Just grate: Blue Line shut for 'urgent tunnel repairs' downtown

Waiting for a bus instead of the Blue Line downtown

Like the last train out of Paris, only Humphrey Bogart isn't involved. Photo by Alex Martland.

Just in time for rush hour, the T has shut the Blue Line, because something isn't right with the tunnel between State Street and Aquarium, as in a metal grate falling from the ceiling onto the tracks.

Buses are now running between Bowdoin and Maverick, after a fashion. Alex Martland reports:

This is going swimmingly. No signs, no one knows where to stand... Blue line gonna blue line.



Free tagging: 


2" of slush...

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...and even the parts of the T that are under ground shut down. Not a good sign.

blue line shut down for

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blue line shut down for repair, riders despair

blue line closed due to falling grate, riders feel hate

blue line tunnel is shut, riders in rut


All you'd need to make it

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All you'd need to make it rhyme is:

Blue Line shut down for 'urgent tunnel repairs' downtown

Done with the T

The T is soooo pathetic! I lived without a car for years in SF, Chicago & NYC and if it were an option, I probably would here in Boston too. For a fleeting moment this morning, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, okay PeyoteEatingWaterBear, time to take the T to work this morning." As soon as I had my first cup of coffee of the day and could think rationally, it dawned on me just how fucking bad of a decision that would be, got into the car and made it to work on time with minimal worry.

If you really want reliable

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If you really want reliable transportation to work, ride a bike. I remember rolling right past the near constant gridlock and so many stuck drivers last year (there was another story about stuck drivers earlier today).

This morning would be a bad time to cycle

If anything results in injury to cyclists, it is ice. I know several friends who have wiped out and broken bones on this sort of wintry mix mess.

It isn't like Edmonton, where I was recently hanging out in the downtown area before dawn (which was at 8:45), and noticed commuter cyclist after commuter cyclist navigating the snow-packed streets with studded tires.

Most Boston commuters don't have these (they do cost a pretty penny and are #^%&$& to mount), or wouldn't have them on right now. I'm currently taking the components from a cracked frame and putting them on a new frame for my husband, and the Hakkapeliittas are going to go on that bike. He picked a frame with enough clearance for 40c plus fenders.

But, hey, if you have the right gear on, go for it. Even so, ice of the sort we saw today is really about the worst thing to deal with on a conventionally arrayed bicycle.

Call me when they invent

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Call me when they invent bicycles with weather-proof enclosures like cars, buses, subways, etc. have. And when I wouldn't feel like I have to shower and change clothes when I get where I'm going.


This is exactly why it should not be. That, and streets built for horse carts and pedestrians and (in the Back Bay) bicycles.


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Ok Baker...

So predictable

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PEWB complaining about Boston - must be a day of the week between Monday and Sunday. Yes, the MBTA has profound problems. But screwed-up mass transit is pretty standard in 2015 America.

Being a member of nerd nation, I have tons of friends who've lived in SF for years - and not one thinks the mass transit system works well. It's decreasing in popularity, and may be failing working class families. MUNI death spiral anyone?

And Chicago? Well, this article in the Chicagoist about that city's mass transit woes feels like deja vu - even gets bonus points for the aspirational use of "world-class city" in the first sentence! And if you think the MBTA's station renos are frustrating - Chicagoan have dropped almost a half billion dollars on a single station...that may never be used!

San Francisco has great mass transit?

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Are you serious?

It has a bunch of electric buses on zigzag routes (MUNI) that are a completely separate entity from its subway (BART) that was built mostly for the convenience of people in Oakland, that are a completely separate entity from its commuter train (Caltrain) which touches the outside corner of the city because it exists solely to get suburbanites to jobs in finance and tech.

San Francisco has more car owners and Zipcar spots than any city I've ever seen. It's the city where Uber and Lyft were born because getting around is so difficult. It's the city where private companies pay for shuttle buses because their employees can't rely on the mass transit system to function on a regular basis.

The MBTA has had its share of fails, but I was able to commute to work, on the B line, for four years doing the kind of shiftwork where someone can't leave until you show up, without ever being particularly late due to issues more than a few times. Meanwhile, I had a temporary job in San Francisco for a few months and got stranded or massively delayed due to mass transit fails the same number of times as I did in four years in Boston. Plus in Boston, your ride doesn't come with a side of pot smoke and trash-filled shopping carts.

I'd agree with you

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Except for this-

San Francisco has more car owners and Zipcar spots than any city I've ever seen

I know there are Atlanta refugees here that might disagree with you on car ownership rates.

But yeah, every other city's transit systems are great while our's sticks, says everyone that takes public transit anywhere in the world.

The Bay Area does have a

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The Bay Area does have a whole lot of transit agencies. But they all take the same fare card, and use the same schedules website.

Oh, and some of them have 24-hour service.


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This is why I drive.


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Nothing could fall apart in the car portion of the Big Dig.

It is...

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...also worth noting that cars never need maintenance. Ever. Nor do the roads or any supporting infrastructure.

And let's not forget...

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...ample free parking everywhere! Why would anyone NOT drive to work in downtown Boston?

Except for all the fail I'd

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Except for all the fail I'd say the T's first snowfall since being fixed is an astounding success!

What do you expect??

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It's a 111 year old tunnel in a system that has been underfunded for decades...

Hopefully tonight Mr. 300K+

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Hopefully tonight Mr. 300K+/year MBTA maintenance worker can score some last minute OT to add to the 2600 hours already completed in 2015.

Emergency Action Plan ????

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I've asked this before ....
Does the MBTA have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)? And I don't mean one in a notebook gathering dust on a bookshelf or moldering in some computer somewhere. But an actual plan for what to do when things go south. It seems that every time that something happens, an almost daily occurrence now, that the MBTA is pulling whatever hobbled solution they have completely out of thin air without much preconceived thought.

When there is an emergency bustitution because the subway is not running, I don't expect the buses to be up and running immediately, but I do expect the MBTA to use their staff, including the transit police, to inform the riding public, to be stationed outside of the closed stations and at where we are supposed to pick up the replacement buses. And to have the proper equipment to communicate with a large crowd - bullhorns at least. But all to often, we are just left to our own to figure it out because they could not be bothered to do their job.

You've hit the nail on the head

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Every single time something goes wrong on the T (which means always), they act like it is the first time it has ever happened. The employees are clueless, cannot answer any questions, and seem to have no means of communication with whomever they need to communicate with. You'd think at this point they'd know what to do out of sheer repetition, since things go wrong so frequently.

For real. Cutting-edge

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For real. Cutting-edge technologies such as "a person to tell you what's going on" would go a long way.

During last winter's snowpocalypse I remember mass chaos at Central one weekday evening when the Red Line shut down, leaving people to have to figure out for themselves that no train was coming. Rumor spread through the crowd that shuttles were on their way. Of course, nobody had any idea where they would actually be stopping, so by the time the first one arrived, hundreds of riders were strewn along Mass Ave for blocks, hoping that they won the curbside lottery.

...now taking bets on whether we'll find that any protocol's been established when the same situation presents itself again in the next few months.

I agree

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Years ago, I read a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe. Written by someone who had served on an MBTA advisory committee, he said that the committee asked that bullhorns be placed at every station for the reason you suggest. The MBTA said it would not be practical, according to the writer. In any event, your comment is spot on.

I for one

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Find it much more enjoyable to be stranded on the T with Charlie Baker in office than I did with Deval Patrick.