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For MBTA riders, worst part of commute is other MBTA riders

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 1, 2012 10:02 AM

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crowded red line september 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

These commuters are really getting on each other’s nerves right now.

For MBTA riders, worst part of commute is other MBTA riders

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Mon, Oct 01 2012 07:03:10

Riding MBTA buses and trains rarely occasions thoughts of French philosopher-playwrights, but one famous line from Jean-Paul Sartre inevitably comes to mind when reading the past week's #MBTAannoy posts on Twitter: "Hell is other people."

No matter how slow or smelly the train, no matter how leaky or hot the bus, the worst part of any trip on public transportation is often not any part of the system itself but instead the simple horror of dealing with the other passengers.

That's certainly how it looked the last week of September, when complaints about bad behavior on the MBTA constituted more negative #MBTAannoy tweets than any other T-related frustration. Those below just tell part of the story -- several riders were so frustrated they used profanity that couldn't be included here:
I have a mix of respect and annoyance for this girl who is splendidly drunk at 3:45 on a Sunday. #MBTAannoy #yoloMarissa Breton
I had to move down the platform to get away from babbling low-info nonvoter. "They're both the same." But she likes Michelle. #MBTAannoyRobert D Sullivan
A man on this #RedLine train has mulletlocks — short in front, dreadlocks in back. Needless to say, he's white and in early 20s. #MBTAannoyJeremy C. Fox
Dear #OrangeLine riders: You're not supposed to display your ingrown toenails after Rosh Hashanah. #MBTAannoyRobert D Sullivan
So pumped today was the last red sox home game. No more stupid drunk fear dudes on the last red line back to braintree anymore #mbtaannoySean Fahey
I dislike people who invade your personal space on the #MBTA Train's not even close to full- and you're 6 inches from my face #MBTAannoyTyler
Why is it that when the driver says there is no room on the train and another one right behind ppl still insist on pushing in? #mbtaannoySarah Gustafson
When I step out of the car briefly to allow people to exit, it is not your cue to dive in and occupy my spot. #mbtaannoyMelissa
Having to save the staple drunk guy from face-planting as the bus accelerates #mbtaannoyJon Black
You can't bring your dog on the T without a leash and then get mad when it gets off on the wrong stop! #mbta #MBTAannoyLukas Akerley
This woman put her umbrella on the next seat, taking up a seat for her stuff AND guaranteeing a soggy butt for someone else. #mbtaannoyJohn Hanawalt
One rider got so frustrated with other passengers on Friday morning that she went on a bit of a tirade:
If you get on the bus and put the priority seat up to fit your stroller, you need to put the seat down again when you get off! #MBTAannoysnowgray
Sitting in the outer seat and leaving the inner one empty so no one else can sit is a major crime. #MBTAannoysnowgray
Blocking an empty seat and then talking to your friend across the row who is also blocking an empty seat is a capital offense. #MBTAannoysnowgray
If you know someone well enough to have a conversation you obviously know them well enough to sit next to them! #MBTAannoysnowgray
And while we're at it, don't stop in the left lane of the escalator! Standing on the right is fine. #MBTAannoysnowgray
But passengers aren't the only ones lacking in courtesy. MBTA employees can be frustrating too.
#mbtaannoy bus 2278 on the number 1 route just randomly refused to stop at mass ave and beacon even tho it was nearly emptyD. Matt Brothers
#mbtaannoy my bad it wasn't 2278 - it was the one before thatD. Matt Brothers
And of course it's not just the people who drive commuters crazy. Equipment failures can be just as frustrating.
Great work again T One functioning parking ticket machine in the Braintree lobby #mbtaGM #mbtaannoyrev8056
Broken 1 wk ago. Now fixed. Too bad Blue Line customers at Govt Ctr don't get the same attention. @mbtaGM #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/SqLbmUcANeenah Estrella-Luna
And why does the MBTA sometimes send out trains that are entirely inadequate to their tasks?
So why is this B Line train single car? The B Line should never be single car. Ever. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
Many weeks, delays are the biggest source of #MBTAannoy complaints. Just because there were a few more complaints about rider behavior this week doesn't mean every train and bus was on time.
@mbtaGM delays again on Nburyport/Rport. Can't remember last time 725 Salem train was on time. Nbd just trying to get to work. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
Waiting for the #MBTA to Braintree this afternoon at Park Street. Another #MBTAfail. #MBTAannoy @MBTAgm http://pic.twitter.com/zuOechKYRob Molla
Davis don't replace 44 year old trains on Red Line We love these rush hour meltdowns when they break #mbtaGM #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
@mbtaGM Why are there 3 trains worth of people waiting for the Blue Line at 11 pm? #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/AQ90975QNeenah Estrella-Luna
Played the train guessing game at Wilmington station & chose wrong. Lowell line 25 min late & express just passed us at Anderson #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
The #orangeline needs to stop having service delays. Home girl is getting fidgety. #MBTAannoy @mbtagmKellie Lee
@YourBeaconHill red line was SLOW this morning. Almost missed my connecting bus #MBTAannoyRobert
Well, red line was less than stellar this morning. Delays in service, plus we delayed at every station - schedule adjustment #MBTAannoyjohnmcboston
Naturally, while those buses and trains are delayed, commuters arrive at stations to wait. More and more gather over time, so that when their conveyance finally arrives there are way too many people to comfortably fit on it.
Nope not going to fit on that dangerously crowded Braintree train #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
Have no fear the horribly packed Braintree train is on the way if it doesn't breakdown that is #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
A statistician or physicist should examine the phenomenon that makes the bus or train you're not waiting for always come far more frequently than the one the one you are waiting for.
i make this 10 min walk to the t every day and i always pass 2-4 outbound buses but i have only once ran into a bus going my way #mbtaannoySarah
And what about the trains and buses that appear to be using the buddy system?
I've seen three PAIRS of the 66 this morning...pretty sure that's not how this is supposed to work. @LifeonMBTA #mbtaannoyElise
Typical Red Line afternoon craptacular service of erratic infrequent trains running in packs #mbtaannoy #mbta #mbtaGMrev8056
The worst, though, is when the frustration of dealing with a late train or bus is compounded by another frustration.
@mbtaGM 725 train from Salem gets in 15 minutes late, then orange line is packed and most people can't get on. Service fail. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
Not only is the bus late when it is raining, but It's raining inside the bus..... #mbtaannoySage Luce
This commuter said she's just giving up on the MBTA:
@mbtaGM walking 1.5 miles from N. Station to work because that 25 min walk gets me there faster than 3 stops on the orange line. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
A few readers were amused when a typo appeared in a tweet Friday morning that was meant to encourage them to use the #MBTAannoy and #MBTAbrag hashtags but instead offered only one option:
How's the #MBTA treating you this rainy morning? Tweet using #MBTAannoy if your ride is awful and #MBTAannoy if it's wonderful.Your Downtown Boston
@YTDowntown so, tweet #MBTAannoy whether it's good or bad? :-)Harold Giguere
The nincompoop responsible quickly caught and corrected the error, but readers still had a little fun with it:
***Correction: Tweet using #MBTAbrag if your commute is wonderful, not #MBTAannoy. It's early still.Allston Brighton
@YourAllstonBri hahaha it's just all #MBTAannoy all the timeCarolyn Vallejo
Sure, it feels that way sometimes, Carolyn, but few people actually had reasons to respond using the #MBTAbrag hashtag.
@Your_SouthEnd I ended up getting to my stop as a ct1 showed up. Great timing kept me dry and got me an express #MBTAbragSean Theriault
@YourRoxbury #MBTAbrag. Smooth sailing on commuter line into north station. 60 seconds and on orange lineLynne Brown
Bus driver 68255 just waited for girl running through the rain. Very kind of you, sir! @mbtaGM #MBTA #MBTABragKyle W. Kerr
@YourAllstonBri B Line nothing fancy, but dependable. Rain didn't impact commute at all. #mbtabragColin Moore
See? It is possible to use #MBTAbrag. Why not try it yourself the next time you have a positive experience on the T? But don't forget #MBTAannoy is also available for all those un-positive experiences. Use either one, and you could wind up in the esteemed company of all the frustrated commuters above. Just don't get on their nerves.

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

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