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Snow, snow go away; don't shut down the MBTA

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  March 8, 2013 02:23 PM

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snowy commute March 2013.jpg

Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com

Commuters scampered through the snow outside Green Street Station on the Orange Line Thursday afternoon.

Snow, snow go away; don't shut down the MBTA

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox· Fri, Mar 08 2013 11:30:18

Snow has been falling in Boston for the better part of two days, closing down much of Greater Boston and slowing down most of its public transportation. 

It is, at this point, a familiar story. Three of the past four weekends have seen snowstorms strike Boston, the first of them so massive that it shut down the MBTA for nearly two days. 

This is winter in Boston, some might say, what can you expect? And yet, unusual or not, the effects of these storms on residents' daily lives, and their commutes, still frustrate many. 

But it appears that the snow isn't bad for everyone. Shockingly, there was one commuter this morning who had a positive report, possibly because there were so few other riders on the train:
Friday morning and the #mbta commute was great! #MBTAbrag #MBTAmiracleRed Line Commuter
But Red Line Commuter was an outlier. Most riders who commented on Twitter this morning reported negative impacts from the snow: 
Horrible weather & t starts service from Braintree with 43 yo train held together by rust I wonder if we will make it in #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
@mbtaGM no worries, I will wait in the storm because you only open one door to get in the train. #MBTAannoy #ihatethegreenlineKNR
Shame on you MBTA. What happened to "safety first?" #mbtaannoy http://pic.twitter.com/ZXIw6E5CMtJeannie W.
Not really sure why we have been sitting at Charles for 5 minutes with the doors open as snow pours into the train. #redline #mbtaannoyErin Turowski
The next tweeter, Mike, didn't specifically mention the weather, but it probably had some influence on the delays that were frustrating him: 
Major #mbtaannoy today on the Red Line southbound. Major delays, announcements for more SB trains over PA as mine was standing by.Mike Tremblay
This next tweet may also be about the weather ... or almost anything, really. It's easy to picture poor Kimberly being so apoplectic with frustration that she couldn't quite describe its cause:
#mbtaannoy #mbtaannoy reallykimberly
As if the snow weren't enough, this week also saw an announcement that the MBTA could make dramatic cuts in service and increases in fares if it doesn't get the state funding Governor Deval Patrick has requested. Clara and Melinda weren't too thrilled with this news: 
On @mbtaGM's proposed changes: http://www.claraklimansilver.com/charlie/the-future-of-the-t/ #budgetcuts #boston #mbtaannoyClara Kliman-Silver
Another #MBTA fare hike would be more palatable had we seen any improvements in service after the last one. #MBTAannoyMelinda
While residents of Eastern Massachusetts waited to see how this will play out on Beacon Hill, many were also waiting for their ride to show up: 
Well, 18 mins and 3 overcrowded orange line trains and I'm still waiting at north station. #mbtafail #mbtaannoycharlene mcbride
Standing by due to a disabled train on the #OrangeLine. Happy rush hour. #MBTAannoyJeremy C. Fox
Standing in the snow for half an hour and getting passed by two full buses #MBTAannoyNat
Waiting for #87 bus...app says its coming...then nothing...still waiting #mbta #MBTAannoyMBTA Traveler
At least some bus riders were waiting because of a courtesy afforded a fellow commuter. Not that that necessarily made them feel better:
@stacos #OrangeLine engr announced they are holding bus #34E for a passenger stuck on this delayed train. #props #mbtabrag @mbtaGM @mbtaAmanda GOTSOLE1981
But when your train comes, it's speedy and dependable, right? Right? 
I wish greenline would have gone express this morning its taking forever. #mbtaannoyRahul A. Garg
The green line is so fast and reliable...said no one ever. #mbtaannoyJoey Iacona
Are the trains crowded? Is it easy to get out? 
#thembtaruinedmylife | TRYING TO MOVE TO THE FRONT OF THE TRAIN WHEN IT'S FRONT DOOR EXIT ONLY http://bit.ly/Yk4AYv #MBTAannoy #mbtaAli Wisch
The tweeter known as rev8056 ran into all kinds of problems: long waits, overcrowded trains, and a number of other difficulties:
@mbtaGM I see you have your packed Braintree followed seconds later by empty Ashmont pattern set up #mbtaannoyrev8056
Thanks @mbtaGM for 2 Ashmont trains in a row I love standing on snow Any trains to Braintree ? I hate the T #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
@mbtaGM you would be able to close the doors if you had run enough Braintree trains We pay for this crap service #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Starting early with disabled trains on Red Line aren't we @mbtaGM ? I guess being on time for work is overrated #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Tell me @mbtaGM does the packed Braintree followed seconds later by empty Ashmont ever get old? It does for us #mbtaannoy #mbtarev8056
Can't move train @ Park cause so many people packed on cant close doors You want more money for this crap? #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
All those issues aside, MBTA passengers would probably enjoy their commutes a lot more if they didn't have to share the system with each other:
To the person on the bus playing the same 30 second ringtone on your flip phone repeatedly: it's too early for this #mbtaannoyCaitlin
Can't tell if the girl sitting next to me on the bus is crying or has the sniffles. #MBTAawkward (#MBTAannoy?)Kyle W. Kerr
Smoking on the T is actually against the law.... #MBTAannoy @mbtaGMRachel Heaton (Ryan)
When a great idea slaps you in the face. Running late? Finish dressing on the T! @universalhub #MBTAannoy http://twitpic.com/c8ly4zKyle W. Kerr
#MBTAannoy When theres a mix of 8 angry, ugly,crackheadish looking people starring at you not aiding in helping you wake up on your commuteIan V
Here's an idea if you want to run or walk up the stairs then take the STAIRS not the escalator! #MBTAannoy #MBTARed Line Commuter
#MBTAannoy Simultaneous eating & shopping on the #MBTA #yogurtsmellsgross #keepitathome http://pic.twitter.com/rnOhd9ZDdBLiz
Picking your nail polish off in public is gross but it's more disgusting on a crowded #mbta train! Pieces flying everywhere! #MBTAannoyRed Line Commuter
The guy next to me on the train is snoring like a fat lumberjack. #MBTAannoyMelinda
Gotta love the lady who cut my clearly pregnant self off to get on the orange line before me then took the only open seat. Nice. #mbtaannoyMichelle
I love the smell of ranch and banana peppers at 7am so thank you sir on the orange line for sharing your sub with all of us #MBTAannoyMegan
I think I will stay away from guy who reeks of ETOH @ 515 AM and seems to have passed out. Always classy Red Line #mbtaannoyrev8056
At least some commuters, like Jules here, are aware that their behavior could affect others: 
Hopefully, I won't be on #mbtaannoy for having a beef patty on the Orange Line. I'm eating very carefully and in the bag!Jules Wang
The behaviors described above sound pretty bad, but the scene described in this next tweet doesn't even seem possible:
Someone is farting AND making out at the same time in front of me #mbtaannoyAmanda Gaughan
Who would do that? Who would make out with him or her? It hurts to think about it.

People are full of surprises. That lesson was brought home this week by this next tweet from Kyle, who points out that making your commute unpleasant is not an activity that's restricted to people who are actually on the train or bus with you: 
Not one but THREE cars blocking my bus stop @ Brighton Ave. and Chester St. @mbtaGM @universalhub #MBTAannoy http://twitpic.com/c8f6i4Kyle W. Kerr
Of course, while Kyle was waiting for his bus, he could have had worse company than a few parked cars, as Caitlin points out: 
#mbtaannoy #mbtafail sharing my bus stop with this poor guy today http://instagr.am/p/WaP4wsPcmt/Caitlin
For so many reasons, the most pleasant company on your commute is the company that is easiest to ignore:
It's the best when nobody speaks and you get a peaceful commute! #silenceisgolden #MBTA #MBTAbragRed Line Commuter
Which are worse, though, the problems caused by humans, or those caused by inhuman technology? 
T plans upgrade WiFi meanwhile no cell service on most Red Line & barely working on rest but we are just not worthy #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
All this money we pay and yall can't have ALL the green like trains displaying WHAT letter it is when entering Gov't Ctr Station? #mbtaannoyTeesh
And what about the combination of human and mechanical error that results in incomprehensible scheduling?
Really @mbtaGM 20 minutes between C-line trains on a Friday night? Really? #MBTAannoyKathleen Veronica D
3 buses have gone towards Fields Corner..and 0 towards Ruggles #MBTAannoy .B Money Babyy
3 Lechmere trains in last 5 min but not a single E train in the last 30 min @SciencePark. #mbtaannoyErzhik
But even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and somehow the timing worked out perfectly Wednesday afternoon for the GoddessofCarbs: 
Getting a seat on both the SL bus and the subway during rush hour on a windy, rainy day is such a pleasant occurrence. #MBTAbrag #MBTAGoddessOfCarbs
See, taking the T isn't all bad. Sometimes a trip is pleasant enough that it merits a wholehearted #MBTAbrag tweet. But when it's not, maybe even as you slog home today (if you had to go to work), don't forget the cathartic effects of an #MBTAannoy tweet, recommended by four out of five dentists as an alternative to grinding one's teeth with fury!*

*This question has not been asked of any dentists, nor have any dentists publicly recommended tweeting, so far as Boston.com could determine. 

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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