THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
< Back to front page Text size +

What makes a good day on the MBTA?

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 19, 2012 05:32 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Red Line October 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Talk about a long wait—this woman looks like she’s been looking for this inbound Red Line train at Harvard Square since last Christmas.

What makes a good day on the MBTA?

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Oct 19 2012 14:43:22

Bostonians hear a lot about what makes for a bad journey on the MBTA, but how about what makes for a good one? Is it just a matter of timing? Is it the right bus driver or the right train line? Is it a good book to read and an extra half-hour of padding in case your transportation is hopelessly behind schedule?

As the first #MBTAbrag tweets of this week show, sometimes it's a matter of simple good luck.
Love catching The T one minute before the weekly pass expires. #MBTAbrag (@ MBTA Aquarium Station) [pic]: http://4sq.com/SVZTTeSupahFans.com
Caught a near-empty off-schedule bus this morning. #luxurious66 #mbtabragElise
Or what you're willing to consider good luck.
At least the AC is on and the train hasn't derailed from all the people shifting I guess it is all you can expect from the T #mbtabragrev8056
The Asian beatboxer at Govt Ctr aint half bad! #MBTAbragTeesh
Maybe it's the opportunity for civic engagement?
Last day for voter registration. City Hall has this booth outside of Government Center. #MBTABrag SupahTuesday is a... http://4sq.com/RAXXMCSupahFans.com
Bad bus drivers are another topic Bostonians hear a lot about, but sometimes a good one can save your life. Or at least prevent you from spilling your coffee.
Thanks to quick reflexes of bus driver 2117, we didn't slam into a line of cars that stopped short. #MBTAbrag @mbtaGM @universalhubKyle W. Kerr
Of course, all these things worked their way into #MBTAbrag tweets because they were exceptional, not because they were the norm. And while disappointment and frustration do seem to be the norm for many T-riders, that doesn't mean the events that provoke those emotions don't earn their own #MBTAannoy tweets.

Take, for instance, this tweet about a driver who can't quite seem to keep all the wheels on the road:
#mbtaannoy it's cool - curbs were meant to be run over. hahaha oh boy. it's ok bro, i'm over today too. #mbta #39_veritaserum
Or this one, about a train conductor who is the opposite of the cautious bus driver mentioned above:
This train is going to derail, the driver is taking turns like he's w/NASCAR. Ppl with seats are even holding on for their life #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
The conductor mentioned in the next tweet wasn't really dangerous, apparently. Just rude.
@mbtaGM you should tell your operators not to close doors and leave before people who get off to let others out can get back on. #mbtaannoyA. Ghost
For disregard to public safety, you can't beat this next one:
Love that police were chasing a female juvie ACROSS and DOWN the tracks of the blue line, but the train kept running. Seriously? #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
Don't worry, though. The incident did eventually lead to a delay.
"Attention Blue Line passengers: we are experiencing minor delays in service due to a police investigation." #MBTAannoyRichard Knight
And if any one aspect of taking the T is guaranteed to make your journey a bad one, it's the constant delays.
Officially late to work...23 minutes and no train @ central #mbtaannoySweetadelinevt
Trains seem to be running slow in #Boston today but what else is new!? #MBTAannoyAlayna K.
New delays everyday! That should keep u “@alaynake: Trains seem to be running slow in #Boston today but what else is new!? #MBTAannoy”MBTA Problems
Miserable slow hour long commute Sad part is that there are no official delays Just usual bad service #mbta #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
Let me tell you. Its not fun waiting at the Prudential Green Line stop for 20 minutes after stuffing urself @ cheesecake factory. #MBTAannoyKyle MP
It's taken us more than 20 mins to movie from Heath St to the end of S Huntington. Happy Monday. #mbtaannoy #lateforwork_veritaserum
On your web site it says Braintree trains run every 9 min during rush yet the last one is 20 minutes ahead of us #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
No orange line for a long time. Still at State. Just missed my commuter train home. AGAIN. Can't count on the MBTA for anything. #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
From the looks of things on the orange line I'm barely going to make my train. Should I give up now and go back to my desk? #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Missed the express by 6 mins. Until we pulled into the station i wasn't so sure I was even going to make the one after #mbtaannoy #mbtafailcharlene mcbride
Oh good we are going to do the stop and wait before each station thing again this AM #mbtaannoyrev8056
Hey folks, expect delays on the Red Line inbound from Braintree. Broken door on car 01821. #MBTAannoy #MBTA @MBTAgmRob Molla
25 minutes is too long to wait for a train. #mbtaannoy #ihateyou #frozenMarissa Breton
All commuter trains on my line have "10-15 min delays due to late getting out." NO JOKE. That is what the alert actually says. #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
Is this train broken? Why does it feel like we're going so slow? It's the express train, full speed ahead! #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
ah the proverbial 15 mins. Right!!! #mbtaannoy “@mbta_alerts: Red Line experiencing 10-15 min delays due to an earlier disPM #mbta”D. Matt Brothers
Of course, not all long waits are caused by delays. Sometimes they're built into the system.
@MBTAprobs weekend bus schedules are my biggest #MBTAannoy of the week.Sean Theriault
And really, what is up with the stacking of one type of trains while those on a different line or going the opposite direction never seem to arrive?
8 southbound trains backed up Running trains in packs works so well great service as usual T #mbtaannoy #mbta #mbtaGMrev8056
5 trains have gone by to pick up the 15 people on the lechmere side of park st. None to pick up the hundreds on the other side. #mbtaannoySean Fahey
Why are there so many forest hills trains right now??? That's three now...and none to oak grove? #mbtaannoyRobbie M
That's five forest hills trains and only 1 oak grove train... Wtf #mbta lol #mbtaannoyRobbie M
But one thing is guaranteed to make riders appreciate the trains: replacing them with shuttle buses.
#mbtaannoy woooow zero organization with the red line interruptions.. The employees have given me 3 different directions to Braintree. #lateMichelle LeCorn
Dear Red Line shuttle bus: you are the bane of my existence. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
Some frustrations aren't about the delays at all, though. They're caused by the inconsiderate or unhygienic passengers who share the trains and buses with you.
Does @cityyear in Boston teach their people to stand over seats in crowded trains? #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/d2UQKrmXNeenah Estrella-Luna
Really confused as to why the creepy man who clearly hasn't showered in days won't stop staring at me #mbtaannoy #86nightmareSage Luce
Hey T ever going to enforce the no bikes during rush hour on Red Line? Guess not the same guy crams on every day #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
For a minute there the Chinatown elevators weren't half bad, time to change the urinal cakes #gross #MBTAannoy #MBTAproblemsThe Nandra
Please clean the Chinatown elevators EVERYDAY, they get peed in EVERYDAY, why the F not? Port-o-pottys are cleaner #MBTAannoy #MBTAproblemsThe Nandra
The smells emanating from my fellow passengers is starting to make me nauseous. Like how is that smell possible? #MBTAannoyKellie Lee
Some of the frustrations associated with other passengers, though, aren't really their fault.
Sorry everyone but this delayed Braintree train is full @ Park You have to wait until next one in the pack #mbtaannoy #mbta #mbtaGMrev8056
Packed so tight people can't move to let others out Time for a rush hour luggage surcharge Just take Logan Express #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
Ultimate red line disaster tonight. Breakdown combined with impatient riders #mbtaannoyjohnmcboston
Discomfort can also be caused by equipment problems, of course.
It finally happened...an mbta turnstile closed on me aka my worst fear. #MBTAannoy #mbtaproblemsCaitlin McBride
#mbtaannoy Why is the ac not on on the red line??! It's 100 degrees in here!Eddie Reyes
Imagine a world where it's possible to regulate indoor air temperature. #mbtaannoyBrian Rigby
But at least maybe the T took last week's advice about axle grease
OMG I don't know WHAT they did, but the trains are no longer squealing at Govt Ctr! Am I awake? #MBTAbragTeesh
Other issues with the system are caused not by the equipment itself but by questionable decision-making.
What kind of crazy is the #MBTA working on today? The 036 Commuter Rail from Kingston is 2.5 double cars short this morning! #MBTAannoyRob Molla
Big Red cattle cars really show how much the T hates its customers. Mooo #mbtaannoy #mbta #MbtaGMrev8056
Thanks to the MBTA's scheduling, some trips can seem not just unpleasant or difficult, but downright impossible.
Living at Lechmere must be like living in a place that NO ONE CAN EVER GET TO. #mbtaannoyKelsey Ohman
It appears, though, that as much as the #MBTAannoy tweets outnumber #MBTAbrag tweets, some passengers could be posting even more of them.
for as much as I complain about the mbta, I'm holding back about 2/3 of the time. #mbtaannoy #mbtafail #stickyfloor #forcedovercrowdingcharlene mcbride
Don't hold back on our account, Charlene -- or anybody. Whenever you get frustrated, #MBTAannoy is there to help bring about a minor catharsis. And when you experience joy on the T, you should tweet using #MBTAbrag just so you and your fellow riders don't forget it's not all delays and urine odors.

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

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article