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2012, the year of #MBTAannoy

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  December 28, 2012 05:34 PM

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Red Line Dec 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Commuters may have pondered what 2013 will bring on the MBTA as a Braintree-bound Red Line train zoomed into Downtown Crossing Station.

2012, the year of #MBTAannoy

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox· Fri, Dec 28 2012 18:59:36

When we look back on 2012, will we remember it as the year of #MBTAannoy?

Hey, it could happen. 

That Twitter hashtag made its debut last January, born of public frustration over the MBTA's proposals for fare increases and service reductions amid longstanding issues about reliability, timeliness, comfort, and cleanliness on the transit authority's buses and trains. 

Ultimately, the T was able to close its budget gap for the year without making changes as dramatic as those initial plans, but there was still frustration over service cuts and new fares, which grew by an average of 23 percent. And of course, those  reliability, timeliness, comfort, and cleanliness issues remain. 

What will next year bring? Beverly Scott, the T's new general manager, said this week that she hopes to avoid further service cuts and fare hikes. But with a looming $132 million deficit for the fiscal year that will begin next July 1, the state legislature will have to dig deep to find funds to close the gap. 

Whether or not riders see a second fare increase in as many years, the system will continue to be burdened with aging machinery and a growing ridership that makes every late train just a little more crowded when it arrives. And each day, more people will be whipping out their smartphones and tablets to tweet their frustrations. 

This weeks' first tweet is from Lexi, who wondered how the T's growing debt is possible, given the system's growing ridership. 
@mbtaGM If ridership is continually going up, how are you in debt #mbtaannoy #needsimprovementLexi Kacoyannakis
It's complex, Lexi, but it's partly because of debt related to the Big Dig that the state legislature passed on to the MBTA more than a decade ago while also cutting state funding for the T. 

There is a better and more complete explanation here

It's only natural to be asking such questions and thinking about big-picture issues in the waning days of any year. And as 2012 wound down this week and Bostonians prepared for the surprises 2013 will surely bring, the T was doing its part to ensure that they had time to reflect. 
Need to be at North Station for a noon train. Of course we are stuck at Haymarket. #mbtaannoyJennifer O'Neil
If you are going to hold the train because of traffic why not stay at the platform so we can choose to get off. #MBTAannoyMBTA Rider
Ok so I just waited 800 minutes for a Green Line E at prudential JUST so they can announce that its EXPRESS to brigham circle?!! #MBTAannoyTeesh
Its a Sunday evenin...why the HECK do you need express E trains? Who exactly is in a rush? Smh. #MBTAannoyTeesh
Crawling south since he slammed on the brakes before JFK train ahead of us is in Braintree Signal system must have failed AGAIN #mbtaannoyrev8056
20 min early for the train; train was 30 min late. Now I'm no mathematician... Good thing it wasn't windy, raining or cold out. #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
It looks like the T is dealing with increased traffic to south station on Red Line it's usual way doing absolutely nothing #mbtaannoyrev8056
Each week on this page, though, we see that fellow passengers can cause just as much misery as the system itself. Sometimes, people are just awful. 
Why would you choose to clean your ears on the subway?!? #MBTAannoy #orangelineAnna Graham
At least 2 hustlers at State st Orange line stop right now #mbtaannoyMeridith
Oh yeah your luggage needs its own seat #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/MOOqk1Qfrev8056
People who play mobile games on full volume on a train... #mbta #mbtaannoyTyler
Though often the problem isn't so much the quality of your company as it is the quantity. 
@mbtaGM yeah, we all feel the pain in the green line with the sardine can it is at rush hour and Sox games #mbtaannoyKNRuval
Is it any wonder that an underpopulated bus or train is among the most prized experiences that riders cite when they use the #MBTAbrag hashtag? 
#notsomethinyouseeeveryday #notcomplaining #awesome #holidays #mbta #mbtabrag http://instagr.am/p/ThJnsKDTTR/Leena Joshi
Bus and train half empty. Boston is so nice when half the population is out of town. #mbtabragArthur Liu
And just to be clear, those awful people cited above also include some MBTA train conductors and bus drivers. 
Apparently Green Line drivers don't need to follow their traffic lights. @universalhub @mbtaGM #MBTAannoy http://pic.twitter.com/70yX3N7jJimmy Doan
People will stop being annoyed at late buses when bus drivers stop ignoring people at bus stops. #MBTAannoyAmanda GOTSOLE1981
Ugh, the B line driver who thinks he's a game show host now drives in the morning? #mbtaannoy #stfuCindy
Though there can be benefits to having an impatient driver: 
At work insanely early today thanks to my bus driver with a lead foot. #notComplaining #mbtaBragSweetz
And for all the hassle of public transti, it does help riders avoid the alternative hassles of providing one's own transportation. 
Having to drive myself around everywhere really makes me appreciate the T. #mbtabragSarah ✌
Try to bear that in mind the next time you're on a train sitting in a tunnel for a half-hour with plenty of time to ponder. And if you can get a wireless signal down there, be sure to tweet using #MBTAannoy or #MBTAbrag, depending on how well a half-hour sitting motionless in a tunnel fits into your schedule. 

And, for real, thanks for tweeting and filling this page each week with your frustrating, funny, and sometimes frightening experiences on the T. This column wouldn't exist without your tweets, so keep 'em coming in 2013, and have a very happy New Year. 

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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