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MBTA riders ponder their fates

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  November 9, 2012 05:35 PM

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MBTA passenger wonders why.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

This Orange Line passenger might have been wondering why he was riding alone instead of sitting alongside his own Gwyneth Paltrow. Or he might have just been reading graffiti.

MBTA riders ponder their fates

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Nov 09 2012 14:00:46

Remember that Gwyneth Paltrow movie "Sliding Doors," the one that shows two different paths her life might take based on whether she gets on a subway train or she just misses it?

Probably a lot of subway and bus riders have wondered how their lives would be different if they made the first one rather than having to wait 15 minutes for the next, if they reached their destination five minutes early rather than 10 minutes late. Was it just a missed ride, or was it a missed opportunity?

The idea that one's fate could be radically different based on such a small thing is potent, and of course it's something no one can ever know. Maybe that's part of the reason riders get so frustrated when they miss a train, as Michelle Clements did in this week's first #MBTAannoy tweet.
Nope, not going to make my train, thanks to the ever-reliable #mbta orange line #mbtaannoy #sarcasmMichelle Clements
Riders miss trains and buses all the time, but sometimes their luck -- or a driver's kindness -- surprises them.
It's the tight connection tango featuring the red and green lines. Sensing a bad case of #mbtaannoy comingcharlene mcbride
I cannot believe I made this train! Cut it very close thanks to the 3 green line trains that ended at gov. center for no reason #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Ran for the bus I would have missed had the driver not waited for maybe 5 extra seconds & then he said 'good hustle' #mbtabragLyzard
Sometimes their transport even keeps to its schedule.
Nearly empty 66 right on time this morning! #mbtabrag ArchivingAloud
Train is moving! On time !! #mbtabragJess Indeed
It's particularly easy to wonder, "What if?" at a time like this, just after Election Day. Surely Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, and other candidates who lost their races woke up on Wednesday morning wondering how things might have turned out if they had crafted their message just a little differently, if they had 10 percent more people working on get-out-the-vote efforts, if they had shaken a few more hands, kissed a few more babies.

Some voters wondered those things on Wednesday, too. On Tuesday, though, many were just wondering when their bus or train was going to take them from the polls to their jobs.
after waiting an hour to vote, I of course have to wait 20 min for the T. #MBTAannoyEmily Files
Probably going to wait longer for my bus than I did to vote! #bosvotes #MBTAannoyKyle W. Kerr
Those hardy souls who use the MBTA on a daily basis spend a lot of time wondering if their buses or trains are going to be late, or slow, and wondering why it has to be so.
@mbtaGM Third day in a row that the red line is late during rush hour. Left Harvard 27 minutes ago, not even to MGH yet. Stopped. #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtagm can I get a refund this time? Standing outside in freezing cold waiting for a train delayed nearly 30 minutes. Awesome. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
Hey new GMRunning Braintree trains 20 minutes apart at this hour isn't good for your customers #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
Bus service at Broadway is pitiful ! #mbta #mbtaannoyDarren Mackiewicz
Mbta. 20 minute wait for red line #mbtaannoyJeannie W.
Thank you for making me late to work AGAIN Red Line #mbta #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
CT2 is so late, it's arriving the same time as the one after it. Maybe it should just stay where it is and be on time Monday. #mbtaannoyJohn Hanawalt
Red line delayed two days in a row going to work. Shouldn't I know better by now? #MBTAannoyRobert
Riders wonder, too, why they end up waiting when every fact at hand indicates that they should be moving.
@mbtaGM Why is this northbound train standing by at Wollaston station for schedule adjustment when it is already late? #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtaGM This train is standing by for schedule adjustment again. This time at downtown crossing. Why? It's running late! #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
While waiting for her train on Thursday, commuter Kellie Lee wondered if tweeting in Spanish would get a better response.
Donde esta este tren?! #MBTAannoyKellie Lee
Lauren was wondering if there just aren't enough trains going to her destination.
I love how 5 north station Ts go by and not one lechmere T passes through. #mbtaannoylauren
Seriously, is there ONE T that comes from Heath st to lechmere?? #mbtaannoylauren
I really dislike being late for work when I leave home 5 mins early. #mbtaannoylauren
These riders wondered why their trains weren't stopping everywhere they were supposed to stop.
@mbtaGM Nearly empty E line just skipped the Northeastern stop. I thought you were not supposed to be skipping stops? #mbtaannoyNeenah Estrella-Luna
For some reason they didn't open the doors @ Wollaston I guess we are going to reenact Charlie on the T #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
While these couldn't understand why their bus or train had to be so packed with people.
The CT2 in Union Square is already at capacity. This going to be a really fun winter. #mbtaannoyJohn Hanawalt
Everyone and their mom is on the T because there's a little weather outside. #heatstroke #MBTAannoyKellie Lee
One of many things that make riding the T unpredictable is that no one can be sure when there will be another mechanical failure -- they only know it will happen sooner or later.
Still sitting on train@ South Station, Fri night, 32 min after departure time & after changing trains bc of "mechanical failure". #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
42 min late and just changed trains and tracks for a THIRD TIME. Wtf #MBTAannoy GET IT TOGETHER!Chris Faulkner
@mbtaGM ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Had to switch trains TWICE for mechanical failure before leaving S Station #mbtaannoy #50minuteslatethanksKristen Rao
The MBTA really outdid itself today. Nearly two hours to get from Harvard to Simmons. #mbtaannoygehenna
On disabled E Green Line train, just sitting between Longwood & Brigham Circle. #mbtaannoy @mbtaGMBen Henry
New idea for the T maintain the Red Line trains so they don't fail in use #mbta #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
Good Red Line morning to the rest of people on this 44 year old train especially those on the cars without lights #mbta #mbtaGM #mbtaannoyrev8056
And if the mechanical parts of the system don't fail, something else probably will.
Finally, a working T sign...but no one is home... #mbtaannoy #backbay http://pic.twitter.com/lOgocbXUJustin D.
One might wonder if part of the problem is that the MBTA and its passengers are not using the same terms to mean the same thing.
"Express" is defined quite broadly on the B Line. #mbtaannoyElise
And it's worth asking whether all the train lines are treated equally -- and if not, why not?
The Green Line is the redheaded stepchild of the MBTA: no predictions, no cell service, always late and crowded... #mbtaannoysnowgray
And anyone who rides public transit has to ask occasionally, why are people so rude?
Your sandwich smells delicious. Except we're on the train and no one should have to smell your sandwich. #mbtaannoysnowgray
Look idiot Siri doesn't work on the old Red Line trains with 90db background noise just dial the number #mbtaannoyrev8056
Best part of the day? Riding the rancid Chinatown elevators four times in one day!! #MBTAannoyThe Nandra
And why do their movement sometimes defy logic?
That lovely moment when five people get off of a train, but then only two are able to get back on... #MBTAannoyKyle W. Kerr
Once in a great while, though, the other passengers are really nice.
Lost my hand knit baby blanket while riding the orange line, nice mbta lady at Stoney brook helped me locate it #MBTAbragThe Nandra
Or at least goofily charming.
Group of super nerdy undergrads=BIG STEP UP from who I normally experience on the 66. @peopleonthebus #mbtabragElise
This next group of tweeters even found their drivers charming. Or at least interesting..
@mbtaGM - just had a REALLY nice t driver, outbound BC #3660. Never even raised his voice! #novelty #mbtabragAnna K
66 driver missed his calling to be a stunt driver #mbtaanoy? #mbtabrag?ArchivingAloud
My T driver this morning had a need for speed. #mbtabragKyle MacDonald
Commuter Greg Athanas was one of those asking, "Why?" during his commute Wednesday morning, but he didn't think of "Sliding Doors"  but of a more recent -- and more disturbing -- movie about the whims of fate.
Why does the @mbta red line feel like the Hunger Games... May the odds be in your favor to get on a train. #mbtaannoyGreg Athanas
The next time you have a question about the MBTA, don't just ponder the possibilities; tweet it using #MBTAannoy or #MBTAbrag. There may not be an answer, but you'll never know if you don't ask the question.

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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