MBTA Bingo Keeps Track of Maddening T Moments

One MBTA Bingo card assigned to a player.
One MBTA Bingo card assigned to a player. –twitter.com/mbtabingo

Good news, MBTA riders: there’s now a Twitter-based board game to keep track of all the oddities you experience on your commute. Maybe this will make it less painful to sit across from that couple making out? (Probably not.)

A Twitter account called MBTABingo appeared on June 9. The bio describes it as “a hashtag, photo-driven Twitter game.’’ Bingo cards have spaces like: “music, no headphones #heyMrD,’’ “drunk guy #freeRealityTV,’’ “group selfie on the Late Night T #pastcurfew,’’ and other relatable instances of T madness.

All prospective players have to do is post photo evidence of their encounters along with the matching hashtag and an @MBTABingo mention. The player’s card is then updated by the account. (If you don’t already know how Bingo works, filling five spaces in a row makes you a winner.)


Daniel McLaughlin, Andrew Ba Tran, and David Putney, who currently work for The Boston Globe, created the Twitter game.

“It all came together at Hacking Journalism, a hackathon hosted at the MIT Media Lab in June,’’ Tran said of the idea. “We were interested in finding a way to gamify news on Twitter. At first we thought we would turn the Massachusetts Governors Race into a Twitter game but decided to focus on an older idea that we had– a Twitter game for MBTA riders.’’ They see the game as a “news experiment’’ to see if players will continue the game after getting their card.

Tran said MBTA Bingo will likely never become an app, but winners do “get a shout out from the @MBTABingo account and a place on the leaderboard.’’

That’s an impressive feat to add to your resume! At least now sitting in a “mystery puddle’’ or avoiding eye contact with an unruly passenger will mean more than just collecting unpleasant T experiences — you could win a game of Bingo on your way to work.

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