Massive lines, big buses and people who didn't get the message

Massive line for shuttle buses at Malden Center

See all those people? They're waiting for an Orange Line shuttle bus at Malden Center. "Shuttle bus line is MASSIVE!" Rich reports.

On the more frostbitten segments of the T today, riders slowly shuffled through long lines for shuttle buses. The luckier ones boarded one of the growing number of big charter buses the T has hired, such as these buses that Marta spotted at JFK/UMass for the ride to Quincy and Braintree:

Buses at JFK/UMass

But they were often slow. RoxDot877 reported shortly after 8 a.m.:

I got on a shuttle from Malden 30 mins ago and still haven't reached Sullivan!!!

The unluckier riders, though, tried to board at intermediate stops, such as Savin Hill, where long lines stretched endlessly and the people in them got to watch full-to-bursting shuttle buses just drive on by. Frankie P. said with chattering teeth: "Thanks MBTA! You're the best:"

Waiting for a bus at Savin Hill

Kyle W. Kerr reported a similar experience waiting for a Green Line replacement at Packards Corner in Allston:

Waiting for a bus at Packards Corner

Emily Cervone reported around 8:25 from Brookline:

Just watched the 65 barrel past a bunch of people waiting in Washington Square and the C line shuttle do the same.

William McAuliffe looked out his Huntington Avenue window to see some poor unfortunates who didn't realize the E train isn't running:

Waiting for a Green Line trolley

Gordon Hallett took a peek inside the closed Oak Grove station on the Orange Line:

Closed station

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Comments

O-L-Y-M-P-I-C

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O-L-Y-M-P-I-C

wait ... I have UHub BINGO!

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Here we go with somehow

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Here we go with somehow relating this to any olymic event that is not officially being held in boston

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Chant it

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eff the olympics,
fix the T.

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But Therese Murray kept

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But Therese Murray kept singing Reform before Revenue, it rhymes so it must be true. She found a billion to give to the useless Convention Center though, since people like her don't lower themselves to ride public transit.

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This is exactly right. There can be little reform w/o revenue.

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Emergency measures should have been voted on in the General Court last week.

People have asked what exactly the MBTA is doing to make things better. I ask:

WTF IS THE GENERAL COURT DOING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER?

The state government as a whole needs to show its citizens and businesses that, yes, we've fallen down on this for the past few decades, but we're making it right starting right now.

(And stop with the damned excuses regarding gas tax indexing - that is easily distinguished by understanding that apparently a majority did not want automatic adjustments. Nothing in that referendum question provides any cover for the General Court in its failure to take "difficult" votes on raising and appropriating the funds necessary to properly build, maintain and run our transportation system, which, like public safety, is simply the very core function of our government.)

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For what ever reason....

... Dictator DeLeo doesn't show any sign of giving a sh*T. I think he is the single biggest obstacle, at this point, to fixing things (Baker and Rosenberg get a tie for second place, at the moment).

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How do we get rid of DeLeo?

Bribe half the voters in Winthrop to vote aganst him next time? Not sure how voters outside his district can push him out of his post as legislative dictator for life (or as long as he wants to be dictator).

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Short of a federal indictment

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Short of a federal indictment His Majesty the King will not leave the throne unless in a hearse.

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Term Limits

Can we recall the vote to abolish the term limits for his job? This is exactly why we NEED term limits. To keep hypocrites like him in check.

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And stop with the damned

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And stop with the damned excuses regarding gas tax indexing - that is easily distinguished by understanding that apparently a majority did not want automatic adjustments.

This. And nothing is preventing the Legislature from raising the gas tax through new legislation next year, and the year after, and so on. All the referendum did was eliminate the ability of unelected technocrats (those who determine the CPI at the start of each year) from raising the gas tax each year.

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Let's not keep fooling ourselves here

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All the referendum did was eliminate the ability of unelected technocrats (those who determine the CPI at the start of each year) from raising the gas tax each year.

You mean from avoiding the annual gas tax cut. The effect of inflation is to produce an automatic gas tax cut that compounds over time.

I don't see anyone complaining about tax rates being adjusted automatically when it's in a downwards direction (so long as there's not deflation). I guess that's not surprising ;)

The CPI was invented to keep Social Security reimbursement rates steady with purchasing power as well. I bet that people would not be happy to have automatic cuts in Social Security, and rightfully so.

Similarly, the purpose of the tax indexing was to keep the tax rates stable, neither up nor down, with regard to purchasing power of the dollar.

The Tea Party types did a good job of spreading false information, but there's no need to keep fooling ourselves about it. Indexing is supposed to keep rates steady. It's not an automatic tax hike and it's not an automatic tax cut either.

Anyway, the election is over now, and we need to deal with the consequences. How do we pay for this infrastructure that we need? Maybe there are better solutions, I'm open to hearing them.

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well put

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Thank you.

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Snowzilla vs the Chain Gang

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The MBTA spent millions of taxpayers money on snow removal equipment that is either missing or not maintained and their only solution is a chain gang of prisoners and college kids to save the system.

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Source?

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You got a source on that assertion that equipment is missing? It's a pretty heavy allegation. Being unmaintained I understand because what money do they even have to maintain anything, but either way I wanna see proof (not just anger at these pictures) before I start taking random fired-up UHub claims to heart.

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Good Lord

Why, exactly, can't the Orange Line run from Oak Grove to Sullivan Square? Because the tracks aren't clear? There aren't enough working trains? Will the MBTA ever provide an explanation for this mess?

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3rd rail?

Someone asked my shuttle bus driver that this morning and he said it was primarily due to icing on the 3rd rail.

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and

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and 50% of your OL fleet being out of service doesn't help either.

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Flaming 3rd rail?

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Haven't you ever seen it catch fire? The Orange Line is the place to watch track fires...while waiting two hours for them to fix it again.

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Can't Google a direct source,

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Can't Google a direct source, but I saw several graphics from the various TV news teams yesterday saying half of the Orange Line trains were out for maintenance.

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How about just serve the

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How about just serve the northern half one day, the southern half the other. Just sayin...

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my guess is that there

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my guess is that there literally not enough trains to run full service. WCVB was reporting that 50 out of 96 orange line cars are currently out of service.

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Red Line

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And Red Line cars? Ridiculous 15-minute rush hour headways this morning boarding at South Station.

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The older RL cars have the

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The older RL cars have the same snow-sensitive DC motors as the entire OL fleet, so they're probably down for maintenance for the same reasons.

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That's 7+ trainsets

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Versus the 4 trainsets that has been the typical Orange Line for the past week.

So where are the other 3 trainsets?

EDIT- I somehow did the math wrong, but still, more trains theoretically can be run.

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Calling it

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I'm claiming 7:27 Thursday morning in the "first waiting-for-shuttle carjacking" pool

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Wait, you mean there are

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Wait, you mean there are people who wait in their cars for the buses and are going to be violently separated from their cars, or that people in line are going to get robbed? Or that someone is going to steal a bus?

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I think the joke was

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that someone will get so fed up with waiting in the shuttle bus line that they will carjack someone to get to work.

In the present environment, I probably couldn't blame them as long as they shoveled out a spot when they got there.

All jokes aside, it seems like a time when carpooling or DC-style "slugging" might help a little. I wonder what could be done to encourage that?

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Exactly

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"Carpooling at gunpoint" was the intent there, though I see enough empty LMA buses roaring by on a regular basis to consider another alternative as well.

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Yankee buses now serving the OL too?

This morning en route to Sullivan, I saw about 3 of the big yellow Yankee buses outside Malden station. Assuming they are being used for shuttles too? We had a regular MBTA shuttle bus at Oak Grove.

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Shuttle Buses

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Shuttle Buses just have proven to be worthless. Its traffic that is holding them up, not that there isn't enough of them. You can only send on so many of them before they just all bunch up. This is why people are waiting.

We really need something like this:

http://www.transitmatters.info/blog/2015/2/16/bostons-transit-crisis-dem...

Which uses police to direct traffic and creates some dedicated bus lanes to keep the buses moving thru traffic. Yeah, ideally we'd like the rail service restored, but if this lasts days (or *gulp* weeks) we can't continue every day like what is happening today, and this may help.

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Here here

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I hear there's an opening for MBTA GM. You are the best candidate I've heard of so far. Not being sarcastic, just wishful.

MassDOT and municipal leadership hold a huge amount of the responsibility for how the T is (not) functioning - sure, it's been a series of hardships for the T, but these are things that could be solved if the city stepped up and did things like properly clear streets where buses travel (if they had done this to start, we would be in a manageable hole instead of system failure) or if police actually worked together to direct traffic instead of vaguely gesturing several ways at once. Boston, at least, and probably Cambridge and the surrounding areas should have taken out parking to put in bus lanes for use in good weather much less snow, and should get real and start immediately (!) towing people improperly parked during the snow - especially on main roads (like anything that's a state highway).

It's not like snow is some huge surprise here. Sure, we got a lot this time around, but we got a decent amount last year, and a huge storm the year before and a pretty solid amount of snow 4 years ago. Leadership at several levels failed to step up and it's clear that has a lot more to do with our current situation than bad weather.

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I think it's both (yesterday, anyway)

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I haven't had to use a bus today, but yesterday, there did not seem to be enough shuttle buses running between Back Bay & Forest Hills, and coworkers told me the 39 was filling up so close to Forest Hills that people were unable to get on along the route.

And the traffic slowed things down, a bit, but given that it was Presidents Day, it's probably worse today.

So, yesterday, it took 1 hour 50 minutes to get from Hyde Square in JP to Downtown Crossing. However, I was able to get home in about an hour, leaving at 7:30 PM. I took the shuttle bus to Back Bay, the 39 home, for what it's worth to anyone making the same commute.

Waiting in the cold sucks. This whole situation is uncomfortable and annoying. But all of the T employees I have dealt with during this have been helpful, if not exactly cheery little sunbeams. Some have been extremely kind, helping people with babies on and off the bus, giving people directions when they were forced to use unfamiliar bus routes. I'm glad that my usual commute is less than half an hour, and look forward to getting back to that, but this is the way it is for now.

What would be very helpful would be if businesses staggered their shifts until this is through, if possible.

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I wish someone would come up

I wish someone would come up with an emergency plan other than ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and I think you're on the right track, but there are some really big potential holes in this specific plan.

The city used simple cones to create dedicated bus lanes along the shuttle route and police officers to enforce the lanes and keep over 200 buses moving on each route.

After Sandy, New York was one municipality that could implement a unitary plan. Would Boston, Quincy, Milton, Cambridge, Somerville, etc be willing to plan and implement a plan together for all the communities served by the T? I can just picture traffic coming across the Neponset bridge, and all of a sudden the reserved bus lane switches from the far left to the far right because Boston and Quincy won't speak to one another.

Cars carrying fewer than 3 occupants would be prohibited from entering the city or using major highways inside Route 128.

I (and many of my coworkers) live in Boston and work outside 128. None of my company's offices are transit accessible. Do I have to quit my job?

Designating corridors like Washington St, Massachusetts Ave, Huntington St and Commonwealth Ave for buses and bicycles only would enable reasonably fast limited-stop bus service while giving people people a safe place to ride.

A safe place to ride?

key roads open to buses and pedestrians only.

Similarly, um, no.

Walking should be encouraged whenever possible in order to minimize stress on the transit system. [...] Currently our sidewalks are a treacherous mix of snow and ice, so vehicle lanes can be converted to pedestrian lanes until sidewalks are clear.

Instead of a default policy of taking away still more travel lanes, why not focus on enforcement for clearing the sidewalks? The city hasn't even tried at this point.

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walking

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I walked today, as it's less cold than yesterday and less than 2 miles to today's worksite. But I don't think we can count on people walking while we are still having days with wind chills dropping into the negative teens and twenties. Yesterday was miserable-- and dangerous for walking.

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Idiotic shuttle routes

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Whenever the T runs shuttle buses, they always seem to screw it up. When they work on the Longfellow, they run every single shuttle from Kendall to Park, which requires every bus to loop around the Common. They should instead run half the shuttles between Kendall and Government Center, making a quick U-turn at the plaza. Half the riders are connecting to Green/Blue anyway, and it saves a ton of time.

The worst is when they they do tunnel work on the Blue line. They run shuttles from Government/State to Airport, but every single bus has to stop at Maverick. Even though 80% of riders are better off making the quick expressway trip from Government directly to Airport, everyone is forced to make a long detour through the local roads East Boston to visit Maverick. It wastes twenty minutes.

I haven't seen the routes taken by all these Orange line shuttles, but I imagine they're not optimized for the 50% of riders who just want to get to/from Downtown.

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Although The Ⓣ Claims They're Doing Everything They Can...

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... those same old inefficient shuttle routes suggest they're still doing the same old inefficient practices elsewhere in the system. Optimizing the shuttles to serve the maximum number of passengers is a no-brainer.

Either they have no brain, or they're deliberately trying to inconvenience the maximum number of passengers. I'm becoming suspicious there's more going on than just too much snow.

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The two hour trip from Malden to Somerville

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I'm one of the lucky ones. I got onto a shuttle bus from oak grove after only about 10 or 15 minutes of waiting outside. I even got a seat! That was at 8 am. My bus still hasn't made it to Sullivan. It's now almost 10 am...

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More and more of these delays

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More and more of these delays are actually making the T slower than walking.

How soon before enough people realize this and actually do start just walking? Anyone with a car or any other alternative means of transport is already using it rather than the T; pretty soon, everyone else who can is just going to be walking.

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I understand not everyone is

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I understand not everyone is able bodied, some people are traveling a very long way, have small kids, etc, but for the rest, come on... Why huddle shivering on a sidewalk for half an hour just to push onto an overcrowded bus that will sit in traffic going nowhere anyway? I've walked my cambridge-jp commute a couple times in the past few weeks when the t was at its worst. It only took an extra 45 minutes to an hour longer than it would have taken on the t on a good day. Yesterday I walked along the 39/66 route, thinking I'd hop a bus if one came along. I didn't see a single bus until a 66 passed me in Brookline. I caught up to it in Allston, passed it stuck in traffic and didn't see it again.

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Well, I live in Quincy where

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Well, I live in Quincy where homeowners are not required to shovel their sidewalks, believe it or not. So even if I wanted to walk 5 miles or so to JFK to catch the T, I'd be doing much of it on the street (and there are slush piles along most of the curbs).

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And this is vacation week...

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What happens next week when we re-add school buses, parents/students/teachers/staff who are driving to school and parents/students/teachers/staff who rely on the T?

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Everyone's commute time will

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Everyone's commute time will at least triple. Gridlock everywhere. Road rage. Basically, slightly-worse-than-usual Boston traffic.

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My god!

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One could walk to wherever they're going at a much faster rate, imho.

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F THE T

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F THE T

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#

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#FundtheMBTA ?

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What a sad state of affairs.

What a sad state of affairs. I was never a regular train user but was an extensive bus user for years and years. I only use the trains when I need to get into Boston.

Back in the early 2000's I did take trains ONLY during massive snow storms. Rather then worry about driving around I would stash my car in a relatives empty garage and then would rely on the MBTA until things thawed out. They always seemed to do an amazing job with both buses and trains considering the snow that was flying outside. People on the trains also seemed nicer than they normally were during normal business. What a difference that 15 years makes. When the first blizzard was bearing down on us I thought about leaving my car someplace and becoming a "T" person for the duration but then saw the chaos start to unfold.

My reason for not taking the T? A lack of cross city options, going into the city when all I needed to do was go around the city a little , spoke and wheel, took too much time during normal circumstances. Although I was a pass holder for several years since it was handy to have for short trips or for emergencies. I would never consider getting a pass now unless the state fixes the system. It seems like the only times I need the MBTA are when it can't run. It is pretty much useless to me at this point.

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Sir Topham Hatt was

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Sir Topham Hatt was ordinarily referred to in the UK version as the Fat Controller (government appointed president/CEO), since British Rail was nationalized. But due to the sensitivies in this country, and because we don't use the term "controller", we use his formal name.

I wouldn't mind a Chris Christie type to run the T though. He gets things done, though a bit like a bull in a china shop.

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Until someone disses him

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Then, all of a sudden it's "oh look, no trains for the [whatever] Line."

Not that this would be very distinguishable from current levels of service....

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You've got to be kidding

Right. Just what we need - selective service cuts in areas that don't vote the right way.

You'd get grandstanding without factual merit, followed by patronage and punishment.

No thanks.

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sure---

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...just look what Christie did for automobile transportation in Ft Lee.

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Now if yer talking about...

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the former gov of MA, I'd put Dukakis back in charge in a heartbeat.
he actually cares about this stuff..

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King Deleo would rip Dukakis'

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King Deleo would rip Dukakis' throat out and in an additional bout of spite order all DCR parks turned into parking lots. =(

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A bit of wry humor, by way of

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A bit of wry humor, by way of explanation. He was the first I could think of that would fit the fat controller description. I think I've actually seen photos of him in a morning suit too.

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Story time!

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For four of the ten years I lived in Boston, I worked for a company that did not shut down in bad weather. Terrible blizzard? Come to work. Hurricane? Come to work. Get stuck at work, sleep at work, almost get hit by a snowplow wading through 3 feet of snow to get to work, because we never close. That kind of company.

I had always harbored fantasies of getting to take my cross-country skis to work, but the T ran so efficiently and the city always had the streets plowed in a reasonable time period, so it was never possible without ruining the skis on exposed cement/asphalt.

Now, it's possible to ski to work, and I don't live in Boston any more. SO not fair.

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This was my commute today

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Walked from home to Ashmont, in the roads because half the sidewalks aren't shoveled.

10:27: Got to Ashmont. ~75 people waiting

10:54: Shuttle bus pulled in

11:01: Shuttle bus pulled out

11:20: Bus got to Fields Corner

11:32: Still not at Savin Hill

11:47: Arrived at JFK

11:56: Train left JFK

12:04: Train arrived at Park Street

12:17: Green line left Park Street

12:24: Train stopped outside Arlington for 9 minutes due to congestion

12:46: Train arrived at Kenmore. Mass confusion by people who hadn't heard the 9.2 million announcements.

12:48: Friend happened to be biking by. I stood on his pegs for the final Kenmore to BU Central stretch of the commute. It took 3 minutes.

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here's mine...

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710: waiting at fairmount for train to So Sta: 10 degrees
718: no train, no notice, no alerts, nothing
750: walked to Hyde Park for 8:15 train: scrolling marquee said 6:21a train was 20-30 minutes late.not a good sign...
810: train arrives but does not stop since it is full...no alerts, no notices..11 degrees
840: 8:36 arrives but does not stop since it is full...no alerts, no notices; 6:21 train still 20-30 minutes late
850: jump on crowded 32 bus to For Hills: 12 degrees
915: arrive at FH
938: train finally departs completely FULL
950: train arrives at Ruggles (train sits for "sched adjustment"...must have been driving too fast!)
10:00: arrives at Tufts
10:15: arrive at work, grab cup of hot coffee and pour over my head. 6:21a train still 20-30 minutes late...

3 hours in 12 degree weather. no notices, no alerts.
gawd, i can't wait to go home.

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Plowing snow from platform on to tracks?

Is this what is contributing to stuck trains?

I saw some footage on WHDH-TV from Weymouth station on the Greenbush line showing a train blocked by a snow mound. The mound looked like it came from snow plowed off of the passenger platform which was clean down to the concrete, except for a snow pile at the end. The snow pile on the platform matched the snow pile on the tracks and blocked train car.

Is one contractor paid to clear platforms and not responsible for tracks, so dumps it there? Seems stupid to me. Then too would be designing platforms without a good place to put snow. Will the new Green Line Extension stations have the same problem?

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Except it isn't true

How much of your rail or subway fare is going to fund roads? How about bus fare, though some should because heavy buses operate on roads, producing wear at an accelerated rate - just note all the pavement depressions at bus stops and traffic lights on bus routes.

Tired of your lies.

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Weymouth Landing Greenbush Train

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I was on the platform at 7:00 AM and saw the 5:10 AM Greenbush train dead on the tracks. It looks like either the train was pushing all the uncleared snow on the tracks since Greenbush or maybe snow fell in front of the train from the overpass above. Got to work two hour and a half hours later thanks to Uber. Can we get tax write-offs for the alternate transportation methods we're being forced to take?

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Here was my commute:

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Here was my commute:
8:15 Left home in South End on bike
(Passed a lot of stopped traffic on Boylston St)
8:35 Arrived at work in Financial District. Parked bike in parking garage.

If there was ever a winter for bicycling, this is it. It's much warmer and shorter than 3 hour T rides. I promise.

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How the HELL is this

How the HELL is this acceptable? It's NOT. This, Mr. Baker is a state of emergency. From shoveling out railroad right-of-ways by hand (because no transit system in the world apparently uses plows or snowblowers), to hours-long lines just to travel to a job 10 miles away. GET OUT Of THE DAMN MEMA BUNKER, and get your ass infront of a camera, then get your ass on a plane to DC. These are your constituents, taxpayers and the people who make this place work. Don't kid yourself, this BS is destroying our economy. Thanks to years of inaction by people like you.

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Except...

His major campaign donors in Deluxbury, or Swellsley don't take the T.

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They don't?

I have coworkers living in all those places and they are pissed!

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Did anyone expect....

... Baker to basically go onto hiding rather than rallying the troops, taking the lead in providing information to the public and generally simply doing his f**king job? Major fail -- provisional grade of F--.

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We're starting to see just

We're starting to see just how unqualified this guy is, especially during a time of crisis. I mean really, you've got to be shitting me.

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