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MBTA admits Orange Line shuttle took passengers away from the Orange Line after first telling passengers they got on the wrong bus

THe MBTA, which this morning told an Orange Line rider he wound up at the Encore casino because he got on a casino shuttle and not an Orange Line bus, is now acknowledging that he got on the right bus and that the driver somehow missed the shuttle route between Sullivan and Wellington and wound up at the casino:

Tim Lawrence reported the unexpected trip to gamblingville around 10 p.m. yesterday. He and other passengers were forced onto buses for the last of six weeks of Orange Line repair work.

This morning, the T at first replied to Lawrence that the fault was his, because he got on a Greyhound bus meant to get people to Encore, not a proper Orange Line shuttle:

Lawrence replied:

This morning, though, the T said it will try to keep it from happening again, the next time it needs to run buses instead of trains:

But, oops:



How did the driver not notice that the route was different?

Or, the wise managers of the T told the driver to go to the Encore Casino, the driver did not ask why and everyone pretended that nothing was amiss.

Ah, the MBTA. So much is wrong with it. Useless announcements: who needs to know when the "next train" is arriving? Often giving wrong predictions of the immediate train is arriving. Installing useless equipment, US flags (who doesn't realize where we live?).

If the T is representative of our overall intelligence then as a nation we are in trouble.


The driver wouldn't know the route because shuttle bus drivers are working overtime shifts from other garages.

The supervisor on duty was likely working an overtime shift from another sector of the system and as dependent on handouts or directs from Central Dispatch as the drivers.

Everyone knows there's a lot wrong with the MBTA. No one can agree exactly how to fix it.

Those 'useless announcements' are required by law for the blind.

That 'useless equipment' is often required by law for safety.

Those US flags are there because you are in the US. The US isn't generally a self loathing country always apologizing for existing and demographically trying the equivalent of going to curl up and die in a corner quietly only for some people in a few centuries to show up wearing funny pith helmets asking, "Gee Dr. So & So what ever happened to that silly America place, it quietly died out and no one even noticed for XXX years until the global supply of Twinkies ran out". Americans love the flag, so we put the flag on everything. Even things we think suck to distract us from how much they suck. That rolling rustbucket of a car most Americans lost their virginity in, the roof leaked, smelled funny, heater/ac/stereo didn't work, cost 10x the sticker price on repairs and nearly killed them because the brakes literally fell out of? Slap an American flag on that car and all of a sudden there's a bond with that rust bucket and most Americans are sad to part company with it.

The T isn't representative of our overall intelligence as a nation. It is representative of a a dysfunctional public agency with a toxic union and management culture stemming from years of abuse at the hands of politicians desperate to mold it into their personal patronage empire or whipping boy depending on which way the wind is blowing that year. You are in Boston surrounded by wicked smart people. They tell you it all the time so it must be true. Harvard and a million other colleges wouldn't be putting people 500k into student loan debt if people didn't think education wasn't worth it.


While the next train signs have their challenges, I suspect a vast majority of passengers appreciate them more than what existed in the pre-countdown days.


Particularly on the Green Line, where the clocks will continue to say BRD well after the train has left the station. And the clocks at North Station westbound (inbound) go through this magic dance. Instead of providing information about separate trains on different lines, they randomly duplicate information about one train on both lines.

The automated PA announcements have gotten bad as well. At North Station Orange Line, it is not uncommon to hear 'The next Orange Line train to (X) is in one minute' immediately followed by 'The next Orange Line train to (X) is now arriving'. Or, at Boylston 'The next train to Lechmere is arriving in 3 minutes' when the countdown clock shows 1 minute - as the train is entering the station.

The other problem with the PA announcements, especially at North Station, is that, between next train arriving in X minutes, approaching, arriving, boarding, following train arriving in Y minutes (which is usually played as a train is entering or in the station), plus planned service disruptions, there are too many of them. Often times, while walking through the tunnel under Causeway Street (another design failure - witness the TD Garden end), I hear a continual stream of announcements from one end to the other. After a certain point, it just becomes white noise.

Sure, these may seem like minor things. But inaccurate countdown clocks or PA announcements only degrades the credibility of the system, and further damages the MBTA's image. That's the real issue here.


After the problem was reported, the T's response was to lie. Whether that was due to ignorance or intentional, I don't know.

Question for C.Baker-are you going to hold anyone accountable for the lies?


Another problem with too many PA announcements: the ones that aren't about regular service (e.g. upcoming bustitution, "report things to MBTA police" etc.) are accompanied by scrolling text on the countdown clocks, in both English and Spanish. For longer messages that include a URL at the end, this can take the actual countdowns off the clocks for almost a full minute. Showing visual messages for the hearing impaired, and Spanish messages for non-English speakers, is wonderful and I'm glad they do it, but there are too many announcements.

There is still a lot of work to do, particularly with the Green Line.

I can also see value in "less is more". Perhaps there are limits to notifications as sign/notice fatigue begins to tune folks out.

I'd certainly vote for higher quality/less frequent announcements! (just pandering...)

generic 'Next Train' information to identifying separate lines, IMO they actually worked pretty well. It's only in the past year or so that I've noticed the decline in accuracy. Perhaps the equipment isn't as maintenance free as the T and the public were led to believe when it was initially installed.

I sometimes hear an announcement at Malden Center that the next train to Forest Hills is two tops away. Since there's only one stop outbound from Malden Center, I assume that is one stop away--wouldn't two stops away mean the train is sitting at Malden? Nope.

We've been waiting 15 years for outbound Silver Line (SL1, SL2, SL3, SLW) countdown clocks, and still don't have them.

Inbound ones partially work, although I never trust the times on them, based on experience.

Ride the MBTA - always a gamble!

Sounds like they are going for an encore tonight.


at the MBTA never ceases to amaze me.


people would have rioted.

Right. Because MBTA riders are way past anger and rage. We have been beaten down by the MBTA for so long that it's incompetence and the city and state governments' lack of giving a shit have now been accepted as normal. That's why there is no riot.


Or the fourth.

Right off you refer to the casino shuttle and then twice refer to a bus, yet then refer to a shuttle route. That is pretty confusing right there.

Only if you're trying to be confused. Both the OL and Encore shuttles are buses. "Orange Line bus" can only refer to a shuttle bus, because there are no buses on the Orange Line other than the shuttles. And "shuttle route between Sullivan and Wellington" seems pretty clear to me.


Or are you just confused? The only confusion here is that an MBTA driver got confused, and then the MBTA PR people engaged in further obfuscation.

TL/DR: People got on an MBTA shuttle. It took them to the Casino instead of Sullivan Station. The MBTA blamed the riders and not the driver. MBTA got told.

The spokesflacks and professional ass covering agents couldn't believe that giving a driver paper directions to read in traffic while navigating a complicated route with a packed bus would end up in confusion.

(heads to garage to give bike a biiiiigggg huuuuuugggg)


Not MBTA driver which is the problem. It's bakers scheme of hiring third party bus companys to drive greyhound or similar buses, who also get contracts for things like the casino. Bustitution was always a pain, with bumbling Baker it's worse.

If Bakers switches from third party back to MBTA drivers, those are 589 union workers who would be raking in overtime. Also, the FTA has rules requiring 8 hours of rest between shift. I believe in the union contract drivers get paid for that time. Considering Baker pretends to be a fiscal conservative, this would be a no go. He tightens the purse strings for hourly workers and stacks departments with his white male bros making six figures.

You got on the wrong bus.
The vicious beating happened near a train station
The T does not have a homeless problem
The fare machines are working
The Trains are on time
The fights during school breaks at Forest Hills are not a problem
The Silver lie is bus rapid transit
The elevators are not urinals
The escalators are not dangerous
The Transit Police ride trains and buses


Can baker Finally admit contracting third party intercity bus companies isn't working and go back to using t buses, which load and unload much faster, and t drivers who know where they are going? Of course not, republicans love any chance that can get to make public transit users more miserable. Shuttle buses replacement is bad enough, using buses that aren't designed to have people loading and unloading every few minutes, with bags and groceries and, soon, holiday shopping, is misery.


Its physically impossible on a friday, there simply are not enough MBTA buses or bus drivers to cover the already scheduled weeknight buses and the GL D shuttle and the OL shuttle, its physically impossible without cancelling other bus routes. They do this on weekends when possible, but some weekends are coming up with GL D, GL B and RL shuttles which might cause a problem.

The MBTA can't get enough of their drivers to work overtime on Friday nights, thus Yankee Line buses and their subcontractors (Greyhound in this case) run shuttles on Friday night, even when the MBTA is running the shuttle directly on the following Saturday/Sunday (as was the case with the Orange Line shuttle this weekend).

If more than one shuttle is being operated on a weekend, the MBTA will directly operate one and use private carrier coaches on the second or third ones. In this case, the Kenmore-Newton Highlands shuttle was operated by Yankee while the MBTA ran Sullivan-Ruggles directly

Looks like the T is implying this is not their fault.

In the 1930's General Motors bought up privately owned electric street railways all over the country that had a conductor and driver and replaced them with ICE busses with a fare box. San Francisco did not sell and todays has a lovable and treasured rail system that people enjoy using. ( the 8 Market beats the African Queen any day )

i'm in a wheelchair i'd like to praise yankee bus for providing me a ride home they act

much more professional than the t... shuttle from RUGGLES TO SULLIVAN WAY WAY OUT OF LINE im glad this will be over tomorrow...dont hold your breath words are cheap

You forgot the court ruling that forced the power generation companies which owned the electric street railways (monopolies) to sell off those companies. Unfortunately the same court failed to address the monopoly created by General Motors buying up those street railways.


On a weeknight diversion, I only made it to the Everett Target from Wellington.

Went to the Northeastern basketball game, and walked over to the Mass. Ave. station at 9:50. There are signs for the shuttle busses immediately in front of the station, asked a lady there if she was waiting for the shuttle, she said yes. No shuttle for 10 minutes, went inside and asked one of the red coats where the bus atop was. Turned out, it was a block down, on Columbus Ave. in front of the Dunkin Donuts. So there is no information at the Mass Ave. T stop telling you to walk down there. Told the lady and went down there. Ironically, there was an Encore bus that they were using for the shuttle. Drove to wherever they were using for the Ruggles stop and turned and made the journey back.

Ride was fine but laborious, driver was friendly and helpful, negotiated the traffic on Stuart Street well on a Friday night, but it was not until 11:50 that I got to Oak Grove.

Two hours to get from Matthews Arena to Oak Grove, no thanks.

And, as usual, no information from the T. Except for Haymarket, most of the places the bus stopped were not where the corresponding T station is, and it did not look intuitive to find the spot.