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A Tobin takedown, and mTicketing musings

Posted by Nichole Davis  November 16, 2012 10:00 AM

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Thanks for all your comments and feedback on the last entry! I know the 128 issue can be a somewhat controversial and occasionally divisive issue... I'll have more on it next week. In the meantime, keep your thoughts on the 128 project coming; I'm always curious to see what you have to say.

I have some news today about the Tobin bridge construction, and I was able to get some answers to reader comments on the new mTicketing commuter rail system. Plus, of course, below the cut is the usual list of construction and MBTA diversions.


Do you know when the Tobin bridge construction is ending?
Jeff, Topsfield
(and about twelve other readers, understandably so)

I think I can say, collectively, that the majority of North Shore commuters I know that take the Tobin in and out of the city are thisclose to fed up with the delays from the construction - not only that, but the reconfiguration of the toll booths we talked about recently that's been causing even heavier delays.

I'm happy to say that I have heard from the DOT on a dismantling-date for the construction pattern that's been put in place up there since this summer.
They say everything will temporarily clean up no later than the first week of December, barring any unforeseen inclement weather or catastrophe. I haven't heard exactly when they'll be re-setting up the construction, but the tentative timeline on that is sometime late in the spring next year.

Remember, this opening of lanes is only a temporary thing, as the painting and repairs on the bridge are set to restrict traffic from time to time until 2014. Here's an entry from June with more details.

So, Tobin commuters, rejoice! - and prepare to enjoy only somewhat horrific traffic through the winter months. (That is, except for all that nasty weather we're supposed to get, according to those farmers ...)
Some follow-up on mTicketing

Earlier this week, we discussed the new commuter rail mobile ticketing system that rolled out over the past few days north of town. (Which, again, is set to be in place south of the city and on ferries around Thanksgiving.) I received a few questions in the comments and decided to pass them on to Joshua Robin, Director of Innovation at the MBTA.

jedonnel wrote:
It would be nice to know what kind of data/gps is needed for the activation of the ticket. The website says to activate the ticket as you're boarding and that it is good until you reach your destination - this is presumably regulated by your phones location. But what happens when the train goes through a dead spot for service and loses access to that information? Are you expected to connect to the T wifi too (which takes so long to get on to that it's not worth it on shorter rides)? The T's FAQ section doesn't address this.

and Joshua replied:

You do not need data or GPS to activate the ticket. We designed the app specifically so that once you buy a ticket, you do not need a connection to use it.

Another question, from digitalAdam:

I like the idea of the mTicket program, but I'm a Windows Phone user, and so far they don't show any intention of supporting that platform. I wish they had a web version that could be used on any mobile device.
(I tend to agree - there's still plenty of people who use Blackberry, too, and other non-Android-or-iPhone phones.)

and Joshua replied:

We are considering Windows Phone as an option. As we see adoption of the platform grow, we plan to consider adopting the platform next year.

I got an email the other day with some good news from Joe Pesaturo, the spokesman for the MBTA. Apparently riders are eating the new program up - as of Wednesday, the app had been downloaded 6,000 times since the release Monday morning! That amounts to just about $10,000 in ticket sales in two days alone.

Have you used the mTicketing app? If you have, what do you like or not like about it? Leave your feedback in the comments.
MBTA Matters

Time for you Cambridge-Somerville riders to have to endure some Red Line busing... all service between Harvard and Alewife will be shuttled for the next four weekends from the start of service Saturday to the end of service Sunday. The shuttle buses will make all stops. What's the reason? The T says crews have to do necessary maintenance work on the "Floating Slab" project, which you can learn more about here.

Don't forget, we still have our usual Orange Line busing in place until the end of the year - that schedule puts you on shuttles Sundays through Thursdays from 9:00 PM to the end of service, except for nights where there are major events at the Garden. This, of course, is all for work on the Assembly Square project. Shuttles make all stops there, too.
You'll find slowdowns here...

Route 1 in both directions at Route 129, Lynnfield: the left lane will be closed for ongoing work Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Route 2A at 128, Lexington: watch for lane closures in the rotary for work Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Mass Pike eastbound over 391, Chicopee: the median and shoulder will be closed for ongoing bridge work until further notice.

Route 9 eastbound at the Hammond Pond Parkway, Newton: expect heavy delays due to ongoing paving work Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Route 128 northbound between Route 109 (Exit 16) and Great Plain Avenue (Exit 18), Dedham - Needham: ongoing road widening project blocks the left lane through most weekday middays and overnights. Expect significant delays and possible blockages of the active breakdown lane.

North Harvard Street over the Larz Anderson Bridge: Continual lane closures are in effect in both directions for bridge reconstruction work. No left turn onto Memorial Drive from JFK Street.

Tobin Bridge in both directions: Watch for continual lane closures as DOT crews continue to paint the bridge. These will be in effect until November.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Nichole Davis is a Boston-based traffic reporter and news anchor. She’s been seen and heard on television and radio airwaves across New England since 2003, providing commuters with all the More »

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