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The MBTA: It's a trap

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  November 16, 2012 07:23 PM

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Harvard Red Line Nov 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Look at these cynics waiting for the Red Line at Harvard Square.

The MBTA: it's a trap

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Nov 16 2012 16:19:52

It seems that public transportation can make a person cynical. You experience day after day of disappointment and frustration, and at a certain point you start assuming every apple is full of razor blades. 
This week's first #MBTAannoy tweet comes from Ryan, who sums up the kind of suspicion that experience can engender:
Got on the cleanest orange line car i'd ever seen. It went out of service mid-ride. I knew it was a trap. #mbtaannoyRyan Cassidy
Such cynicism can infect your entire worldview, or at least your entire MBTA-view. 
As we saw in last week's batch of tweets, taking the subway or the bus can inspire speculation about the difference one missed train can make in your life, and that speculation is often tinged with negativity, as it is here:
Every time I miss the T by less than a minute, I always think "Well, that was your one chance to be happy." #mbtaAnnoy #fbHP
It shouldn't be surprising. Even the most upbeat person can develop a pretty sour disposition after standing for a long enough time on a subway platform or at a bus stop. 
15 minutes now without an inbound train from Fields Corner. What's up with that? #MBTAannoy @mbtaGMDave Hodges
30 min wait for an Ashmont train, and the ac is blasting on it. WTF #mbta ? #mbtaannoyBurple Yak
That is now the THIRD bus to pass by my stop. Something is clearly broken with this system. @mbtaGM #MBTAannoy @universalhubKyle W. Kerr
@mbtaGM one 11 bus in the last half hour at broadway #MBTAannoyKath
#RedLine standing by at Park St. There was just an announcement but the woman had a mouth full of marbles. #MBTAannoy http://pic.twitter.com/3lP8eMR7Jeremy C. Fox
Also, last tweet was from several minutes earlier, but I couldn't send it until the train got to Charles/MGH because no signal. #MBTAannoyJeremy C. Fox
@mbta_alerts @mbtaGM The red line northbound is running extremely late and yet there is no alert. #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
Does this seem like an appropriate number of buses for the morning commute? #MBTAannoy @universalhub @mbtaGM http://twitpic.com/bded5xKyle W. Kerr
Already had two packed trains stop with no room for anyone to get one and it's been 10 minutes since last one #MBTAannoyChelsea Hanna Cohen
Waiting waiting waiting for the orange line and if I don't squeeze on I will miss my train according to openmbta #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Crap! I've got one more chance if it stays on schedule and I'll have to run, run, run to make it #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
50 people trying to squeeze into space previously occupied by 10. I gave up and walked. I know you think I'm exaggerating... #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Isn't it bad enough my commute home was almost 3 hours (when it should have been 1.5) & now were 10 min late leaving N.Station #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
If this train doesn't move in the next 5 min, I'm getting off the 5:30 & catching the 5:50 Lowell train... #MBTAannoy @mbtaGM UGHHHCarey Mercier
Me I would have have held the later train at Canton junction to allow really late train to leave bit earlier #stoughton906 #mbta #MBTAannoyJohn Lamar
Literally just waited 30 min in the freezing cold at the first stop after Kenmore for an outbound train. Wtf. #MBTAannoyTrisha Fortin
So waiting is no fun, we can all agree. But there's also something uniquely frustrating about the MBTA's various equipment malfunctions, as seen in this next batch of tweets. 
It took trying 4 fare gates at Harvard to get one that'd recognize my card. @mbtaGM #mbta #mbtaannoyIan Adams
@mbtagm bus 2170 is dripping water in the back. #mbtaannoyDani B.
There's been a rash of mechanical failures on the Newburyport/Rockport line and we haven't really hit the bad weather yet! #MBTAannoyAnn McDonald
Fire alarms for 10 minutes now at Park Street. #MBTA staff invisible. Instructions to riders? Crickets. #MBTAannoy http://yfrog.us/f22vslxtmrilxlvkvsxskrchzRob Molla
But wait! Chloe found one helpful and useful piece of equipment -- her smartphone: 
Using #OpenMbta app for first time - results so far impressive for bus tracking :) :) #MBTAbragChloe Ryan
But in fairness, not all every bad experience on public transportation can be blamed on the MBTA. Some unpleasant rides are clearly due to other riders' bad manners. 
Why are there so many people eating on the T right now? Gross. Save your burrito for home. #MBTAannoy @MBTAprobsCaitlin McBride
Now I remember why I don't sit in this car The 2 women who sit across from each other & yell #mbtaannoyrev8056
How can people be so unaware of their backpacks and bags on a crowded subway? #takethemoff #mbtaAnnoyJennifer O'Neil
Schools taking students in the T, please move your group AWAY from the entrance so the rest of us can get on the platform. #mbta #mbtaannoyBurple Yak
The more you play music on your cell phone out loud and lip sync, the more I'm convinced you'll be famous someday. #MBTAannoy #orangelineBostonTPeople
It's great when people crowd the doorways of otherwise not-so-crowded trains... Once you get through, there are so many seats! #MBTAannoy?Justin
It's no wonder many riders think an empty bus or train is the biggest success of all. 
Got this #mbta bus all to myself :-) Quickest ride evar! #mbtabragBurple Yak
I am the lone passenger on the 86 leaving Reservoir #mbtabrag ?Arthur Liu
But, on the other (third?) hand, your fellow passengers aren't the only people who can make your ride difficult. Let's not discount the dangerous bus drivers and train conductors. 
@mbtaGM Almost got hit during walk light at Riverway stop on E by inbound E b/c driver didn't want to wait for pedestrians. #mbtaannoyBen Henry
What a hellish T ride. The driver must've had.. track rage? Whatever it was, ppl kept falling down. Not cool. #MBTAannoyJenni Wylie
But maybe a wild driver can be a good thing? 
Buses have replaced the C line on Beacon & due to crazy driving I got from Coolidge to Cleveland in like 5 mins. #mbtabrag or #mbtadeath ?gehenna
Jennifer here certainly wasn't complaining about her speedy commute -- but anyone who has ever commuted from Jamaica Plain to Harvard Square knows this is at least 10 minutes less than the average trip. 
Thank you #MBTA for cooperating today. JP to Harvard in 35 minutes. #mbtabragJennifer O'Neil
Also, not for nothin', but this one trolley conductor has some sweet pipes. 
@mbtaGM The announcer in E line car 3611A has a wonderful voice. The automated messages should use this guy. #mbtabragNeenah Estrella-Luna
And this one is quite a looker. 
I always have the best T driver at this time of day, in the 2nd car of the inbound B line. So sweet and gorgeous, too! #MBTAbragTrisha Fortin
So, sure, there are any number of reasons your ride to work, or your ride home, can make you feel like you're the subject of some awful practical joke. But which of the above issues does this tweet refer to? Or is it all of the above? 
The green line past nine on a week night is a miserable place #MBTAannoyAlayna K.
Whatever the problem, never forget that you can feel the sweet catharsis of a social-media primal scream if you only tweet your rage using #MBTAannoy. And, just to add some yin to that yang, let the world know the MBTA isn't disappointing 100 percent of the time by tweeting positive experiences using #MBTAbrag. You can't be cynical and cranky all the time, can you? 

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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