It was like an Oprah show on the T today

You get a delay! And you get a delay! And you get a delay!

Trains lapsed into unconsciousness on the Red Line and the C, D and E trolley lines. But the Orange Line saved the worst for last: A dead train at Ruggles that sat there for nearly 20 minutes before operators got the idea to get the train behind it to push it out of the way a little after 9 a.m.

Anna Lawless was on the pusher train:

After sitting outside Ruggles for 20 mins, we seem to be pushing the disabled train ahead of us.

Ashley Hill missed that train:

Been waiting at Jackson for over 40 minutes for an oak grove train.

At Forest Hills, the Robot Lady warned of "significant delays" as the platform filled to rush-hour levels. A train that finally departed around 9 had a driver forced to announce at every pre-Mass. Ave. stop that people should stop trying to get on the train and just step away from the doors and the yellow line because there are four or five (he couldn't decide) trains right behind it.

Jah Hills, on that train, proposed:

When it gets this bad they should arrange pop-up coffee and omelette stations on the platforms. Would quell all dissent.



Free tagging: 


Breaking down the breakdown

A train began having brake issues at 7:30am and shortly after radioed in that the brakes were not going to release. By the time it was 7:40, an inspector was already on scene, trains were turning at Brigham Circle, a train was immediately behind the disabled train (at Back of the Hill inbound), a train was on the Heath St loop, and my train was at Back of the Hill outbound. I had stepped off at Riverway already since I had some time to kill and watch the scene.

By 7:45, this crowd had formed:

Immediately after that picture, throngs of passengers were evacuated from the trains and buses which were technically not "at" Back of the Hill. If they're not in the proper spot, you're not supposed to let people on or off, but they'd already been there for almost 20 minutes. The crowded at Riverway remained constant as people fled to Brookline Village (which also had a disabled train) and Brigham Circle instead.

At about this time, the MBTA said to use the 39 bus instead of the E Line, which made no sense. The buses are too wide to fit very well in the lane between trolleys and parking spaces, and the inspectors had that lane stopped, regardless. At 7:55, they began to take out wrenches and (I assume) tried to manually cut out the brakes on the lead car, which was... *drumroll* a Type 8! Good ol' reliable Type 8's! Thanks Ansaldo Breda!

At about 8:00am, now 30 minutes in, an ambulance was trying to pry through Heath & S Huntington with no luck at all. They ceased working on the train to let traffic through for the ambulance. I'm told that traffic just now started moving at about 8:25am. Nearly an hour later.


If you ignore the periodic

wire failures at Airport (which almost never used to happen when the changeover point to/from third rail happened at Maverick). Of course, given that both the Orange Line and the Red Line have proven the reliability of outside third rail for 40 years now, the sensible and logical thing would be to scrap the wire and replace it with third rail all the way to Wonderland.

I don't know how people do it

I don't know how people do it, really. How is it possible to get anywhere even close to being on time when you have to rely on Boston's public transporation system? What about those that can't just easily walk a few blocks to grab a bus when the trains are knocked out.
I don't say this lightly but I do have sympathy for those who seem to play a game of roulette each morning to see if they will make their destination even remotely on time.
And, I feel for the MBTA employees as well who are just trying to do their job.

Somethings gotta give.


Uncertainty will doom us - business MUST step up NOW...

because soon it will be too late.

The public transport situation in the eastern third of the state is seriously limiting economic growth. The only way that we are going to be able to improve things is if the big business interest groups (e.g., The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership) tally up all of the lost productivity that is caused by these daily debacles and start ringing the phones on Beacon Hill off their hooks.


That's an impressive record, Whit.

And that's not meant to be snark.

Perhaps you haven't been late in 11 years (there are probably several thousand people who would like to ask you how you have managed that), but clearly, thousands of others are made late on a nearly daily basis. My comment was directed to the larger issue - when the effects of these repeated breakdowns are aggregated, they are a major economic issue and should be treated as such.

(Incidentally, "they should leave earlier" is not a cure for the problem. Even if people could do that (many can't for childcare reasons, etc.), budgeting and expending more time for commuting also negatively affects productivity.)


I have a mixed attitude about

I have a mixed attitude about the T--I love it because I don't need a car and we are so lucky to have it unlike most of the people in the US but on the other hand I want it to be better. I want it to take priority in the minds of policy makers over car centered transportation every time. So some days like today I defend it and other days I complain about it bitterly

My complaints usually center around the 25% of T employees who are just pulling a check and choose to be nasty and vindictive rather than about the service. Keep in mind that the other 75% or so are fine or even great. Maybe we could get policy makers to take us more seriously if it could be shown that the lazy, useless, rude T employees were being thrown in the trash to save a little money which could be better used for maintenance and expansion.


Are there studies, surveys

Are there studies, surveys etc that back up your claim of thousands of riders made late on a nearly daily basis? I ask that in all seriousness and not as snark. I agree with your overall point regarding economic impact and the need for improvements. But your assertion does not coincide with my experience nor that of anyone else I can think of that takes the T regularly that I know. We all experience delays at times, no question, but not every day. The situation is bad but not THAT bad, imho.

The problem I've observed with the T

in the past few years is not so much that I find myself consistently late for work because of breakdowns and the like - although that has happened on occasion. Rather, it's been the fact that it takes me noticeably longer to get from A to B on an average day, even when service is running "normally". Mornings going from North Station to Boylston (or Arlington) aren't usually the issue (at least during "rush hour"), but going home at night can often be a real PITA. Four or five years ago, I could get from my office to North Station (including the walk from the office to the T) in 15 to 20 minutes on a fairly reliable basis. Now that same trip normally takes me at least between 25 and 35 minutes, if not longer.

However, having driven into the office on occasion for work reasons (which I do two or three times a year on average), I'll freely admit that the MBTA is not a bad alternative - provided your work schedule is flexible enough to accommodate delays. But this philosophy of "accommodate the maximum number of passengers in the fewest number of vehicles" is eventually going to backfire big time on the MBTA.

Here's an idea

Everyone should walk immediately to This Guy's office and refuse to leave until he stops being such an arrogant putz about proper funding:

Sorry, Stan - paying for the T is NOT subsidizing Boston. Go pass the hat for those $50million in Irene Repairs for far fewer people.


Overall, I'm rarely late for

Overall, I'm rarely late for work because of the T and I take it everyday. Commuter rail and Orange Line or sometimes bus and Orange Line. Doesn't mean I do not agree with your overall point that a significant infusion of money and maintenance is necessary. Having lived at various points on all the subway lines (except Blue), I found the biggest problem to be the inconsistency of the Red Line, fwiw.