Greetings to you!
I'm back (a day late, admittedly) with an answer to a reader's question about what happens with the commuter rail trains during Sox home games. We'll also talk a bit about a new list out comprised of some highly-regarded transportation apps... and if you were wondering what the heck happened in Kenmore Square today regarding the MBTA, we'll talk about that too.
Tomorrow I'll be back with your usual outside-Boston traffic delays, and I'll also have your weekend MBTA diversions.
To the mailbag!
"On Red Sox game nights, there is a Worcester/Framingham Commuter rail train that departs SS at 10:20 and stops at Yawkey. Which sounds great. Except that there is a very nebulous policy about holding the train due to wait for the Sox game. No conductor has ever been able to tell me what the actual policy is.
I have left many games early to catch that train, only to wait at Yawkey for the train for 30 mins. One conductor told me there is a MBTA employee at the game making the call.
Why can't the T just publish a policy, e.g. if it is in the ninth inning when the train is scheduled to leave, it will wait 20 mins. Something very clear so that those at the game could make the decision of when to leave. And why can't the train wait at Yawkey instead of South Station or Back Bay so those of us waiting can sit down..."
Seemingly everything's hard to pinpoint involving the Sox these days - if we'll win or lose, who's coming and going, and, depending on how it goes, when the games will end. Especially in crappy weather, not knowing when you're going to get home is a very frustrating prospect, indeed.
I spoke to Scott Farmelant from the MBCR, and he told me that MBTA policy is to hold that Worcester-bound train (#P537, specifically) for up to 20 minutes after the conclusion of the Sox home games. The policy is set for 9 inning games, but there are officials monitoring the weather and talking to Sox officials to see if they should modify that time during every game.
Scott says that in extra-special situations, the train crews will talk to the Operation Control Center to figure out if they have to push out that 20 minute period to something closer to half an hour or 45 minutes. He says, though, that rarely happens.
So no worries about leaving those games early, pbt - especially if we're actually winning! (grumble) If you need a link to the schedule, check it out here.
Get around, I get around
Earlier in the summer (has it been that long already?!), I posted an entry about the best apps (or, at least, my favorites) to get around the city more effectively on public transit. Now, Mashable has released a list of ten of their favorite apps to get around the country, be it in your car, on a train, on a bike, or otherwise.
Included in the write-ups is an app that really piqued my curiosity. It's called ParkMobile, and is available for both iPhone and Android. Essentially, the app finds your location and searches around for open parking spots in both public and private spaces (e.g. parking lots or garages). It's tailored to use around populated spots, such as sports arenas, as well as on your basic city meter.
According to the article:
The app also sends you a notification 15 minutes before your parking expires, and there is even a feature to export your costs as a business expense if you are traveling for work.
Very cool! Other apps I dug in the article are Waze, which uses crowdsourcing to provide real-time traffic and allows you to talk to other users on the system while you drive, and Roadify, which uses social media and other resources to provide up-to-the-minute delays and service changes on city transit.
I already use HopStop and Zipcar, both of which have worked out well for me. HopStop was pretty critical for me one evening in New York City - I would have been clueless trying to navigate from LaGuardia to my hotel in Midtown using only transit without it. I also have a Zipcar account and use it quite a bit. (And no, neither app paid me to say any of these things - just personal experience!)
Check out the whole list here.
Ticketing terror (allegedly)
What a mess in Kenmore Square today... this, after a routine ticketing session went awry.
According to police, around 8:15 this morning, an MBTA bus was sitting in the left-turn lane at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Brookline Avenue, right in the middle of Kenmore Square. That's a no-standing zone, FYI. The bus sitting there was starting to hold up traffic in an already busy area. A Boston Transportation Department supervisor pulled up and went to go give the driver, who the MBTA identifies as Lataria Milton, a ticket.
Transit police say what happened next still remains to be fully determined, but as the supervisor was standing in front of the bus, the bus reportedly jerked forward and hit the BTD officer. According to the Globe, the supervisor suffered some injuries, but they were non-life-threatening.
The story continues, though... police say the bus continued to lurch forward. It then pushed two other cars already stopped ahead of it right into each other. Those two cars suffered some pretty intense damage but the drivers were reportedly okay.
MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo says Milton was trying to drive around the BTD supervisor when she hit the cars ... but he doesn't give much explanation as to why she was trying to avoid the woman giving her a ticket. Either way, Milton is now facing drug and alcohol tests and is currently suspended from driving her normal route.
(My $.02: should be interesting to see why, exactly, she felt the need to move, when she hadn't minded idling for some time in the travel lane up until then.)
Were you stuck in the heavy delays around Kenmore Square today? What do you think of this whole bus debacle?
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