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Should Bostonians be thankful for the MBTA?

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  November 23, 2012 05:35 PM

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Green Street T stop 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

These commuters were just thankful to see a train coming.

Should Bostonians be thankful for the MBTA?

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Nov 23 2012 14:31:07

This is a week when many Americans find themselves taking stock of their lives and fortunes. It's a familiar feeling: each week in this space, tweeters try to weigh the good and the bad of the MBTA in much the same way, comparing disappointments with triumphs and hoping to achieve some kind of balance.

But this is also a week when many, many people are traveling, and a true test for both public transportation and our roads and highways, a test that some would say the MBTA failed.
So how does the T respond to increased holiday demand on the Red Line ? Do nothing as they do every year #mbtaannoy #mbta #mbtaGMrev8056
Early rush hour hundreds going to South Station but no extra Red Line service Great job as usual #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
But not everyone agreed. Charlene, for one, found her Thanksgiving Eve travels shockingly pleasant.
Wow, the day before turkey day on the lowell line is the exact opposite of the newburyport/rockport line. Empty seats! #mbtabragcharlene mcbride
Bet you thought I'd never use the #mbtabrag hash tag! ;)charlene mcbride
And Arthur found the day after Thanksgiving equally nice, though that is obviously a day with less commuter traffic.
Home to Kendall in 25 min flat, a new record! Wish every day was like this #mbtabragArthur Liu
These are exceptional circumstances, obviously, and none of those events necessarily reflects the day-to-day experience of riding the T.

That daily experience is just what the next tweeter hoped the MBTA's next general manager, Beverly Scott, would be introduced to as she learned the ropes.
@mbtaGM: "Incoming GM Dr. Scott touring the T today" please do it before a Sox game, or IB in the morning. Experience our pain #mbtaannoyKNRuval
There wasn't just one person expressing general dissatisfaction with the T on Twitter this week. Jack Freeman also seemed more than ambivalent about his relationship with the transit authority.
Glad I spend 70 bucks a month on my T pass. #mbtagm #mbtafail #mbtaannoy #mbtabiteme #mbtawasteoftimeJack Freeman
Meanwhile, both Liam and Kyle shared some observations about buses and their apparent belief that there's safety in numbers.
Buses are like zombies: slow-moving, travel in packs, & sneak up when you turn your back. #MBTAannoyLiam Sullivan
I know Allston/Brighton can be scary at times, but there's no reason for the 57's to travel in packs (of THREE)... #MBTAannoy @universalhubKyle W. Kerr
Jennifer had some thoughts about the layout of one of the system's most highly trafficked stations.
Dear person who designed Downtown Crossing Station- You suck. Sincerely, most #MBTA riders. #mbtaannoyJennifer O'Neil
And our first tweeter also had a suggestion for addressing the T's financial woes. 
Here is a revenue idea charge for all this luggage on Red Line. It takes the same amount of space as a person #mbta #mbtaannoy #mbtaGMrev8056
This week, like every week before it and every week to come, also saw several comments about slow-moving trains and buses, and the long waits they can cause.
@mbtaGM This southbound Braintree is going slow. Crawling on the tracks. It left Porter 25 min ago not even to MGH yet. #FML #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtagm love getting the first alert for the 725 train at 724 saying it will be 12 minutes late. In 30 degree weather. Awesome. #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
Leave early for work to grab lunch before going in, #standby. Thanks #mbta. #MBTAannoyChristopher
SL4 sitting here 5 min, going nowhere, no announcement from driver. Guess I'm back in Boaton @mbtaGM #MBTAannoyjohnmcboston
Probably John meant "Boston," not "Boaton." Where's autocorrect when you need it?

More importantly, where's your train when you need it, and why does every other train in creation seem to roll by during your wait? John and Kim give it to us by the numbers.
3 outbound E line trains and still no sight of an inbound one #MBTAannoy #getmetologanKim Niedermaier
4 outbound D trains. 0 inbound ones. Nice #MBTAannoyjohnmcboston
Make that 5 outbound D trains. 0 inbound ones. #MBTAannoyjohnmcboston
biz as usual on the Green Line #mbta RT @johnmcboston: Make that 5 outbound D trains. 0 inbound ones. #MBTAannoyRateTheMBTA
Naturally, those long waits can have additional repercussions.
Night before vacation starts and missed my commuter rail thanks to the orange line taking so long. #MBTAannoyChris Faulkner
But every morning and every afternoon as you're waiting for transportation to and from work, remember that things probably could be worse.
Much as I complain about weekday commutes, there is a special layer of hell reserved for the Saturday night #mbta. #mbtaannoySacha Chiniara
After all, sometimes the train isn't just moving slowly; it's also moving emptily.
"Attention passengers the next redline train to alewife does not take passengers. Please stand back." Great way to start a Monday #mbtaannoyCaitlin
And there are many other frustrations -- Dr. Scott, please take note -- such as deficiencies in the MBTA's technology.
Can't recharge my Charlie card online. Cust. service is no help either. Get it together #MBTA #MBTAannoyLila Golightly
Coworkers reporting incorrect electric signage for commuter rail train tracks in #backbay Can anyone confirm/deny? #mbtaannoyJustin D.
@mbtaGM I love it when the next Red Line train disappears from Catch The T #mbtaannoy #HappyThanksgivingRitchie Sullivan
And with so many buses and trains running late, naturally the number of passengers just keeps piling up.
How are two consecutive trains too full to board at Fenway at 1030pm? Rush hour isn't always this bad #mbtaannoyArthur Liu
No air in this bus now cause it's 20 min late, thank you very much #mbtagm #mbtafail #mbtaannoyJack Freeman
Not all of those passengers are qualified to teach an etiquette class, either.
old man stumbled across the t and dropped his drink.. no one glanced up from their iphone never mind getting up for him #MBTA #mbtaannoyShannon
Dude you're sitting way too close to me #MBTAannoyBoston Dollface
I love that people still don't grasp the "wait to let people get out before you barrel your way in" on the T. #mbtaannoyKristen
Nice work push the lay with the splint out of the way so you can sit #mbtaannoyrev8056
Some passengers are both rude enough to sully trains with their graffiti and too ignorant to get the idiom right.
Oyster. OYSTER. #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/bZfDmgXoSweetadelinevt
But some riders found things to approve in their fellow passengers' code of silence ...
I love the unspoken rule not to speak on the morning commute. #mbtabragJessica Bennett
... and, conversely, in their rambunctiousness.
Pretty rowdy on the 66 bus tonight. #MBTAbragLiam Sullivan
And of course it's not just your fellow passengers who make your commute unpleasant.
.@mbtaGM why would a 66 bus half filled not stop at a major intersection where 5 people are waiting? Next bus is in 20 mins #mbta #MBTAannoyNikki
#mbtaannoy MT @CourtneyJBurns This 66 bus driver (bus #2214) is gonna cause an accident with her aggressive driving through busy Harvard SqKenji
Girl stepped out back of bus to let people out. Driver closed door and made her walk back up front to get back on. #MBTAannoy @universalhubKyle W. Kerr
#43 bus pulls up to park st then shuts down to go on break. How exactly is this good service? @mbtaGM #MBTAannoyjohnmcboston
Oh I see why we still haven't left Braintree The driver was late for work #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
But it's not always that bad. Kim found that the MBTA got her to her destination on time.
And somehow I've arrived at Logan with an hour to spare. I suppose that's worthy of a #MBTAbragKim Niedermaier
Remember that the MBTA, like life itself, is a combination of the bitter and the sweet. Reflect that dichotomy in your own life by tweeting your sweet times on the T using #MBTAbrag and the bitter using #MBTAannoy. Those hashtags are just two more things to be thankful for.

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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