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Happy holidays on the MBTA

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  December 21, 2012 02:25 PM

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Red Line at Park St 12-12.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Riders awaited their trains and enjoyed the MBTA’s expanding array of countdown clocks at the always-festive Red Line platform in Park Street Station.

Happy holidays on the MBTA

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox· Fri, Dec 21 2012 12:02:07

With Hanukkah already behind us and Christmas just days away, it's safe to say the holidays are on most people's minds, for good and for ill. Almost everyone likes gifts and days off from work or school, and many like spending time with family, but most would prefer to avoid the big crowds they find at so many shopping areas and seasonal haunts, as well as the indignities of travel. 

Bostonians can find those same unpleasant features almost every day of the year, though, just by boarding an MBTA bus or train. Perhaps that's why tempers may seem especially short on the T this time of year. But just as reliable as cranky commuters are the good Samaritans who seem to pop up around the holidays to remind us what the season is about. 

Take, for instance, the story behind this #MBTAbrag tweet. 
Biggest #MBTAbrag of the year for this rider: "Doing the Right Thing!" http://www.tpdnews411.com/2012/12/doing-right-thing.html?spref=twMichael J. Nichols
Click through the link above to the MBTA Transit Police site for a wonderful story about a man who found nearly $600 in an envelope and helped ensure it was returned to the hardworking housekeeper it belonged to. 

He's not the only commuter who was feeling the Christmas spirit. Check out this next tweet: 
The wife and I just took our Christmas tree from @bostonxmastrees home on the #greenline. #MBTABrag #CityChristmas #somanystrangelooksD
But not everyone was caught up in such warm feelings.
#MBTAannoy RT @GoogieBaba: Apparently you need a permit to sing carols on the MBTA. My church group just for kicked out of Forest Hills!Lynne Brown
Right. 5 other church ladies, 3 kids & I were "asked to leave" the #MBTA station for caroling. Apparently Christmas carols require a permitRev. Laura Everett
@RevEverett what?! #mbtaannoySweetadelinevt
The story had a happy ending, though, as all holiday stories should. Beverly Scott, the T's new general manager, invited the church group back to Forest Hills and joined them for a few carols

Elsewhere on the transit system, there were other signs of the season. On the Green Line, for instance, was that a young Santa Claus with his bag of goodies? 
It's REALLY important that his bag has TWO SEATS. His cargo must be extremely precious... #MBTAannoy @universalhub http://twitpic.com/bm6v8lKyle W. Kerr
Perhaps not. Perhaps it was just an entry in this week's gallery of wasted space, like the photo below. 
Of course your binder needs its own seat on the train. #MBTAannoy http://pic.twitter.com/LbSrovJRMBTA Rider
A binder on a seat? Why not just hold it in your lap? 

Of course, that rider wasn't the only one making unorthodox use of the accommodations. Look what this gentleman did with his umbrella. 
Not sure if I should be pissed or impressed by this #mbta #mbtabrag #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/eGi0baDNSonia Rose
At least using the strap helps keep it out of the way of other riders, right? Unlike, say, this next overstuffed handcart in the middle of the aisle. 
Really?! During rush hour! #MBTAannoy http://pic.twitter.com/jm6dL5xHMBTA Rider
What else was getting on commuters' nerves this past week? As usual, there were accounts of problems with buses arriving in convoys, as well as trains mysteriously taken out of service and otherwise delayed. 
Think that's a record! Four--count 'em, FOUR--57 buses in a row. 2 is understandable, 3 questionable, but this? #MBTAannoy @universalhubKyle W. Kerr
Train number 5 just got taken out of service at GovCntr. WTF I just want to get to HayMarket!! #mbtaannoySonia Rose
No #mbta it's not absolutely frigid out, please take your time getting an alewife train here, I mean its only rush hour. #MBTAannoyRhiannon Gorham
One rider, though, had a shockingly swift journey.
JP to Somerville 40 minutes. #mbtabragMBTA Rider
Many didn't, though, and the delays and other issues prompted several messages addressed directly to the MBTA:
@mbtagm Route 86 bus experiencing 30 minute delays due to traffic, presumably #mbtaannoyArthur Liu
@mbtaGM The red line is late, why is this train standing by at JFK? #MBTAannoy #mbtaSabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtaGM can someone please do something about the fact that every train I get on happens to stand by at park st?! Every day?! #mbtaannoyLauren B
@mbtaGM most of Central Sq inbound fare machines not letting u add value to Charlie cards, none taking credit/debit for payment #MBTAannoyMeg Bossong
And the 5:40 Newburyport train gets cancelled. @mbtaGM can I get a refund? Or will there continue to be no accountability? #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
3 disabled trains, almost in a row on the Red Line. Going for a record #mbtaGM? #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
@mbtaGM The red line is a mess this morning. Come on, MBTA! #GetItTogether #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtaGM @mbta_alerts The red line I running late! No alerts?! #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtaGM This train was on standby for almost 10 minutes.Apparently for no reason.Making me late for work. #MBTAannoy http://pic.twitter.com/GzOiKEZKSabrinaTheWiseLatina
@mbtaGM And now this train is on standby at JFK. Come on! Get it moving! #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
There was some good news coming out of the @MBTAgm account, though:
Good news for your commute: Countdown signs are now in 24 additional stations on the red, orange, and blue lines http://pic.twitter.com/NEGCL3RrMBTA
Jennifer was dubious. 
@mbtaGM yes- but will they work? The bus signs at Ruggles are already broken or they just never get turned on. #mbtaannoy #failJennifer O'Neil
But on the Red Line, Ari was impressed. 
Countdown clocks at #CentralSquare. Thanks @mbtagm #mbta #win #mbtabrag http://pic.twitter.com/zHQsYizSAri Ofsevit
And on the Blue Line, Neenah and Richard were both happy to see the new countdown clocks installed in the Logan Airport stop.
Blue Line riders finally getting some parity. #mbtabrag http://pic.twitter.com/Ly6LyqGXNeenah Estrella-Luna
Airport station finally got train ETAs! #MBTAbrag http://pic.twitter.com/7JdMXxEwRichard Knight
At other times, though, the T was sending mixed messages. 
Ask for a CharlieCard, get told they don't give them out anymore and points to sign saying opposite. Whaa? #mbtaannoySheri Ann Cheng
And at least one trolley conductor seemed to have little concern for passengers' safety.
This #greenline b train is giving me serious whiplash. Students left and right are falling all over me & reading this very tweet #mbtaannoyAmanda Gaughan
This bus driver wasn't doing much better. 
86 Bus driver missed turn, then pulled u-ey over 4 lanes of rush hour traffic. "They already think we're crazy, what's the harm?" #MBTAbragGreg Burton
But these MBTA employees all made good impressions. 
The super friendly conductor is back on the #redline. Love this guy! #mbtabrag @MBTAWilliam Holbrook
@mbtaGM #mbtabrag#7 bus driver stopped to let me on! Next bus wasnt for 40 minutes. Amazon made my nightJacqueline Kearney
If this super-courteous Green Line driver is fishing for an #MBTAbrag, he has succeeded! 7:22 PM at Arlington StreetBeast Boston
The same could not be said of the commuters in this next batch of tweets:
Attention passengers, please apply deodorant prior to boarding the Red Line. Thank you and have a nice day #mbtaannoyRitchie Sullivan
Come on guy... Why do you have to lean on the pole preventing others from being able to grab on?? #mbtaannoyHarry Chiu
On purple train: 2 people talk about horrors of being only white person @ work. Really?? Had 2 speak up. Set straight politely. #MBTAannoyLynne Brown
I don't know what's worse the guy screaming into his phone in Spanglish or group of girls using like every like other like word #mbtaannoyrev8056
Nothing like getting knee capped by some students suitcase cause she was paying attention to Facebook instead station we are in #mbtaannoyrev8056
And the T is still having the occassional equipment failure. 
Another mechanical problem during rush hour on the Rockport line. Wish the @mbtaGM would stop pretending this isn't an issue #mbtaannoyMichelle Clements
These aging trains and buses are leading to some pretty soggy situations for passengers.
Happy Tuesday: black gooey liquid fell from the ceiling of my train all over my head and down my back. #MBTAannoyKelly Burnett
Good thing I wore a raincoat. Getting dripped on *inside* this orange line train. #MBTAannoy BadJapes
And Lauren, here, encountered a real nightmare scenario. 
First I get on a train that was on fire, now I'm on a train that keeps blaring a horn ?! #mbtaannoyLauren B
Let's all make a Christmas wish that we can avoid trains with bleating horns, and especially those that are on fire, as we round out the holiday season and prepare to enter the new year. How about a silent night on the train instead?

But if Santa Claus doesn't bring you the commuting experience you put at the top of your list, you can always let him -- and the rest of the world -- hear about on Twitter by using the #MBTAannoy hashtag. And if you find a courteous driver or a sweet-smelling Orange Line train in your stocking on Christmas morning, be sure to #MBTAbrag about it.

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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