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...