Buses piling up like cordwood on South Huntington

Stuck buses on South Huntington Avenue

Two stuck buses. Photo by Gordon Hallett.

As of 2:45, there were three 39 buses dead on South Huntington Avenue by the VA Hospital - two due to a bit of crashiness. Police asked the dispatcher on that route to stop sending buses down South Huntington.

And with nowhere for them to turn around, E Line trolleys that normally would head that way are instead terminating at Brigham Circle.



Free tagging: 


It's happened before

It has happened before, but I can't remember specifics. MBTA PD made a request and a dispatcher denied it.

Today, PD asked an inspector at Forest Hills to reroute the buses. They claimed they didn't have the manpower to divert buses. Meanwhile, PD dispatch asked the bus dispatcher to completely stop running the 39 buses, and that request was also denied.


I don't think the police have

I don't think the police have the authority to force the MBTA to stop running a bus route. They can request it but the MBTA has no obligation to comply. The MBTA is not breaking any laws by running the buses so the police can't just waltz in and arrest the dispatcher legally. The cops would need some kind of court order from a judge or something like that to legally be able to shut down a bus line.

I may be wrong but I think it'd have to go something like that.


Jackson Square

My daughter was on a BLS Huntington Ave bus that was rerouted to Forest Hills via Columbus and Washington. I'd guess they all did that, but who knows when it comes to the 'T.

My daughter ...

Walked to Ruggles expecting to take commuter rail to Roslindale where I'd be picking her up, only when she called, I told her I can't get there because they've yet to plow our street - which is up a hill. So now she's traveling to Needham Heights, where she will then stay on the train as it goes back the other way and hopefully I'll be able to pick her up then (the walk from Ruggles exhausted her too much for her to be able to get up the stairs to the Orange Line to go someplace warm, like, say, North Station). I'd be upset except, well, that's exactly the sort of thing I would have done - must be genetic.


I suggested that

Or taking the train to West Roxbury and walking to that library, but she. just. couldn't. walk. another. step. I think it wasn't just the trudging but the trudging through wet snow getting her feet all wet.

Yes wet feet are definitely a

Yes wet feet are definitely a bummer , thats why I baited the hook with Diane's bake shop. But where are all the adults with the plows and sanders during this Suffolk county snowageddon ? Alas where I am it is raining and 38 * ,wood fire burning , and I am off to the wood shed to split some more wood ,exactly , with my new store bought log splitter, as the old armstrong model is out of tendons and such............. Hope the poor child gets home and dry safely and soon, Sumus Primi , right !


Hope she gets home soon. I remember a flock of young BLSers arriving at my house back during that crazy storm a few years ago--seven or eight maybe?-- when everyone got trapped. They had walked the mile and a half home since the buses and trains were all stuck. Mostly I remember how many of them were wearing Converse sneakers or soaking wet Uggs.

I have three kids

They've all always had boots and winter coats. And mittens and hats for that matter. they didn't always want to wear that stuff but they damn well had it, and wore it or didn't go out when weather conditions demanded it.

Thanks for asking.


And you lose!

I'm a life-long liberal Democrat. I wouldn't vote for a Republican for dog catcher.

Some things aren't political. Hate to break it to you.

I'm not especially old or curmudgeonly either but don't let that stop you from pulling out the old lawn banality. Home town crowd seems to love it.

Take a long look in the mirror

and come to terms with the fact that a. someone who says things like "if parents can't afford to buy boots for their children, they shouldn't be having them." is NOT a liberal. Liberals don't generally presume that only rich people are allowed to procreate. And b. your comment was not only totally unnecessary, it made NO sense whatsoever. As I've already reminded your new buddy in crankpot idiocy, Will, that storm took everyone by surprise. Kids were stuck on buses for eight or nine hours; the commute lasted until ten at night. The kids I referred to made their footwear choice based on preteen fashion choices and the forecast, not because of economics. Get it now? You were the one who decided to insert the weirdo judgmental comments, ok?


My comment wasn't specific to this storm

Kids getting caught w/o gear occasionally isn't bad parenting. Not being able to somehow, someway, find appropriate clothing for your kids is a problem.

I said nothing about wealth. there are other resources out there. Personally I'd go to every shoe store in boston and offer to labor for shoes for my kids. Or go to every church and other charity.

Kids need boots. Find them. end of discussion. The fact that you think I'm a right wing wack job for thinking this actually makes me think you're a damn kook.

Have a nice day.

Kids feet never grow during the winter

Nope, it never happens that a kid will outgrow their boots by a size, sometimes two, in a three week period. It also never happens that there are no longer any boots to be had at the end of the winter season.

Will knows this because he knows everything there is to know about how kids grow and what being a parent means.


I used to hide a pair of

I used to hide a pair of sneakers in the garage to change into out of my galoshes that my mother made me wear to walk the mile to school when it was snowing. Old man galoshes with buckles! Fuck that noise, or, in the parlance of that era, gosh no!


I was mentally exhausted

I was mentally exhausted after half a block of trying not to slip on the ice, even though I was wearing waterproof hiking boots. Then I put on my Microspikes, and crunched my way home without thinking about it.

After School Refugees

We had a pack of teens who didn't have buses show up in a timely manner, had to leave the high school building so staff could leave, and had parents stuck at work.

So much for two large bags of corn chips and half a case of soda.

They made cookies and a big vat of fried rice, and cleaned up after, though. They made dinner for everybody, so I can't complain.

It's VERY slick out there.

It's VERY slick out there.

I had just taken my lunch when my work (Cambridge) closed so I just left. This was about 1:15. Going home on the bus then the green line wasn't too bad except for it being mad snowy and a (usual) crowded 111 bus.

However once we got into Chelsea, the side streets were awful. That nice snow we got this morning, then it rained some, then back to snow.. well compacted now its just a sheet of ice. I helped push cars up a slight incline at a stop sign near my house because it was causing traffic to back up. We (the group of us) could barely get any traction to push the car. Just about any car stopping at that stop sign just could not get the momentum again to pull out. It's like no one salted or sanded from earlier at all.

I'm sure its like this every area that was on the rain/snow line all day. Just one compacted sheet of ice...


...I guess this means we maybe ought to stop laughing at Seattle and Atlanta and all those places who get a little snow and go sliding all over the road. I mean, they're still laughable, but we're looking pretty funny too.

Tire Chains

Actually, buses in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver can handle this sort of crap because low accumulation ice/slush storm is their dominant winter crap. They just put tire chains on all the buses (and ban the cars that don't have them). Then they put the routes on Winter Emergency schedules because they can't top 25 or 30 mph (and some steep routes are modified).

whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph whumph

School buses, too. Ain't a fun ride ... but you get there.

A quick Google image search

A quick Google image search for"Seattle, articulated buses, snow" suggests they don't do as well as you think:

Because Seattle has so many articulated buses in their fleet, their winter emergency plan is to run as much of the system as they can with just conventional, non-articulated, buses.
A 2010 Seattle news story:

A quote from the Seattle story:
"Metro says its articulated buses and trolley buses get stuck in snow and therefore they’ll be pulled off the road if there is a big storm. That means fewer buses will be running. Metro also says it will be altering bus routes during those times.
When those route changes hit, riders could be left out in the cold."

I didn't mean the articulated buses, specifically

But the non-articulated ones do a lot better than MBTA buses because they have the tire chains.

So do private cars.

It also helps that they have a plan for this stuff, and understand the limitations of their equipment and the need for traction devices. With the changing climate, it would be good if the MBTA realized that this sort of weather doesn't just go away if you ignore its existence, but requires a special approach. It isn't snow, it isn't rain, and it is ice.

The 40-foot non-articulated

The 40-foot non-articulated MBTA buses do reasonably well in the snow, it is the artics that have the big problem. The MBTA will shuffle 40-foot buses around between garages on short notice to replace the artics, but they waited too long yesterday to do that and the result was those route 39 buses stuck by the VA and the Route 28 bus blocking Ruggles. It doesn't make sense for the MBTA to increase the number of articulated buses in their future fleet beyond what they have now though, because they will not have enough 40-foot buses to cover the snow-day need in the rush-hour, they are really stretching things thin when they do it now on the 28/39/SL4/SL5

SL hiccup

After waiting too long for a bus we ended up never leaving Boylston st station. After rocking and hearing that nice spinning sound from the wheel well the bus gave up and tossed us to the curb for the next bus. (nothing as cool as the huntington busses though). Actually kind of surprised either route still had articulated busses - the T usually transitions back to 40' busses when it snows like this.

The dual-mode buses have

The dual-mode buses have electric motors mounted on the second and third axles. The electric motors get power from a diesel engine and generator in the rear of the bus when in diesel mode, and get power from the overhead wire when in straight electric mode.

The top of this sub-thread

The top of this sub-thread mentioned Boylston, i.e. the Washington Street Silver Line. So no dual-modes.

I'm sure it's been said before, but having two non-connecting lines with the same color is really stupid. Even if they're supposed to get connected by a billion dollar tunnel at some unspecified future date.

They don't use a different

They don't use a different type, same New Flyer and Nova artics as available in the US,
Another Google image search for "ottawa articulated buses snow"

includes this gem

The MBTA's dual-mode articulated buses for the SL1 and SL2 do fine in the snow because the second and third axles are both powered. But standard North American artics (like those on the 28, 39, SL4, and SL5) have only the rear axle powered. The buses are being pushed from the rear. Going uphill in snow or ice, they will start to jackknife. The engines automatically cut-out if the articulation starts to bend to the point that there will be major damage to the bearings and linkages if the bus continues to move. The hybrid artics do a little better than the CNG's, but not much.


I'm pretty sure that as of 4:30ish, neither salt truck nor plow had traversed the section of Route 9 from Newton Highlands to Brigham Circle. The car in front of me, who seemed to be taking appropriate precautions, would have spun out had the snow bank along the guard rail not caught its rear fender and stopped the spin.

Bang Ins

The T had enough buses the drivers all called in sick as far as the battle of the dispatchers goes the recorded tapes should be released for entertainment purposes only