Well, experiencing Boston past midnight was fun while it lasted.
Thousands of Bostonians who use late-night T service will take their last 2 a.m. rides Friday night into Saturday morning. For many of the 13,000 passengers who ride the T past midnight for work and social purposes, it’s a sad day in the city’s public transportation history, and The New York Times used the news as a way to make the point that Boston gets boring after 11 p.m.
While it’s easy to complain about the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which runs the T, Boston isn’t the only city having problems getting around. The late-night service cancellation was just one of a few frustrating public transportation stories this week.In Washington, D.C.,Metro service shut down for an entire day while inspectors checked for damaged electric cables. And San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system (known as the BART) admitted to the system’s shortcomings publicly on Twitter.
The Washington Post reported that inspectors found at least 26 areas where cables or the pieces that connected them to the third rail were damaged on the Metro. The emergency shutdown followed an electrical fire not so different from one that filled a train with smoke and killed one of the system’s passengers and hospitalized others last year. The sudden interruption in service sent the city, which already is known for its traffic-riddled roads, into a panic over how people would commute to work.
On the West Coast, BART officials on Twitter issued blunt responses to passengers who reached out with complaints, lamenting the demise of public transportation as San Francisco knows it.
@shakatron BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.— SFBART (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
Since the tweet went viral, the service has incorporated #ThisIsOurReality into other updates about service delays and failures.
The week wasn’t a total wash for Boston: Government Center Station, which temporarily severed Green Line and Blue Line connections when it closed for renovations two years ago, is slated to reopen next week.
The week served as a reminder that decaying infrastructure plagues public transportation systems nationwide. The next time we’re standing on a crowded platform waiting for the MBTA to clear a signal problem, it’ll be good to remember we’re not alone.