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A week passes on the MBTA with only one reason to brag

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 26, 2012 05:18 PM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

All these people are waiting for their train to come and none of them can find anything to #MBTAbrag about? Oh. Wait. That completely makes sense.

A week passes on the MBTA with only one reason to brag

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Oct 26 2012 14:35:53

For as long as the Twitter hashtag #MBTAbrag has existed, it has been scorned. Some people have doubted whether there was ever really any reason to brag about the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, an agency whose buses and trains are frequently overcrowded, overheated, delayed, or even derailed.

Others have used #MBTAbrag facetiously, to point out bad behavior or mock riders' perpetually low expectations of the system.

But this is the first week in #MBTAbrag's nine months of life that only one rider out of many thousands on the entire system has found a reason to use the hashtag. Herewith, the one and only #MBTAbrag tweet of the past seven days:
Did the 101 just get to the station 6 minutes EARLY?! This is a once in a lifetime occurrence, people. Let us give thanks. #MBTAbragJeannie Rodriguez
That's it, folks. One bus showed up six minutes early last Saturday night. That, apparently, is the single positive experience that anyone had -- or cared to tweet about, anyway -- on the MBTA in the last week.

No one should take that as a sign that general interest in tweeting about the MBTA is waning, though. Certainly there was no shortage of negative tweets.

A couple of this week's #MBTAannoy tweeters expressed their overall dissatisfaction with the system:
@mbta & @mbcr are to Boston commuters as #1percent is to #thenation - Doing Less with Much More. #MBTAannoy http://ow.ly/eHj0YClyde McLeon
Maybe I should start leaving an hour earlier than normal so I can make it to work on time #MBTAannoyRobert
Another had several pointed questions about the T's finances:
@mbtagm #Curiosi(T)y campaign: how much did that cost? #mbta #mbtaausterity #mbtaannoylablu∞z
@mbtagm Countdown Clocks: how much did they cost? #mbta #mbtaausterity #mbtaannoylablu∞z
@mbtagm Refusing backdoor exit to canes & strollers: how much will that AA/EO suit cost? #mbta #mbtaausterity #mbtaannoylablu∞z
Carrie, here, was inquisitive about a matter more purely aesthetic:
Why does the Charlie Card guy look like half of his face was melted off with acid? #MBTAannoyCarrie Fletcher
But in the midst of this negativity, at least one rider seems to hold onto a sliver of hope that Beverly Scott, who was named the authority's new general manager last month, can improve the system, or at least understand its problems:
Heres hoping the new woman in charge of the #mbta subscribes to @mbta_alerts so she can see what a mess our system is #mbtaAnnoyJennifer O'Neil
One thing that Scott probably can't improve, though, is the rude and sometimes downright inexplicable behavior of many of the system's passengers.
It makes me so angry when people smoke in the bus shelters! #mbtaannoyJulie Nolan
...why do ppl argue with the bus drivers when the drivers say pay your fare or get off the bus? #mbtaannoyzeenell
Kid there are plenty of seats so sit down & stop blocking the door when you move to let people in I get your backpack in my face #mbtaannoyrev8056
Did you know big bags and purses take up 25% more of the space on the T? #mbtaannoyHarry Chiu
You're bringing a bike on the #orangeline ? Why don't you do something like ride it to your destination..... #MBTAannoyCity Girl
If you have to put money on your card, get on the bus last! #mbtaannoyJulie Nolan
Dear people who put their makeup while riding the T. Stop. Sincerely, everyone else. #mbtaannoy #TtimeKristen
Of course some problems with behavior are the result of the MBTA and the Commuter Rail not enforcing their own rules.
Just had to move out of the quiet car because it was too noisy. Mbta does not take this seriously #mbtafail #mbtaannoy #giantstrollerscharlene mcbride
Quiet car fail again. Twin sisters on the phone #mbtaannoy #mbtafail how come their phones work where mine drops the signal?charlene mcbride
Charlene, were the sisters talking to each other? 
Rude behavior makes everyone's commute worse, but any regular passenger on the T can understand that some passengers are likely to be a little more gruff due to their frustration over delayed arrivals and slow-moving trains.
I'm about to jump off this train and hop on the express.... why aren't we moving this is the 5:10 train, right? It's 5:21!!!! #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
Have a bad feeling re: missing commuter train tonight. Waiting on orange line; no sign yet. Better not be the 2nd time this week. #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
Late 86 + traffic + bus broke down = 90 mins to travel 3.5 miles. Wish I'd walked, even in the rain. #mbtaannoygehenna
Bus has not come in literally over an hour. I have done a week's worth of grocery shopping in the time the 66 took to show up. #MBTAannoyAnita Carter
I've had to wait three trains already at Sullivan. #mbtaannoy #imgoingbacktobedKrista Marie
Really 86 bus? Almost 20 min late? Thanks for a great start to the day @mbtaGM #MBTAannoyCaitlin
I love when the #mbta makes me late for work... Said no one ever #mbtaannoyLauren B
Second time in a week that a 4-mile trip has taken me over an hour because of a broken-down bus/train. #mbtaannoygehenna
@mbtaGM got to chiswick rd stop at 11:40, train just came. #ridiculous #MBTAannoyChelsea Fortin
While many riders complained about delays, this was an especially rough week for Michelle, it seems:
@mbtagm would love to get to work on time. If only #mbta commuter rail would cooperate. Ever. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
@mbtagm love the comm rail alert system. Most recent update: train to depart Beverly 6:41am. It's 7:13am at Salem and no train. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
@mbtagm can I get a refund for the week? Nbryport/Rport late every day. Pushing 30 mins today. No recourse for riders. Ugh. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
And poor Alyssa didn't fare much better. She dealt with both long-delayed trains and ill-mannered fellow passengers.
Waited almost 20 min for an inbound train at Washington St. Guess that's "normal" according to the MBTA website. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
Same story today-almost 20 mins and no sign of an inbound B line. Except now I'm going to be late for work. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
Just watched this guy drop his trash all over the train. In fact he made an effort to stick his apple sticker to the floor. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
While many riders each week complain about trains moving too slowly, occasionally there's just the opposite problem:
Subway drivers drive way too fast!!! No wonder the green line derailed. #MBTAannoy #mbtaCity Girl
City Girl seems to have a number of issues with the way MBTA conductors do their jobs.
I could say this everyday. These subway drivers need to go back to driving school. Unacceptable. #MBTA #MBTAannoyCity Girl
Did the subway driver really just slam the brakes to talk to another worker? #MBTAannoyCity Girl
Of course, she's not alone in her concerns about MBTA staff behavior.
Bus driver is clipping his nails while waiting at light. Didn't know u needed pristine nails 2 operate a bus & it's just gross #MBTAannoyJohn Griffin
And what do all those delays lead? Overcrowding, of course. 
Once again, Michelle will elaborate:
Is the #mbta orange line running fewer trains? Every rush hour train is packed. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
You could close the doors if the 2 trains before didn't each have 2 cars closed off #mbta #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
But delays aren't the only cause of packed trains -- sometimes a train just randomly has fewer cars in it:
Short train Friday... seats are occupied with commuters left standing #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
For all those left waiting at a street corner or on a subway platform, being on an overcrowded bus or train is probably better than not being on one at all.
Standing-room-only-but-still-room-to-stand 66 just flew by NOT followed by another. If I didn't already have a migraine... #mbtaannoyĀ ArchivingAloud
But is it better than being on a train that just sits?
Got to love when the train just stops. For 10 minutes with no reason. Must be Thursday. #mbtaannoyKristen
And what about all the trains and buses that pass as you wait endlessly for the one that never comes?
2 inbound B trains, 2 57 buses. Not a single outbound B train for 20+ minutes. #mbtaannoyDave
All those delays can be worsened by malfunctioning equipment:
Hey @mbtagm the Salem commuter rail train is prob late because only 2 sets of doors open for the 1000 people trying to board #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
But that's only one problem the MBTA's aging conveyances can cause.
#MBTAannoy'd that the heat is on this B Line during this Indian Summer DayKevin Krueger
64 degrees outside so the heat has to be turned on? It's about 85 degrees in this redline car. Who makes these decisions? #mbtaAnnoy #mbtaJennifer O'Neil
It must be a technical problem, right? No one could be turning the heat on intentionally, could they?

If you catch a dastardly MBTA employee purposefully setting a train full of passengers to simmer slowly as the train creeps along, be sure to tweet about it using #MBTAannoy, preferably with photographic evidence. 
And if you see something positive -- anything, really, you don't have to be picky! -- tweet about it, and include the underused #MBTAbrag.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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