
I have a monthly pass, and you can only see if it is current by looking at the back.
Have I once been asked to show the pass back?
Yesterday afternoon the "watcher" was getting a coffee at D&D's while groups of people just waltzed in.
And what's with the coin box they've got going? Do you think they'll check to see if you chucked in $1.25, a token, or a washer?
And even if they did open the thing up, how could they prove you scammed them?
Here's an idea to generate more revenue, Mr. Grabauskas:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Expensive Litter-ature

Today the T is handing out full color leaflets telling the travelling public to be aware of potential terrorist action.
They're nice leaflets, 3 panel, nice design, and of course, totally useless.
"If you see something, say something." "Accidentally left behind, or an accident waiting to happen?"
I was handed one by a smiling (!) T employee on my way into the station, and by the time I got to the train, there were loads of discarded copies on the ground, in the bin - where I put mine - and on the train seats.
All these handouts will accomplish is a (most likely) union affiliated print shop making a tidy profit, and the cleaning guy getting some overtime.
The Metro noted that 30,000 would be handed out on the commuter rail. I'm guessing that means that about 100,000 were produced for this event, as they can only have enough staff to hand them out at "key" stations in the T system.
Instead of placing trash around the system, why not have more POLICE on the trains and in the stations?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Quick Response

I'm stunned. I had sent a quick letter to the Orange line chief - who probably doesn't really know the dilli-o - cc'd the GM, of course, and got a response from engineering.

From the T:

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to write to us
regarding the new LED signs.

The new signs are part of an on-going project which is updating our PA
and LED announcement capabilities at key stations. The signs you
mention will provide service-related information, such as approaching
train information, next train designation and service announcements.
The information will begin transmitting in early April.

Thank you again for your inquiry and for your continued support of
public transportation.


Caroline Dunne
Infrastructure & Engineering
500 Arborway, Second Floor
Jamaica Plain, MA. 02130
617 222 1820 - Tel
617 222 3918 - Fax

Friday, March 10, 2006


I noticed the new orange LED signs at DTX today.
Other than the size and color, are they any different than the old red signs?
That is, are they actually going to tell us anything other than not to smoke?
How much more money can the T waste on stuff like this?
Whose brother works for the sign company?
In case you're not in the know, the T has had LED signs for years in many stations. I can imagine that they cost a good amount, even if the T goes with the lowest bidder.
The thing is that these signs have done NOTHING. EVER.
All they've told is not to smoke and to visit
They are almost as bad as the "announcements" the T makes telling us to hold on to the handrail on escalators.

Orange Scorn

Mr. Mac feels slighted, and perhaps a bit scared....

I was leaning on the conductor’s booth door this morning when it opened up. The conductor, a middle-aged woman, apologized, as did I for leaning against the door. Then she went to the middle of the train to check something out, and when she came back to the booth she said to me “You shouldn’t lean against that door because I might have to open it again. In fact, I might open it up on purpose if you’re leaning against it”. How about that?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

You Knew I'd Be Pissed About This

Right then, another fare hike.
Another year of no improvements.
Another lame excuse.
And yet another reason to HATE UNIONS.
Really, does an organization as small as the MBTA need 30 unions?
I'm not familiar with the details, but why?
So say you've got your unions for the people who repair the trains and drive the trains, and maybe another for the conductors.
Who else is part of a union?
The cleaners?
I'm pretty sure they're 3rd party contracts, not T employees.
The management?
Nope, they are definitely not unionized.
Who else then?
In reality, you don't need any unions, as this country has LABOR LAWS.
The only people benefitting from the union are the union bosses.
The T has raised fares about 54% since I started taking it daily into Boston, say in the last 6 years or so.
I want to rage quite a bit longer on the fare hike, but I've got so much to say that I can't type as fast as my mind is grinding away.

Friday, February 10, 2006

"Got to stay in touch even though we’re on the move/Keep your lines open, say, what’s new"

here's an old story i forgot to report:

one afternoon my green line train was stopped for 15 mins+ between kenmore and hynes convention. one simple action prevented anarchy: the conductor actually picked up his microphone and told us WHAT WAS GOING ON! i know, it's a crazy idea but i swear it's the truth. he not only told us why we were stopped (the signals were down or something like that) but he told us how long we should expect to wait. whomever this man was, he should be schooling his coworkers in common sense.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

They Should Call It The Brown Line

Because it's SHITE.

Really, how hard is it to schedule?
Last night there was a South Station bound bus sitting at my stop, just idling. With all the lights on. So you assumed you could get on. But there wasn't a driver in it.
So instead, we waited 10 minutes until a very packed bus from Logan showed up.
The Logan buses have luggage racks, meaning there isn't much standing room if the seats are taken, and they were.
As it pulled up, 2 more SS bound buses showed up, but we weren't allowed in them.
Then they didn't even express the far-too-full bus I was on through to SS, even though there were 2 empty buses behind us. They just kept letting people get on.
By the time we got to SS, I felt like I was on one of those Japanese subway cars. You know, like this:

When we got to SS, the 1st bus behind us had 5 people on it, and the 2nd one had 2.
That's some good planning.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The List

I've been getting a list together of all the orange line cars that have maps showing the Auditorium stop on them, as well as showing a green/orange connection at Forest Hills.
Auditorium was changed to Hynes/ICA in 1988/89, and the Arborway section of the green was shut down around the same time.
For years I've been asking the T to get the maps fixed.
The response?
"We checked out the cars, and didn't find any with the old map."
I'll have the full list of car numbers to send to the orange line chief in a week or so.

Get. Out. Of. My. Way.

What is wrong with you people?
Are you drinking before work?
Why can't you walk in a straight line?
Tip: A set of stairs is generally about 6' wide.
That means two people can walk side by side up or down the stairs.
When you walk in the middle, nobody can pass you.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


This is stupid.
The T is just now coming up with a computerized system to track employee absences?
Some people that read this may think that my comment reeks of conservative republican politics, but 2 fingers to you, my friends, you can't pigeonhole me into one ideology.
The problem is the unions. You can do no work, and someone will try to defend you so you keep your job. Why are they even unions anymore? The company I work for doesn't have one, and I get 5 sick days per year, and 10 vacation days. If I use them up, that's my problem.
21 days absent? Unless you have a short term disability, then that is insane.
From today's Boston Globe:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Diversion

I'm pretty much all about travel by train, but sometimes I have to fly somewhere, like Chicago, which you can read about in the previous post.
All I'd like to say about plane travel, no matter where you are coming from or going to, is that PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS.

The scenario:

You're in the gate area, waiting for your row, or group, to be called. What do you do? You SIT DOWN UNTIL YOUR GROUP IS CALLED. YOU DO NOT GET UP AND STAND IN A GIANT GROUP AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE GATE.
The wife and I were in group 3, and of course everyone got up and stood around, so that we couldn't tell where the line began to get on the plane.

Query to "up-talker" girls in front of me:

Me:"Are you in line?"
Her:"Uh, as much as anybody else is."
Me:"Are you even IN group 3?!"
Me:"Then get out of the line. Jeez."

Then we get on the plane. It's packed, and people are standing in the aisle, as if they have no idea that there are people trying to get by them. The stewardess is announcing to NOT PUT YOUR JACKETS IN THE OVERHEAD BINS SO THAT BAGS CAN FIT THERE.
What are the people directly opposite me putting in the bin?
When some people couldn't find an empty bin to place their bags, the stewardess went from bin to bin and asked who owned the jackets within. Who claimed a jacket?
So the woman just chucked them on an empty seat.
Anyway, that's that.

The Windy City

Went to Chicago last weekend. It is not actually the windiest city. The award goes to the Blue Hills area of Milton, MA, but I digress.
As you probably have heard, Chicago's transit is called the el, even though only a small portion of it is elevated.
Only had the chance to go on the Red Line, but it was ok. Nice stations, smaller trains than Boston, and certainly a bad map design. They try to use the real dimensions between stations, so that the downtown loop area needs to be on a seperate inset.
They should take a cue from London Transport and map a diagramatic map and get it all in one area.

Friday, December 30, 2005


If you've taken the Silver line to South Station, or even just read my last post, you'll know that sometimes a bus waits while others pass it to continue on.
Some go to Logan, so they are off the catenary or whatever.
Well last night a bus to SS was waiting for a Logan bus to pass it so the SS bus could pull over to the shelter and pick us up. But the Logan bus wouldn't move, and finally the SS bus pulled up, and then the Logan bus decided to pull up next to it, blocking the SS bus from pulling out, since the catenary was blocked by the diesel Logan bus.
Am I rambling?
Anyway, we all pile on the bus, and driver is cussing out the driver of the Logan bus for not moving quickly enough, and then blocking her in.
I think she may have been channeling some of my rage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Where Should I Start?

What is the problem with the Silver line? You get on the bus and it sits. Forever. How is this "rapid transit"?
Last night I got on a South Station bound bus, and it sat there for 10 - YES, Mr. Mac, T-E-N, minutes.
In that time 2 buses passed us, also bound for South Station. The driver must have know there would be other buses coming along, so why didn't he mention that, or why even let us on the bus?

What is the problem with the idiots at the Red/Orange interchange at Downtown Crossing? I change there every night, and invaribly there is a group of people standing right in front of the door while people try to get off the train. Yeah, this happens at other stops as well, but none as bad as this. Last night I tried to get off the train and had to stare down four 12 year old girls whose parents are so STUPID that they didn't tell them to get out of the way, and the parents were right there looking at me like I was the asshole.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dwell On This

The Scene: Red line, northbound train
The Time: 18:00
The Problem: Dwell Time

As a daily Orange and Silver line rider, and a former daily Red line rider, I'm familiar with the differences between the lines.
Say what you will about the Orange line - old, dirty, etc., but the Red line has the longest dwell times. You know, how long it is between the stopping of the train at a station and when it leaves.
The Red line takes forever to leave the stations, with at least a 3 minute wait.
What used to be a 20 minute ride from South Station to Davis is now an extra 20 minutes with the longer dwell times.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

(This Is) The Modern World

I was sort of excited to see the new Charlie Ticket/Card machines on the Blue line. Taking a cue from London Underground and installing a "touch-in-touch-out" ticket system is a good idea, especially for regular riders.
The test line is the Blue, presumably because it has the lowest ridership, and is good as a test.
Of course, the T can't do something without messing some part of it up (read: Silver Line), and what they messed up in this case is the design of the machines. When was this thing made, 1983? It looks like an ATM prototype. Check out the metal number buttons. Who uses mechanical buttons? Why make something with moving parts? Hey, MBTA, have you seen an ATM lately? How about a TOUCH SCREEN. Even with the physical design errors, they could've done a better job on the machine aesthetics. I especially like the "press 5 for audio" coupled with a dotted line to the number pad, and bland 'wintel' box color scheme.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Not Sold Here

The Place: Downtown Crossing T Pass Office
The Sign: Weekly Pass Sign, with Breakdown of Weekly Pass Types
The Message: NOT SOLD HERE
The Format: Handwritten, in sharpie, of course, on the top and bottom of the sign.

If you don't sell weekly passes, then why have you got a sign advertising them in the first place?
Do you think that a fast food joint that is not "a participating location" would advertise the latest food promotion?

Also spotted on the back wall of the very modern wood-paneled office, a sign advertising the T's Work Pass Program.
The best part about that one, other than the horrible "cartoon" design, is the phone number that contains only 7 digits, making it at least, but probably far more than, SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD, as we added the 508 area code back in 1988, making it necessary to show the (617) in front of boston area phone numbers.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Fox In The Henhouse!

I'd like to say that I can't believe it, but, sadly enough, I can.
The MBTA had signed another 5 year contract with Kone.
Don't know who Kone is, you say?
Sure you do. Just look for the escalators and elevators that are out of order around the system, as there are many, and you'll see the yellow Kone barrier blocking them with a nice, handwritten sign with the dates for maintenance on it.
As of today, the T has 12 elevators or escalators out of service. Amazingly, the only lines without problems are the Silver line (which is good since the thing just opened) and the Green line (which is funny, since almost the entire line is at street level).
If you read my post on August 12 (
you'll notice my rage with T upon hiring Bechtel to fix Red line tunnels.
What is with these people?
Bechtel sucks. Kone sucks. The T hires them both. Ergo, the T must suck as well, but you all knew that anyway.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Is it Famous or Infamous?

Either way, I'm one of them, it seems.
While I wouldn't normally read the Boston Herald, I was informed of an article on people like me raging against the T, so I picked up a copy of today's paper.
Granted, in the print version, the writer used one of my smallest and not very good posts, made it seem that this blog was written by collective of "Silver Line riders", and highlighted a fellow rager instead of me (with a photo!), but at least I was in there.
You can see it HERE.
The best part of the article is the bit with the new T GM, saying that he wasn't impressed by our complaining, and that we should use the T's Write To The Top program to inform the T of problems. Well, Danny, how about I send you my ENTIRE BLOG? Oh, wait, that's right, YOUR email is NOT on the Write To The Top list.
I'll leave you with my customary last thought:



Monday, October 31, 2005

Just Cinch It

At Oak Grove station, there are two sets of platforms, one for the Orange Line, and the other that is used once in awhile if the commuter rail uses that stop.
The doors at the bottom of the escalators leading to the Orange Line are made of wood with some type of coating, and are always broken.
They're look like shite, are either totally unusable, or a door handle is broken. On a side note, how does a metal handle get broken? There's always a T inspector on the platform, who is apparently not doing too much inspecting if someone can have enough time to break metal with their bare hands.
The doors to the rarely used commuter rail platform are in perfect shape, and are made of stainless steel and glass.
So one day I'm coming down the stairs, and I see two T workers fixing the door yet again.
So I asked them, "Why don't you guys just switch the doors from the unused platform to this platform instead of duct taping these doors up all the time?"
The response:
"Uhhhh. They told us this was better."



Here a Stop, There a Stop, Everywhere a Stop Stop Stop...Except....

On the bus line I sometimes use, there are stops approximately every 75 yards.
This is kind of ridiculous, especially when you consider the fact that once the bus leaves the main road, and turns onto the MBTA owned and badly maintained access road, there are NONE.
So in a 1 mile trip, there are 5 stops for the first quarter mile or so, and then none for the remaining 3/4's of a mile.
What is wrong with these people?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Stop and Go. And Stop. And Go.

What's with the World Trade Center stop on the Silver Line?
The bus stops to drop off and pick up passengers, drives about 4 feet to a stop sign, stops, then proceeds up the ramp out of the tunnel.
This is isn't a normal tunnel portal, it's more like a huge open garage, and you can see from the station all the way to D street.
Why not make the standard drop off/pick up area at the point of the stop sign?
There's still about 15 feet of station at that point, so it's not like passengers would be walking on the ramp or anything.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


So I'm on the SL, going to the Courthouse stop.
I don't know if you've seen this particular stop, but it's pretty nice.
In fact, it's TOO NICE. The MBTA probably could've save a few million if this station wasn't so ornate.
I know, I know, I'm known for saying that MBTA architecture is of the Soviet style, but this is ridiculous.
The station is set on 2 levels.
You come in the headhouse, which is a nice glass and steel number, and into a cavernous concourse area. Really, it's like an airport in there. It's got to be 200 yards long, and is COMPLETELY EMPTY, save for the token booths and the turnstyles. Why bother with such a design if that's not even where people would wait for the bus? Anyway...
So I get off of the bus/train thing and go up to the concourse, where I notice that the turning barrier bit of one of the turnstyles is missing.
I walk through and go to the token taker to let her know.
Mind you, this station is about 6 months old, is rarely used, and shouldn't be breaking down already.
So I tell the woman about the broken turnstyle. The conversation went a bit like this:

TA: Hi. Did you know that there isn't a barrier on the turnstyle over there?

MBTA: Yeah. It's broken.

TA: I assumed that.

MBTA: I've actually got the piece right here.

TA: But who is stopping people from just walking through?

MBTA: Uhhh. Well, there are cameras.

Okey dokey.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hells Bells

Really, now, how old are the Silver Line buses? 6 months? 8 months?
How does a brand new piece of equipment not work properly?
What I'm talking about, kids, is the damned bell on the bus.
First off, there shouldn't even BE a bell.
The SL is supposedly 'Bus Rapid Transit', or BRT, in T parlance. Wouldn't you think that means that it's supposed to work like the trains in the system, i.e., stop at all stops, regardless of the location?
More than once I've gotten on the SL going to South Station, and it's been packed.
No big deal, except that when that happens, they decide that there is no way anyone on the bus wants to get off BEFORE South Station.
How stupid is that?
So I wanted to get off at Courthouse, where I was meeting people, and the bus just sped through the station, no announcement that it was express, nothing.
As I saw that the bus was not slowing down, I repeatedly hit the "Stop" strip on the window frame next to me, but nothing happened.
Of course, that means I had to go to SS, up and around to get to the southbound side, and then wait for another bus, making me 20 minutes late.

Friday, September 23, 2005

People Are Stupid

Got off the packed train last night around 6.45. When I say packed, I mean PACKED. I've never seen it that full that late in the commute.
I was on the last car, so I'd be closest to the doors to leave the station.
The platform has FOUR doors, set in 2 pairs.
The right pair leads primarily to the escalator, the left to the stairs.
As I said before, the train was packed, and there are FOUR doors to exit the platform area.
Of course, the idiots in front of me tried to squeeze through one of the two opened doors.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Quality Control

Check out this sign at Oak Grove.

A few things:

1) There is also a bus stop out there, which is not noted on the sign.
2) There is also taxi pick-up, passenger drop-off and pick-up, and a bus stop on the opposite side of the station, but there is no sign telling you that.

But the best part is the fact that while making this very amateur looking sign, they apparently forgot to proof it.

What is "pick" meant to convey to us?

Guitar pick?
Afro pick?
Oscar pick?
Are the curbs there good for skateboarding, and you could do a nosepick grind?

I mean, what is on their minds?

As an aside, there is also a bus stop "sign" on that side of the station that is written very professionally in sharpie, but i forgot to get a photo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Victorious Once Again!

TA helped out his buddy Mr. Mac by sending his letter (see post below under Red Line Rudeness) to the GM and Red Line chiefs. I signed it with my name so Mr. Mac could remain anonymous. Now, I'm sure the T people cringe when an email with my domain shows up in the mailbox, but I'm happy to have gotten a very quick, positive response from a certain Ms. Shirkus. Carry on....


Dear Mr. C,

Thank you for your email regarding Red Line service.

The behavior you describe is very disturbing, and completely
unacceptable. I am embarrassed by your encounter with this employee,
and offer my apologies for your mistreatment.

This mornings rush hour was adversely impacted by signal problems
between Park Street and Kendall. The signal system is designed to "fail
safe" when there is a problem, causing all trains in the area to stop.
When this occurs, trains must be manually blocked through the location
one at a time, at a restricted speed, maintaining safe braking distances
in the process. This unfortunately causes a residual "snowball" effect,
impacting a larger portion of the line.

I have taken the liberty of forwarding your email, along with this
response to the Red Line Superintendent's office for further review and
action. In the future if you witness a situation while onboard a
vehicle, please note the train number as it will assist us in our

Again, please accept my apologies for our failure to properly serve you
and if you have any questions or concerns regarding Red Line service,
please contact me at


Maureen Shirkus
Chief, Red Line Operations
45 High St. 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

Red Line Rudeness

It seems that Mr. Mac had a BAD commute today, which shouldn't really be a surprise, right kids?
Here's his tale...

I was on the Red Line today during 9:00AM rush hour, and it appears that the
T is not only completely incompetent (the train sat in the tunnel between
Charles and Park Street for quite a while with no A/C and no explanation of
the delay, only to repetitiously jerk to a start and then jerk to a stop
after about 10 feet of travel), but it appears that the T has also become
quite malicious. After the train finally pulled into Park Street, the doors
opened to let everyone off. Because the train was so packed with people by
virtue of the aforementioned delays, a good amount of people that did not
intend to get off of the train at Park Street had to get off of the train to
let people out. Once the Park Street destination riders were fully out of
the train, a significant amount of people were filing back into the now
relatively empty train along with people who had been waiting for the train
on the platform. Instead of letting people on the train, the conductor kept
closing and opening the doors in a chopping fashion, striking the passengers
entering the train with no warning. This went on for a full minute. I saw an
old woman get violently knocked in the head a few times while she was
trapped in the doorway- enough to disorient her, as well as some other
sturdier people get knocked off balance as they were trying to get on the
train. I expected, at the very least, to hear an announcement that the doors
would be closing and then re-opening, or that this train is out of service-
but no. The conductor kept saying "Use all of the cars, use all of the cars,
use all of the cars, use all of the cars" (?) in a mocking fashion as the
"chopping" was in full effect. What an absolute embarrassment.

Monday, September 19, 2005

How Will the Hipsters Get to Lansdowne?

Today we've got quite a story. This is a guest column from E-lo.

From Haymarket to Kenmore:
The ride on the Orange line to Haymarket was quite smooth, though I did almost punch an old man in the face for littering.

I had to switch to the Green, and Haymarket Station is retarded because you have to walk up and down about five flights of stairs to get to the track. I decided to ride to Haymarket, rather than switching at North Station, solely because I didn't want to wait on the platform with the littering old man. Yes, my OCD got me into a rut, but the point is: while I may be stupid for not just switching where it was easy, the T f'ed up.

---Note: the transfer to the Green at Haymarket is indeed the most retarded ever. Plus, when you get to what you THINK is the Green, it's really the Orange, going the opposite direction, and once you're on that platform, the signs to the Green stop.
For those of you interested in transfer between Orange and Green Inbound, switch at North Station, where both lines share a single platform---TA

In the span of 35 minutes about 4 trains came, and I'd say three were E's and the other was a C. I had a book, so I didn't mind waiting and holding out for a B but after the 4th train, I decided that I'd just jump on the next C or D that came through (I haven't been taking the T for too long, but up until now, the Green Line has never failed me. This trust, apparently, got me into trouble.)
Unfortunately, the next train had lost power and was being pushed from behind by another. These two pulled through and stopped at the red light, leaving just enough room for a C train to come out of the tunnel and open its doors. I'd say about 30 people got on that train, including several groups that were on their way to BC for the football game and had also been holding out for a B. Well, we stood around inside that train for about 10 minutes before they told us it was being taken out of service.
Behind this train, in the tunnel, was yet another train. FOUR TRAINS backed up in ONE STATION. And who knows what was going on west of us? Saturday night (and a Red Sox game) and the Green line was basically completely out of service? I waited around for another 10 minutes before spitting in the general direction of the train and running out of the station and into the rain. It was quite cinematic.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that Sovereign Bank's lone ATM near Faneuil Hall was playing with my head and my creepy taxi driver screwed me over. And now he knows where I live.

Thanks a lot MBTA!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Next Stop, Landfill Station

Man, does the Downtown Crossing Red Line platform STINK!
It's like they've set up a garbage transfer station right in the tunnel, and it's been like that for weeks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Different Perspective

Just got back from Paris, where I took the Metro a few times.
Clean stations, nice tiling, vs. the typical soviet style concrete - not cement, mr. mac - behemoths the T likes to build.
Who does the T hire as architects, do you think?
Anyway, the Metro was nice, but my god, is it HOT.
What is it with London and Paris? Don't they believe in A/C?
The other nice thing about the Metro is the price.
Only 1.40 Euros for a ride anywhere (except on the RER). When I was there the conversion rate meant that each ride was about $1.70, or 45 cents more than the T.
The Metro is also much, much larger than the T, and has digital signs in every station telling you when the next train is coming.
So, when the T tries to tell you that $1.25 is a good rate for a ride, remember this:


Thursday, September 01, 2005

And An Idiot Shall Lead Them

There is bustitution going on right now between Haymarket and Oak Grove on the Orange line, after 9pm, weekdays.
You would think that this wouldn't be that big of a deal, unless you were trying to get home from a Red Sox game at night.
There were 2 trainloads of people at Haymarket, and NO buses.
When I asked the lone T guy when the bus was coming, he said, "We've got 8 buses, they can't all be here at the same time."


What idiots. You would think that they would have 20 buses, considering they only hold about 50 people each.
Here's a tip, when you bus people from downtown to the suburbs, how about having several buses making short loops from Haymarket to Community College, and express buses going from Haymarket to Wellington and beyond?
Almost nobody got off the bus until Wellington anyway.

Can't I have anything nice?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Idiotic, Yet Annoying


Here's a tip for the Silver Line bus drivers that are making the loop back into the tunnel:

When you see an "inspector" at the loop, don't stop the bus to shoot the shit. Today the driver decided to stop - remember, this is a timed, scheduled transit system, not a cab - and talk to the inspector.
Not about problems with the bus, but about PAT BENATAR.
I almost screamed at him to get the lead out.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Orange Crush

I've actually not had too bad a time on the T the last few days.
Now, it's not like me to not be angry about something, so I've got a solution. In the event that I'm not pissed off, I may post a rant from a great friend, whom we can all refer to as Mr. Mac.
Mr. Mac has been quite pissed the last few days, so here you go...


Don't you run into problems on the Orange Line? I'm there
about 5:20 every night and I would say at least 1/3 of the time it's a
complete embarrassment.

Last week it was unbelievably packed with people on the way home that every
side of me was squished up against someone else. I literally had lint on the
side of my shirt from the guy's shirt who was packed up against me. Only
about 1/2 the people at Downtown Crossing (including me) were able to get on
the train and at the next 3 stops nobody was able to get on. So, we finally
pull into Wellington and there was the usual mass exodus, and lo and behold-
there was a crackhead laying over 3 seats completely asleep allowing no one
to sit down and making the already bad situation worse. I could tell he was
a crackhead, because when he finally woke up right before Malden, he opened
up his eyes and the whites of his eyes were the dark grays of his eyes.

It's been two nights in a row with people all the way from the edge of the platform to the back of the platform with 2/3 of them not being able to get on the train
at Downtown Crossing. And, no one at State through Sullivan Square was able
to get on the train after that. No announcements- nothing. Only the T-driver
yelling at people to get out of the doorway. Only you can make a difference,
Transport Avenger.

Monday, August 22, 2005



I can't believe it. After only a week of back and forth emails with the Silver Line chief, they fixed their mistake, and added Silver Line Way to the maps, and took off the non-existant 'Convention Center' stop.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Folk That

RAVE - Maybe

Ok, I know I said that I was done talking about the SL maps, but look at what I got in my email today. I think this guy may actually be heeding my advice.


Dear Mr. C,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the maps at Court House Station. I
will be addressing these issues today.


James M. Folk
Division Chief of Silver Line Operations
45 High Street
Boston, MA 02110
(tel.) 617-222-4741
(fax.) 617-222-5302


Mr. Folk,

I'd like to bring your attention to the maps at
Courthouse Station.
I noticed today that there is a 'Convention
Center' stop listed after Courthouse, when in
fact, the next stop is 'World Trade Center'. I
know you can access the convention center via the
bridge next to the WTC, and that this was probably
an error in the planning stages of the line.
I read the article about maps being updated, and
I'll believe it when I see it, but this should be
fixed by a quick $5 trip to Kinko's.
I know that I'd be pretty upset if I were at
Courthouse, trying to get to World Trade Center,
only to look at the map and see that it didn't exist!



Tuesday, August 16, 2005

That's All I Have To Say About That


If you look below a few posts, you'll see an exchange between me and a certain Mr. Folk regarding Silver Line Station maps. At one point I asked about a blank area at the WTC station map, to which Mr. Folk replied:

"As far as the blank space you see on the existing map at WorldTrade Center Station, that is for a possible routing that will go into effect in the future."
I took his word for it.
So today I'm on the SL, and we pull into Courthouse Station, where I notice that the map has a stop listed in the area that is blank on the WTC copy. The problem is that this stop is listed as "Convention Center" and it doesn't actually exist!
See my drawing above for an example. Note that I drew this myself, so as not to incur the wrath of the MBTA copyright police by using an official map.

So I was told:

"We just noticed the mistake, new decals are being produced."

which changed to:

"We don't always put surface stops on the maps."

& now:

As far as the blank space you see on the existing map at WorldTrade Center
Station, that is for a possible routing that will go into effect in the future."

All of which are seemingly LIES, or even worse, incorrect answers from some T flunky who really has no clue about what is going on.
From what I gather, WTC was maybe originally going to be called Convention Center.
Then they made the maps up wrong, and instead of fixing them, put a (very professional) white sticker over the CC stop in one station.
However, they never put it in the other station, so if you get on the Silver Line at Courthouse, and want to get off at Convention Center, watch out! There is no stop there, or rather, they were supposed to have put "Silver Line Way" in that space, and the T can't admit the mistake!
What do you supposed Mr. Folk was on about anyway?
Does he even know what happens on his teeny-tiny branch of the system?



Monday, August 15, 2005

Map This!


I can't believe it. While it's clearly not just because of me, I'd like to think that I've had a hand in getting the T off their asses to fix this problem.
Oh, and BTW, if they're planning on just going over the maps with a decal, there is no way that they cost $40 each. I worked for a swag company for a bit, and these things cost less than $10 if you buy one, so I'm sure they'd get a deal.
However, being the MBTA, they probably gave the job to a relative's company, and get a kickback.
Is that slander?

Friday, August 12, 2005

But They Promised!


Tip for Red Line travellers: Bring your raincoats.....

Those of you that know me probably saw this post coming from a mile away.
In today's Metro, the frontpage headline states that the ever-so-smart MBTA has hired Parsons Brinkerhoff to inspect Red Line tunnels.
Even people not in the Boston area must have heard of the Bechtel/Parsons/Brinkerhoff DEBACLE with the Big Dig (
Basically, they screwed up, and covered up, and any other type of up, and now the $14 BILLION project LEAKS.
I said it LEAKS.
It's a tunnel under the city.
And now the MBTA has hired the same firm to inspect and repair the tunnels on the Red Line.
A spokesperson from the T said that, due to concerns regarding Big Dig mismanagement, the T revised the P/B contract to alleviate concerns.
So basically, they made P/B promise not to get shady on this project.
Can you imagine finding out that a contractor botched a job on your neighbors house, and then hiring them for work on your house?
At this point, nothing the T does should shock me, but this takes the cake.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Saw Something, Said Something, Got Nothing

I wrote to the MBTA Chief of Police, Green line, Orange line, Tom Menino, and Mitt Romney about the following incident that happened 3 days after the first London bombings.
I only got a response from Mitt Romney.
The Governor of MA.
I guess he's got less to do than some MBTA hacks.
While it was very cool to get the letter from such a high office, it was overshadowed by the fact that nobody at the T gave a damn to even respond with so much as a form letter.
Here's my letter:

My family was traveling from Oak Grove to BU on Sunday, July 10.
As my wife, sister-in-law and I waited on the North Station inbound platform to board a Green Line train, there was an incident involving a suspicious man and a bag.
Apparently, the man either dropped or threw his bag on the Green Line tracks, just as a Heath St. bound train came into the station.
Another passenger alerted the train driver, who got on his phone, presumably to call the police.
We weren't really sure what was going on, but the man and the train driver were having an argument about the bag. At one point the man got on the train and proceeded to try to get into the drivers area.
The driver finally persuaded the man to leave the train.
Approximately 20 minutes had passed from the time the train pulled into the station and the Transit Police arriving.

Twenty minutes.

Why didn't the police arrive immediately, especially after the London bombings mere days ago?
The MBTA and the Governor have been saying the patrols of the system have been increased, yet there was not one officer at North Station, nor at Downtown Crossing on our way back out of the city.
The only difference was the announcements from Romney to say something if you see it.
Well, look how long it took the police to respond to the driver of a train saying something.

I've been taking the T almost every day for sixteen years, pass through major stations such as North Station, Downtown Crossing, and South Station, and not once have I seen an MBTA officer on the platforms.
If there are ten officers in South Station milling about on the concourse, how is that going to deter someone from leaving a bag on a train?

There should be officers on the platforms, as well as in the cars if you're really looking to protect the riders.

Technology and Idiots


I don't normally ride the bus, but if it's too hot and I didn't bike to the T, I'll hop on one if it happens to be there when I get off the train.
So last night I get to the station, and there's a bus pulling in. There are 2 bus routes that go near my house, one of which terminates at the Reading depot.
It's one of those newer buses with the GPS announcements, so the driver just has to drive. We pull out, and we're driving along, and periodically, the bus announces where it will terminate, which, as I said before, is Reading depot. For those of you not from the Boston area, the town is pronounced 'Redding', not 'Reeding'. The T would check this before they put very expensive, technologically advanced buses in service, wouldn't they?
I guess they wouldn't.
The bus announces, proudly, 'Route 136, REEDING depot'.
Isn't there any quality control at the MBTA?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Make A Mistake, Lie, Then Backpedal


A few weeks back I emailed the head of the Silver and Red lines to ask why the Silver Line Way stop was not listed on the new maps in South Station, or on the walls of Courthouse or WTC.

This response I got originally was that they just noticed the missing stop, and new decals were on the way.
Doesn't the T have a someone to proof the map before they make a dozen metal signs?
Just yesterday I got a second reponse, and here it is, along with my rebuttal, and yet another response from the T.
Dear Mr. C.,

Thank you for your email regarding New Station Maps.

While the MBTA does not include all surface stops on station maps, I
appreciate your suggestion and will consider it as we move forward on
updating our station maps.

Thank you,

James M. Folk
Deputy Division Chief - Transportation


Mr Folk,

You can't be serious.
I understand that all the surface stops on the Green Line are not
listed, as there are far too many, but the Silver Line Way stop is a
major stop, the first out of the tunnel.
This just seems that someone at the T wasn't paying attention, and now
they're back pedaling. If the stop wasn't meant to be listed, then why,
in the World Trade Center station, do the maps have a blank area in
between WTC and Airport?


Dear Mr. C.,

As the newly appointed Division Chief of Silver Line Operations, I will
take your suggestion very seriously. I too have noticed areas where we
can improve the public information on the Silver Line. As a matter of
fact, I was out on the Silver Line Waterfront yesterday for that sole
purpose. As far as the blank space you see on the existing map at World
Trade Center Station, that is for a possible routing that will go into
effect in the future.

Again, thank you for your suggestion.


James M. Folk

Thursday, August 04, 2005



I mean, really. How difficult is it to say the names of the interchange lines?
Downtown Crossing intersects the Red, Orange, Green and Silver (Roxbury branch) lines.
Maybe once every ten journeys does the conducter state this. It's always "Change here for the Red line". That's it. Does it take that much more effort to say "Change here for the Red, Green and Silver lines" ?
I wish I was a tourist. That way when I didn't hear my interchange listed, I could go to the conductor window and punch him in the mouth.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005



On the way home last night, it was nice to hear the announcer - whose only job is to state the name of the upcoming station, and to open and shut the doors - actually saying the station names.
When we pulled into my stop, he even told us we were waiting for a train to leave so we could enter- "You'll see it pull by us on the left side momentarily".


Buying a T Pass


Last night I stopped in South Station to buy my August T Pass. Typically, the line was out into the lobby, and only 3 out of 4 windows were open. However, there were 4 "helpful" customer service agents standing near the end of the line.
I looked in, saw 2 out of 4 windows opened, groaned, and turned to the agents for some help.
"Oh, no. The middle one that says closed is really open.", she said.
"Why does it say closed then?"
"Oh. Well, that person is only selling monthly passes, no single tickets for the commuter rail."
"So why doesn't the sign just say Monthly Passes Only then"?
"I don't know."


So I get in line, and get up to the first window, where I ask - politely - for a subway pass. The guy says, "We sold out at this window, you'll have to go to one of the other windows."

After I bought the pass, I - politely - told the agent that maybe they should split the line up into 3 different lines, as the divider is customizable. Maybe that would solve some of the problem. The response?
"Oh. Well, the manager isn't here today, so we wouldn't know how to do that."


On another note, I do have to say that there was actual police presence in the lobby. Of course, all SEVEN cops were standing in a circle talking and drinking coffee. So for all your nutters out there, just find the group of cops, and do your thing at the opposite end of the station.


the 411

The start of something grandiose....or something.
Let's start with the glaringly obvious, the T is run by inept fools who wouldn't know a good transit system if it ran them down with a train.
So today I start my rant - and occasional rave - about the T.
More often than not, the area covered will be the Orange Line, as that's the one I travel on most frequently.
Stay tuned...