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...