The T

The T (Boston's subway system) is an interesting beast. Generally I do not have that many complaints — the lines and routes I take are generally pretty reliable. (In fact, I live where I live because I have access to what is arguably the most reliable light rail line.) But a couple of interesting things happened in the last week.

Tuesday, getting off at Hynes for the PLA conference, a T worker handed me a brochure promoting their "see something, say something" safety campaign. You know, "if you see an abandoned backpack making ticking sounds, here's a number to call; we hope if that happens that you have a cell phone and you're not in an underground station, because there are no emergency phones."

I would just like to say that when I do see something, there is never anyone around to say something to. Now, I've never been encountered with something that threatened my safety. Just really annoying things like a guy peeing in a stairwell at Park Street and many and various jerks smoking on underground platforms, and my personal favorite, in red line cars. Transit cops and T workers are never anywhere to be found at these moments. But on Tuesday, at some key stops where lots of out-of-towners were getting on and off, they were out in force, handing out these lovely brochures. Which, of course, littered the sidewalk and stairwell.

But Saturday was better. Saturday it took me an hour and 15 minutes to get from Davis to Copley, and that's with NO WAIT for the green line. This is a trip that, if you time it badly and have to wait for the red line and again for the green, should take you maybe 45 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. Something went wrong between Harvard and Alewife, so they were running a single train back and forth on that part of the track (4 stops total). At Harvard, if you were continuing in either direction, you had to switch trains. Why they didn't just run a loop of bus shuttles between Harvard and Alewife is beyond me. They chose instead this rather confusing and annoying tactic.

In Sunday's Globe there was a very short writeup in the "New Engalnd In Brief" section. Apparently, very early Saturday morning, a train derailed at Alewife. OK, fine. Here's the great part. According to MBTA officials, the derailment caused "slight delays" along that stretch of the track. What's a slight delay to you? I certainly don't consider a 30 minute addition to my commute a "slight delay." But, at least they seemed to have made the repairs quickly — things were back to normal on Monday. 

Let's not even go near the subject of escalators, which, once you see one out of service, you know it will intermittently be out of service for a minimum of three weeks. Shaking my faith in him, the head T guy (whom a friend of mine campaigned for a few years ago, for a different gov't job) renewed the contract with the same escalator service company when it expired a year or so ago. So far I haven't really seen any big improvements. 

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