Last month, the MBTA announced a contest in which anyone could design what could be the next MBTA map.
Transit Maps has not one, but two contest submissions posted for our viewing pleasure. While no submissions have been officially heralded by the MBTA at this time, it is clear that some very talented cartographers are partaking in the festivities.
The MBTA had previously announced a deadline of April 30, 2013, however no mention of the contest has been made since the original announcement of the contest.
A couple months ago, the Federal Transit Administration updated its National Transit Database to include data from 2011. Their database analyzes the country's major public transit systems in many ways, including by size, usage, and budget.
The NTD includes "Fare Recovery Ratios" for transit systems across the USA. This is the percentage that passengers pay - out of pocket - compared to what their rides actually cost.
The data is further broken down by system and within each, by mode of transportation - so, subway (light rail and heavy rail), but also commuter rail, bus, an boat rides.
Passengers in Boston and in Massachusetts pay wildly different percentages of real costs. (The data is from 2011, prior to the July 2012 fare increases.)
Heavy rail transit riders (Red Line, Blue Line, Orange Line) pay about half of what their rides actually cost, as do light rail users (Green Line). Commuter rail passengers pay about 44% of the cost of their rides.
Demand response users (which I believe means "The Ride", here in Boston) pay just 4.14% of the cost of their rides.
How has the MBTA changed / grown / shrunk during the past 117 years?
Check out the visualization below to see the birth of the Green Line in 1895, the expansion of the Red Line through 1985, and the "repositioning" of the Orange Line. Descriptions of the changes included under the map.
(Permission granted by author)
another power problem on the Riverside Line - with buses replacing streetcars between Reservoir and Riverside. Here's the official alert:
Alternate shuttle bus service will replace Green D-Branch trains between Reservoir and Riverside Station due to a power problem. Please expect significant delays and seek alternate transportation where available. Â 9/7/2012 7:42 PM
Note that the MBTA has posted this exact same alert about the wire problem at least four times since 6:20. They obviously don't understand that people don't need to have their phones on to get messages.
Of course, if the Green Line ops folks had any common sense, they would run half the available C cars in a loop outbound via Beacon Street and inbound on the Riverside line, and run half the available D cars in a loop outbound via the Riverside line and inbound via Beacon Street - instead of overloading the C line by telling people to go to Cleveland Circle and get the buses from there.
And I can only imagine how long it's taking folks to get past Government Center eastbound (my scanner doesn't work in the building I'm currently in). Step # 1 when there's a "problem" affecting the C line seems to always be to short turn most of those trains at GC.
that the T hailed as a temporary solution to the commuter rail's reliablity problems.
Well, I've learned from a reliable source (retired MBCR employee who's a friend of mine) that, at the direction of T management, the MBCR has taken all those locomotives out of service, and they will be heading back to Maryland early Saturday morning.
The reason for this - mechanical problems that made the locomotives too unreliable to operate.
Perhaps the T and MBCR should have taken heed of this statement from a 1980s ElectroMotive Division advertisement - A 40 year old rebuilt locomotive is still a 40 year old locomotive.
Ed. note: MBTA says no, not the case. See comments for the T's response.
Got this interesting T alert earlier today:
Orange Line experiencing 10-15 min delays due to a signal problem at Orient Heights Station.Â 6/5/2012 5:52 AM.
note - I presumed the alert was for the Orange Line, as I'm not signed up to get Blue Line alerts
Everyone can agree that the economy is rough. This holiday season, more than usual, is important to local retailers. Small businesses in Porter and Davis squares now have another hurdle to deal with starting November 5th, no red line service on the weekends. The residents probably aren't happy about it either.
According to service advisory posters in red line stations, and yesterday's article on Boston.com, the red line will terminate at Harvard until March 2012! On a side note, the MBTA's own website doesn't mention the service advisory yet.
The MBTA's brick and mortar location for their merchandise website, MBTAgifts.com, is located in Porter Square.
Recently, if you look out the windows on the Red Line between Harvard and Porter, you'll almost always find workers pressing against the wall to let a train by. In case the water-stained tunnel walls don't give it away: they're working on the corroded tracks as we speak. However, that may not be enough time to keep the tunnels in shape, and as The Globe explains:
The MBTA will close the Red Line north of Harvard Square on weekends from November through March to complete $80 million in repairs designed to keep trains from derailing, transit administrators said yesterday.
Starting Nov. 5, weekend service will stop to allow T crews to plug tunnel cracks and seal water leaks that have eroded the concrete track base and corroded power lines. Then crews will replace damaged track, supports, and electrical components.
Fire up Google Maps to find out where to catch the bus, and it won't help much; dozens or hundreds of stops are displayed in the wrong locations, have the wrong bus lines associated with them, or aren't shown at all.
Try this mess at Brigham Circle, for example. You'll spend a long time waiting for the 39 on Tremont Street, yet that's where Google Maps now declares the 39 stops; the stop for the 39 on Huntington Avenue is gone.
Want to report that the stations or stops are in the wrong locations? Sorry, can't do that.
The MBTA's annual Ridership and Service Statistics report, a.k.a., "the blue book" was released on May 10.
This report includes a true treasure-trove of statistics through which to pour - most popular / least popular lines and routes, including number of entries and exists, schedules' adherence, types of buses and subway cars in use, etc. This is for all bus, subway, trackless trolley, ferry, and THE RIDE routes.
Top 25 subway stations
Top 25 bus routes
To download your own copy, click on this link. (Warning, .pdf)
Oh, and here's an interesting tidbit of information. The T estimates that upwards of 1/3 of riders use an app to check bus/subway schedules on a regular basis. (Source: TransportationNation.org)
Apparently that's news to the MBTA management, based on the latest T alert:
Green Line experiencing 15-20 min delays on all lines between North Station & Kenmore stations due to increased ridership for the Boston Marathon & Red Sox game. Please allow extra time for commute. 18/2011 11:26 AM
Can't get to the MBTA website? Use the automatic Coral content delivery network. Simply append "nyud.net" to the real website hostname for any site, like so: http://mbta.com.nyud.net/. This works for almost any URL.
The information does seem to be up to date; at 5:07PM one page I pulled up showed an alert from less than ten minutes ago. It's also significantly faster, as the main MBTA page loads in about 3-4 seconds via Coral. By itself, it's over 30 seconds.
Please help spread the word to other blogs, Facebook, twitter, etc- the more people that use Coral, the less load there will be on the MBTA's website, which means everyone wins. Bookmark mbta.com.nyud.net for the next snow emergency!
Seen inside the Copley Square outbound stop.
Please check out this sight on a better alternative to the GLX proposal and saving $705 Million in the process. The Green Line Revisited.
A head-on collision at rush hour on the Mass. Ave. Bridge left one dead and created massive traffic problems.
I've done up a multi-page web site on an alternative to the proposed Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford. I'd like to get some feedback, and/or otherwise promote it. The alternative isn't dissing the use of the Green Line, merely making better use of it than the GLX will do. The current price tag for the GLX is a mind boggling, highly exorbitant expenditure for a short extension of a light rail tram in an already owned rail corridor.
There are no words to describe the size of the ripoff that is the GLX. For $10 billion the Swiss bore TWO tunnels, each 30' wide and 35 miles long, yes, 35 MILES, through the mountains, TWO of em. The price tag actually includes another 24 miles of connecting and support tunnels. The tunnels are sized for HIGH SPEED trains to be traveling at well over 160 miles an hour (which is the minimum in the EU for high speed rail).
The MBTA had its grand-opening ceremony today to announce the completion of the Copley Square renovation project.
There are two entrances to this Green Line station - outbound is at the corners of Boylston and Dartmouth streets while inbound is near the corner across the street, next to the Boston Public Library, Central Branch.
All token gates are open, the escalator (up) on the outbound side works, and both inbound and outbound now have elevators.
As of a few minutes ago, Nextbus is reporting "no predictions", and every mobile app I have tried have reported no feed data available.
UPDATE: A ham sandwich (also, feeds are working again.)
In this Sunday's "Starts and Stops", the Boston Globe's Eric Moskowitz reports that the MBTA is collecting backpacks and school supplies for the Home for Little Wanderers.
Backpacks can be dropped off in boxes near commuter rail ticket booths at North Station, South Station, and Back Bay.
Or just leave on a bench on your way through the terminal; the helpful T police will take care of the rest.
The Central Burial Ground is located on the Boston Common. It is believed to be the fourth cemetery to be located in the city of Boston, after the Copps Hill, King's Chapel, and Granary burial grounds, dating back to 1750's.
According to the internet, this cemetery was "least desirable" due to its location furthest from the rest of the city (at least, at that time). The city of Boston's website states that those buried here include "British common soldiers who died in combat or of disease during the Revolution, foreigners who died while in Boston, American patriots from the battle of Bunker Hill and the Boston Tea Party; painter Gilbert Stuart, and composer William Billings".
The Central Burial Ground is mentioned in the recent book, A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 by Stephen Puleo.
When the Boston Transit Commission began building the first subway, back in 1895, they dug up the land on the south end of the Boston Common bordering Boylston Street between Tremont and Charles Street South.
To the MBTA #108 bus driver,
You did more than simply whizz past me this morning as I was waiting at the bus stop—you started a war.
I could perhaps let it slide if you didn't see me standing there in the sweltering heat, melting on the sidewalk infront of you. But, you did see me. I saw you. I saw you see me. I saw your brain fail and decide to proceed ahead, directly to a red light. You didn't think I'd chase you to the intersection, did you? Hah! These chubby legs can fly when motivated, can't they? I was banging on your door before you could say 'soap' you filthy derelict.
Well, at least when it comes to rail transportation. The T&G reports today that as CSX winds down operations in its Beacon Park yard in Allston, it's planning to shift its operations to the west. And according to Transportation Secretary Jeff Mullan, the new set-up promises to "make Worcester the freight rail hub for all six New England states with east-west and north-south rail connections with access to highways."