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A flurry of complaints from MBTA riders

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  February 8, 2013 05:15 PM

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John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

People waited at a bus stop at South Station during Friday’s snowfall.

A flurry of complaints from MBTA riders

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox· Fri, Feb 08 2013 14:14:35

As this is posted Friday afternoon, the MBTA has been shut down because of the growing snowstorm blanketing New England. So for once, it's not running late. 

Even on the most beautiful day, the MBTA has its issues, but bad weather usually makes them worse. This week, as the storm approached, Greater Boston residents speculated on Twitter about how the storm would affect the T: 
Does this weekend's blizzard mean no construction at Assembly Sq. and no Orange Line shuttle buses? If so, WORTH IT. #MBTAannoyRobert D Sullivan
Which parts of the #MBTA network will go down during #BigPoundingBoston2013? I'm guessing a lot no matter what #MBTAannoyKenji
As the storm began, Tyler and Arthur were pretty excited to find the system deserted and moving at record speed:
On the plus side, train is pretty empty this morning. Thanks blizzard! #MBTA #mbtabragTyler
Brighton Center to Harvard in 20 min #mbtabragArthur Liu
But at least one man was none too happy Thursday when the planned shutdown was announced:
There is NOOOO reason for the mbta to shut down at. 3pm tomorrow. Absolute fail. Some1 must be fired. #mbtaannoy #mbtafail as usual.D. Matt Brothers
Think about, though. Maybe Boston residents are better off taking some time away from the T. 

After all, several tweeters this week suggested various ways the transit system could be hazardous to riders' health. One was concerned about noise pollution:
Decibel app says background noise on old decrepit Red Line cars @ hearing loss level Always quality @mbtaGM #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Charlene and Josh had concerns about cleanliness:
This green line train smells like mildew while the previous train had a floor smeared with feces. Life is like a box of... #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Not having to wait long for a train at extreme sulphur smelling North Station: is that an #MBTAbrag or #MBTAfail?Josh СТРАУСС
Brigham noticed the system's old and worn equipment:
First time taking the T home in months, broken door on red line train #MBTAannoybrighamprescott
Given the frequent complaints about the condition of the system, does it make you feel better or worse to see it being repaired?
@MBTAgm Cares. No light bulb joke here. Blue Line rail maintenance took 15 #MBTAbrag personnel to screw back a big bolt http://pic.twitter.com/0w0RByaBSupahFans.com
Either way, the problem most riders notice first -- and the subject of most #MBTAannoy tweets -- is its slowness:
The red line to Ashmont is running really slowly...#mbtaannoySweetadelinevt
.@mbtaGM The red line is running way more than 15 minutes late... Trains are running so full, people cannot get on it. #MBTAannoy #mbtaSabrinaTheWiseLatina
. @mbtaGM waiting for 40 minutes and counting... #MBTAannoy #mbtaSabrinaTheWiseLatina
And... The Worcester train is delayed. Again. I am more surprised when it is on time because delayed seems to be the norm. #mbtaannoyJennifer Busiek Webb
I love rush hour on the b line between Harv Ave and Kenmore... Oh wait, I don't #mbtaannoyAmanda Gaughan
And delays usually become worse when shuttle buses enter the picture: 
I love taking the T to a dinner date. Frustration works up a good appetite. #ShuttleBusAmuseBouchees #MBTAannoyRobert D Sullivan
But these tweets show that delays were extraordinarily bad on the Red Line Wednesday morning:
.@mbtagm The red line is late again! 2nd time this week and it's only Wednesday. #MBTAannoy #mbtaSabrinaTheWiseLatina
Hey @mbtagm what's your excuse today!? The snow is melting, it's not that cold, and no disabled trains being announced. #redline #mbtaannoyCarrrBarr
What exactly does a "signal problem" mean? Get it together, #MBTA #mbtaannoy.Kristen
Been on the #RedLine for officially an hour. Should only take 20 minutes. #mbtafail #mbtaannoyKristen
Another brilliant display of MBTA incompetence. 1.5 hours Quincy to Harvard. With no accountability. #mbtasucks #mbtaannoy #mbtaScott Moore
.@mbta_alerts @mbtagm You lie! This train left Wollaston at 8:17 now it's 9:25 and we are not even to Park Street yet. #mbta #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
@spease15 Crack in the rails between Harvard and Central causing delays in service and slower speeds. Please don't die today. #MBTAannoyHannah Becker
#mbtaannoy Red Line breakdown, #66 shakedown. Slow and jerky driving. Bus 2226, ca. 9:40 AM.Bill Edwards
The #redline train I was on left Wollaston at 8:17am & it didn't get to Harvard until 10:12am. @mbtagm #MBTAannoy #mbta #fmlSabrinaTheWiseLatina
Today's #Redline Alerts: 15 min delay @ 7:07am, 20-25 min delay @ 8:48, 20-25 min delay @ 8:55,15 min delay @ 10:00 am #MBTAannoyHotties on the T
Lots of delays and lots of cranky people! #MBTAannoyRed Line Commuter
And it looks like the Red Line didn't get a whole lot better on Thursday: 
So it begins again: "Red Line experiencing 10-15 min delays due to a disabled..." Really, MBTA??? Arrrgh! #MBTAannoyHotties on the T
Crap commute again. #MBTAannoyRed Line Commuter
At least one rider found some consolation during Wednesday's long wait: 
Arrgh, another grueling #Redline rush hour delay! This #hottie made the ride more enjoyable though http://bit.ly/XVJ9tt #MBTAannoy #mbtaHotties on the T
So, if you sometimes think you'd be better off getting out of your train and walking, you may be right: 
Out walking the green line on a hill between Washington and Warren st #mbtabrag & #mbtaannoyAmanda Gaughan
But not always:
Total time from Airport to Stony Brook: 23 minutes. Unbelievable. #MBTAbragRichard Knight
Nice. I've had that ride before! “@LastKnight49: Total time from Airport to Stony Brook: 23 minutes. Unbelievable. #MBTAbrag”MBTA Rider
One of the reasons people get frustrated is that the T can be so unpredictable. The system's scheduling policies are often mysterious: 
How is there a #redline train ahead of us at #Ashmont? I had to wait 10 minutes for a train at downtownxing. #mbtaannoyBobby Klimko
@mbtaGM for a change can the first train in afternoon packs be Ashmont to give Braintree bound a chance to get on train #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
15 minutes, 4 D-line trains. No C in sight. Am I being Punked? #mbtaannoyJuliana
How is 7:30am not within "peak hours"? #frontdoorexitonly #mbtaannoyElise
@mbtaGM Why isn't 2 minutes in MBTA time different from real time? #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Been at Ruggles 4min. 3rd inbound just came through. My train to FH will still be another 5min. Nice deployment. #mbtaannoyA. Ghost
Oh #MBTAannoy Fool me once, shame on You, Fool me twice, shame on You again! Evil late night train switch-a-roos at Kenmore standbys. #SighSupahFans.com
Perhaps those policies are one reason trains are so often filled to overflowing with passengers:
Took SIX trains coming through Kenmore before one was empty enough for me to squeeze on. #MBTAannoy #WTFKyle W. Kerr
@mbtagm when the train is full, common sense should prevail and let people exit through all doors. #MBTAannoy #ihatethegreenlineKNR
Happy Thursday! 5:53 train with standing room only. #MBTAannoyRed Line Commuter
haha! #thembtaruinedmylife | WHEN I'M TRYING TO GET OFF OF THE TRAIN AND THE PEOPLE TRYING TO GET ON ARE BLOCKING ME http://ow.ly/hsnuGAmitha Knight
@amithaknight That happened to me tonight. The doors shut before I could get off and I had to wait until the next stop. #MBTAannoyLauren M. Barrett
As frustrating as the crowds are, people can be just as frustrating when taken one by one:
hating everyone on the t except @GRACiEland20 #whats new #MBTAannoyKyla McCabe-Corrow
You didn't turn the phone volume up, you put it on speaker. Now, everyone can hear your conversation. #mbtaannoyLukas Akerley
Seriously, it's too early in the morning to already be that funky! Soap is your friend. #mbta #MBTAannoyDawne Thorne
Hey idiot put lotion on your hands after you get off of the train you put your elbow in my right eye #mbtaannoyrev8056
The age ceiling on people who sit on the Orange Line is apparently 25. #MBTAannoyJustin D.
I can't believe the nerve some people have #MBTAANNOYJess Indeed
Is there a Scumbag 66 meme yet? #mbta #mbtaAnnoyJessica Chahanovich
The #MBTA is overpopulated with people for whom chewing gum with their mouth closed is an insurmountable challenge. #MBTAannoyMelinda
On the #MBCR, alone on a 3-seater but someone still sits right next to me instead of taking the free aisle seat.#mbtaannoyGracie's Dad
Train not crowded plenty of seats so why do I have you backpack in my face #mbtaannoyrev8056
That's why there's nothing else quite as satisfying as forcing your fellow riders to mind their manners:
On the #OrangeLine, I just forced a woman to move her bag so I could take the empty seat. Feel like a baller. #MBTAbragJeremy C. Fox
It's true that many riders are rude, but at least some are stylish: 
Earth's last remaining Member of The previously-considered-extinct MEMBERS ONLY Jacket society. Sleep mode #MBTAbrag http://pic.twitter.com/kAxXuRqACoachKevinAKrueger
Like finding Sasquatch, here's a grainy zoom shot of this dude's MEMBERS ONLY Jacket spotted on Red Line. #MBTAbrag http://pic.twitter.com/vov5gOqCCoachKevinAKrueger
These pants are a thing. Yes, those are all pockets. #mbtabrag http://pic.twitter.com/qeCAVbZIMarissa Breton
And some are flattering:
Wow 5:35 and a your hair smells great comment! #mbtabragRed Line Commuter
And while the behavior of fellow passengers can be terrible, it is rarely as frustrating as that of bad drivers:
Driver of route 23 bus 0817 reprimands me for standing at a bus shelter and not at the bus stop sign. Gimme a break! #MBTAannoyDerek
#mbtaannoy B line car 3815 was being driven too fast. Driver did not announce broken doors after I told him about them.Bill Edwards
The driver of the inbound B Line I was just on didn't open the doors at Boylston St. Why? #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
Some of those drivers seem to have a really hard time sharing the road:
Sure, B Line...disregard ur signal & drive ur ENTIRE train thru the intersection during our green light. #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/m6kICWQcJimmy Doan
I'm not even on #MBTA, but still #MBTAannoy. Sitting in car near Ruggles, just watched 3 buses pull out against red light & block traffic.Jeremy C. Fox
And what frustrations the transit authority can't provide, the federal government apparently can: 
Reports of #BagSearches at the Oak Grove #MBTA station this morning. #DHS is the ultimate #MBTAAnnoy. @DefendThe4thDefend the 4th
Even on the best days, riding the T can be a mixed bag: 
Lost my CharlieCard, but since I registered it, I'll get a new one in the mail! #mbtabrag But it'll take 3-5 bus. days to arrive #mbtaannoysnowgray
The Red Line countdown timers are great. Except that the last two Saturdays, they've been turned off at Park St. #mbtaannoyAlyssa Biggs
But for at least one rider this week, there was nothing at all positive to say: 
The @mbta is the bain of my existence. #fml #mbtaannoy @mbtagmCarrrBarr
The next time you're ready to give up on the T entirely, let your fellow riders know by tweeting with #MBTAannoy. And if you manage to find something nice to say after the T eventually reopens, tweet about it using #MBTAbrag. 

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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