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Every day with the MBTA is a new adventure

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 12, 2012 12:24 PM

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bags on Orange Line Oct 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Proper seating at a dinner party is boy-girl-boy-girl. But proper seating on a crowded MBTA train is not person-bag-person-bag.

Every day with the MBTA is a new adventure

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Oct 12 2012 09:35:11

Like many things in life, each rider's relationship with the MBTA is determined in large part by his or her attitude. 


Walk onto the T feeling crabby and expecting the worst, and you probably aren't going to enjoy the ride. But clamber onto your bus or train feeling upbeat and determined to make the best of whatever you encounter, and you may find the experience much more pleasant. 


Unless you get stuck in a tunnel for a couple of hours, or your trolley derails and hits another trolley. Optimism probably isn't much help then. 
This #MBTAannoy tweet sums up what is probably a healthy attitude toward the T -- cheerful but a bit impatient: 
Every day with the #MBTA is a new adventure. Unfortunately, I'm not Indiana Jones and I've got places to be, so hurry up! #MBTAannoysnowgray
The next tweet, sent in response to a message encouraging readers to use #MBTAannoy and #MBTAbrag, represents another common view:
@YourBeaconHill you're better off asking the level of #MBTAannoy rather than annoy or brag...Is anyone's commute on the #MBTA ever good?Robert
Positive attitude or not, the T can be frustrating at times, and many riders have compared it unfavorably to transit systems in other cities. 


Look at this next tweet, for instance, and the accompanying photo that looks like a still from the 1976 film "Logan's Run." It may be a little dated now, but you could eat dinner off that tunnel. 
Scrupulously clean, frequent, ontime subways in Washington, DC. Why can't Boston follow suit? #MBTA #MBTAannoy @MBTAgm http://pic.twitter.com/sM8lbqDIRob Molla
there's a #mbtaannoy tag and the first tweet was about how the dc subway was clean and ontime and how boston should follow suit. i laughedzeenell
The MBTA rarely inspires such admiration, nor does it often provoke nostalgia. 
I will not miss taking the silver line to work #MBTAannoyLBNathan
Though it can remind you of bygone days. 
"Oh look- a pay phone! Told ya Fenway's filled with History. #MBTAbrag" @ MBTA Fenway Station [pic]: http://4sq.com/VZatLw #foursquareSupahFans.com
And while rarely praised for its cleanliness or speed, the T has earned its own superlatives. 
#MBTAannoy no one hates their public transportation quite as much as the people of Boston. =] #damnTSammi
It has even found ways to ruin the Internets. 
I was trying to use Google street view to find a building, but this huge MBTA bus kept blocking the Google car. #mbtaannoy #newanddifferentsnowgray
Why do residents of Greater Boston feel as they do about the T? Let us count the ways. 


For one thing, the MBTA not infrequently does things that just don't make any sense. As two of the tweeters below ask, what's the point? 
Since when does the 66 bus turn into a 57 during its route? Wasted a transfer and a lot of time getting home today. #mbtaannoyMonica Kosmonica
Wow. People were trying to get on a lechmere t at gov center and the doors were shut on them. That is egregious. #mbtaannoylauren
Cannot believe mbta green line operators are so pathetic and bored that they need to prohibit people from boarding an empty car. #mbtaannoylauren
What's the point of having new Charlie cards at only select locations?II have to travel on my $ to get a new card when mine dies?#MBTAannoyRobert
So this means that my bus left EARLY with nobody on it?? #mbtafail #MBTAannoy Want to kill somebody now.Jack Freeman
What is the point of a sophisticated, computerized system if it serves no purpose?? #mbtafail #MBTAannoy Don't try to con us.Jack Freeman
There were a variety of reasons to be frustrated with the MBTA this week. For at least a couple of riders, the authority's Columbus Day schedule left something to be desired. 
Looks like the #mbta doesn't want me to get into work early. Apparently "holiday schedule" means not driving a full route. #MBTAannoyIlena Ryan
20 minute wait for a D and then one car train (!!) too full to board? Never change MBTA, never change #MBTAannoyEagleinBrighton
One tweeter, though, enjoyed the relative quiet on (most of) the system. 
I wish life operated on a holiday schedule like rush hour traffic does. Today was so easy! (aside from the E-Line crash) #MBTAbragCarey Mercier
The regular weekday service wasn't necessarily a lot better. 
The first functional train out Braintree moves slowly down the tracks guess T felt everyone east late enough #mbta #mbtaGM #mbtaannoyrev8056
They really should speed up service at lunch for all lines. I waste my lunch break waiting. #MBTAannoyCity Girl
Once again sitting on ANOTHER disabled red line train. Have to be in Porter by 9:30 for class #mbtaAnnoyJennifer O'Neil
You know it's bad news when the commuter rail screens don't display an ETA for your train until its already late #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
Rush hour and 15 mins between red line trains. #MBTAannoyJeannie W.
And as always, those slow trains quickly become packed trains. 
#mbta you're seriously cramping my style this morning. TWO B trains have gone by, too full to take on new passengers. #mbtaannoyMarissa Breton
Make that three trains in 25 minutes that went by too full to stop. #fml #Tuesday #late #cold #hashtagwhining #mbtaannoyMarissa Breton
But even being on a slow-moving or stalled train at least creates the illusion of some progress in your journey. Being forced off a train that is suddenly converted to express or has a mechanical problem may be the most frustrating thing that can happen on the T. You can't even pretend you're getting closer to your destination when you're standing on a subway platform. 
Forced off the train at Community College #MBTAannoy #OrangeLine http://pic.twitter.com/1VyJBzEEJΛRED MΛY
There's also the issue of malfunctioning equipment: 
My Charlie card with an Oct link pass jus scanned not enough value at BOTH tunstyles at Tuffs. FYI its STILL OCT. #mbtaAnnoy #mbtaSweetz
But those malfunctions can also work in riders' favor. 
Forgot my monthly t pass at home again. Get on bus and fare machine is broken. Feeling lucky! #mbta #mbtabragNikki
And sometimes the problem could maybe be fixed with just a little axle grease. 
When will the squeaking green line stop?! #mbtaannoyStephen Cihocki
Other problems are a little harder to repair, and to explain. While summer has gone, its heat remains. 
It is just like summer on the horribly crowded Braintree antique train. Temperature is about 90 #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
South Station, more people crammed in, they cat get the doors closed & temperature is up to 95 #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
"T" guy was great to wanna stop the train for 10 min to reset the AC! Just move it's freakin hot! Fix it in Braintree! #MBTAannoyKelly Cassier
That heat, though, may be intended as a punishment for unruly passengers. 
Drunk woman on bus literally yelling at the bus driver to put the A/C due to her menopause/hot flash. He just put the heat on. #mbtabragLukas Akerley
Would that heat also make the driver uncomfortably warm? Why would he make himself uncomfortable just to make a passenger more uncomfortable? Who can explain the minds of bus drivers, or train conductors for that matter? Some of them don't seem to live in the same world as their passengers. 
Hey subway T drivers! SLOW DOWN. I'm being whipped on turns and thrown when you slam brakes! #MBTAannoy #mbtaCity Girl
And some of them apparently aren't even showing up to work. 

Note that the next two tweets were posted about 24 hours apart. 
Wk 2 of understaffing on the 5:20 outbound Needham cmmtr rail! Why no replacement conductors?! Only 2 exits= slow travel times! #mbtaannoyVivis Dad
#mbtaannoy Another day. Another understaffed Needham train. Add in some signal problems too? Why not! Time to buy a bike. @mbtaGMVivis Dad
But when it comes to ruining a T-rider's day, those conductors and drivers have a lot of competition from our fellow passengers. 
A man picking his nose on the bus. And EATING IT!!!!! Why do I always get on the bus with the crazies?#gross #MBTAannoyLukas Akerley
The smell of stale alcohol and cigarettes in the morning is just lovely. #goodmorning #mbtaannoySage Luce
I'm glad his luggage has a seat. #priorities #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/dNM2WtodSage Luce
NOT a fan of strollers on the T. If you bring one on, make it the economy size, a small one! #MBTAannoyCity Girl
@Boston_to_a_T @thedorman13 Move back on crowded busses too! I once had to legit yell "Move back" to ppl on bus once. #MBTAannoyScottie Campbell
I hope you're enjoying your seat on the stairs while everyone has to climb over you and your backpack :) #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/bMdd1xlmMarissa Breton
Orange Line train is packed and nobody is letting the massively pregnant woman sit down. Come on, guys. #MBTAannoyrhea
And as Bill Clinton once was wont to say, "I feel your pain." 
Idea for people trying to leave #MBTA train: if ppl ahead of you can't step fwd, stop walking til they can. Don't walk over them. #MBTAannoyJeremy C. Fox
On the #OrangeLine 2 women come in together, sit on either side of me continuing conversation and passing things across me. #MBTAannoy 1/2Jeremy C. Fox
Then one asks me if I will move so they can sit together. After I stand, they sit side-by-side in silence. #MBTAannoy 2/2Jeremy C. Fox
But truly, some problems with other passengers are really your fault as much as theirs. 
#MBTAannoy Seeing people I know from the bar on the train and having nothing to talk about, because all we have in common is alcoholism.Santos L. Halper
And in fairness, there are all kinds of problems we face on the MBTA that are really our own responsibility. 
Just bailed on the overcrowded orange line to the green line only to make the critical mistake of going to the wrong side #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
It's nice to think, though, that Charlene, smiling so widely in her profile photo, was also smiling as she typed that tweet, keeping in mind that none of us is perfect. 

Your attitude really does make a difference, as is seen in this last tweet, where pleasant surprise mixes with jaded good humor. 
Shocking! Nothing to report on this morning's ride in. However, lunch time is always exciting. #MBTAbragCity Girl
The next time the T complicates your day, think of Charlene, and City Girl, and Snowgray way back up at the top of this page. Greet your frustrations with aplomb, and tweet about them using #MBTAannoy. 


And don't forget that #MBTAbrag is there, too, if you ever need it. 

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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