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A sense of dread: Three T lines dead

T pain chart by Bacon Doughnut

Update: T blames National Grid feeder cable.

The MBTA reports the Orange, Green and Blue lines all died this morning due to some sort of power and signal problem. The power is back, but trains are moving like molasses (in the traditional sense, not the Boston sense).

Forest Hills at 6:41 a.m., by Handmaid, who recounts her struggle to get to work in the comments:

Forest Hills signboard reading 'Stopped' for both upcoming trains, which weren't coming

The T didn't report any delays on the Red Line, but Ian Gillespie reported it took him 25 minutes to get from Fields Corner to Andrew, which, he noted, "is insane."

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Comments

Any of you still think it is a good idea right now as the doors were open at Wellington for 10 minutes?

How's that surge pricing going on our quasi-regulated ride share industry now that they killed off the regulated taxi industry?

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For all the faults of ride share, you're going to have a hard time finding people who say the old Taxi system was preferable. Both suck but one sucks more.

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Yeah - on paper yes, in reality, LOL. Scary driving, cabs without seatbelts, psycho drivers, etc.

Sorry, but as a frequently solo female traveler in decades past I have had far fewer issues with ride shares than I have with Boston licensed cabs. It only got worse in the era of the "broken credit card reader" being used as a pretense to threaten and intimidate passengers - and how there was nearly ZERO enforcement for this and other reports of scary shit.

Cabbies and cab leasing companies were subject to very little actual oversight and the drivers overplayed their hand with the card reader tantrums. As the public face of the industry, entitled driver behavior and lack of "reading the room" cost them far more than the credit fees at a critical time. They had some legit complaints but taking it out on their passengers ultimately made it way easier for regulators to not change the regulations to fix the actual problems with the bad drivers, the cab industry and the medallion system.

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Because they sucked. The Globe had a series of articles in 2013 about the shady practices in the taxi industry in Boston -- and it's not like Boston was unique. "Broken" credit card readers were just the tip of the iceberg -- there were also the cabbies who wouldn't stop if you were black or who would just drive away if you told them an address in Roxbury.

The medallion system with a limited supply of licenses never made any sense except as regulatory capture to quash competition and enable rent-seeking.

If taxis were well-loved, it would have been easy for the legislature to enact laws that would have limited the ride share companies or even forced them to withdraw from Mass. But there was no political appetite to do so because ride shares delivered what most found to be an objectively better product without the downsides of Boston cabs.

Congestion pricing is just a government cash grab. If congestion is bad enough, people will choose not to drive because alternatives end up being more convenient.

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Uber and Ride sharing was illegal, full stop. Under Mass law it was illegal. And nothing was done to stop it until after the fact. Yes, there were a lot of issues with taxis. Enforcement of rules was sketchy. But there were rules and laws

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When cab drivers harass, threaten, intimidate passengers and nothing is done, or drive to endanger other road users and reports are ignored, then there are effectively no laws. I reported multiple incidents to the appropriate authorities - in cab and on the streets - and never got so much as an acknowledgement of the reports.

It was the taxi industry that decided the laws didn't apply to them, so ...

I would have preferred that the cab system was fully modernized, reformed and regionalized, and those laws fully enforced, but at least rideshare drivers fear bad reviews.

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that you had a bad experience. but I meant taxis have insurance and were inspected at least.
Uber's track record of safety and driver vetting lives a lot to be desired. Add in the multitude of out of state registered cars running around picking up people. That and it galls me when someone says the taxi industry was ripe for disruption, great maybe it was but Uber was not legal. there were laws on the books, and no one did a thing. People were arrested and had their cars impounded for running gypsy cabs but hey uber is okay!

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I've only honestly used rideshares and taxis a dozen or so times in my life but I would agree with most of the points.

I am not a fan of the Uber style of system with independent contractors and all that mess. The thing is how's that any different from 500 thousand dollar licenses that make it so most drivers were simply renting medallions from wealthier people?

Every time I took a taxi in Boston they always tried to take me on the longest loop. As a life long Bostonian I knew all the major routes and each time I needed to argue with them to get them to take the correct route.

I've always found it annoying to even get a cab. An Uber you hit a button and get a cost and receipt etc.

I prefer a regulated system but the comments are right that the taxi system is regulated in all the worst ways while actual issues had been ignored. At least with Uber people can "regulate" things themselves by rating drivers and using the power of the market.

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How do we address these horrific commutes now John?

Any congestion pricing scheme (if it even happens) is going to be years in the making. And it'll be even longer (if it even happens) for the T to get fixed.

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Work on improving buses and bus routes, augment with shuttle buses where needed. (7 bus, Seaport). This could be used to extend transit times to post 1:00am.

Move more quickly to Regional Rail.
https://regionalrail.rocks/

Both of these should have 10 -15 minute headways.

Increase subway head ways to a supportable, safe level. This may be 10-15 minutes

Close the subway at 10 or 11:00. Perform safety inspections, repairs and maintenance overnight from 11:00 to 5:00. Until the issues are resolved.

Move Capital planning to MassDOT so that transit planning is integrated with all.other transportation options.

Move the "Big Dig" debt to the state Balance sheet. We are on the hook for it anyways. Just reflects reality.

Move the MBTA pension to the state, provide state pensions going forward.

Simple. Glad you asked.

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Work on improving buses and bus routes, augment with shuttle buses where needed. (7 bus).

Indeed something that is happening now although you seemed to be dunking on Bus Lanes here: https://www.universalhub.com/comment/962693#comment-962693

Move more quickly to Regional Rail.
https://regionalrail.rocks/

Both of these should have 10 -15 minute headways.

That would be great, I've been a big advocate for it. Won't be happening anytime soon.

Increase subway head ways to a supportable, safe level. This may be 10-15 minutes

Have you been on the Orange Line recently at rush hour? 10 minute headways are what I'm regularly seeing at Back Bay when things are running "normally"

Close the subway at 10 or 11:00. Perform safety inspections, repairs and maintenance overnight from 11:00 to 5:00. Until the issues are resolved.

Wouldn't this discourage people coming into Boston for evening events and nightlife? You seemed concerned about revenue drain the other day: https://www.universalhub.com/comment/962760#comment-962760

If we do this, can we replace service with a temporary bus lane network of MBTA buses to replace those lines?

Move Capital planning to MassDOT so that transit planning is integrated with all.other transportation options.

Logical point, gonna need buyin from Beacon Hill and again, would be years away from results. I could see some Western Mass. reps not too happy about supporting something like this.

Move the "Big Dig" debt to the state Balance sheet. We are on the hook for it anyways. Just reflects reality.

Agreed, never should have happened. Its another Beacon Hill issue thats had years to be resolved and hasn't. Not holding my breath.

Move the MBTA pension to the state, provide state pensions going forward.

I'm not sure if that would involve Beacon Hill or not, so might be the same story as above.

Simple. Glad you asked.

Yeah not really that simple.

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This is an opportunity to look at alternatives like expanded bus routes ( much more is needed than the mbta has planned) and regional rail. These could address many of our transit problems. And yes we could use mbta buses with temporary bus lanes.

"ndeed something that is happening now although you seemed to be dunking on Bus Lanes here"

Little used, poorly thought out, largely empty ones, YAH!

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Again, Regional Rail isn't happening anytime soon, if ever.

Regarding bus lanes, these observations based on your weekly tours of Boston?
Because our bus lanes in Brighton are very well used, granted its also by uber/grubhub deliveries and motorists that know BPD isn't enforcing anything.

I will say a part of bus lanes thats an issue is double parking and a lack enforcement.
We should install cameras on the buses and issue automatic citations.
oh but that needs buyin from Beacon Hill, fat chance.

We could make a connected networked of bus only lanes for many routes. Might require parking or a travel lane being taken out.

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in the past, of the difficulty getting a cab in much of Dorchester and Mattapan. To or from.
I had cabbie downtown pull away with the door open when I said Columbia Rd.

Uber/Lyft at least go there.

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The cab line at Ashmont used to be 10 deep at 4 in the afternoon until Uber came around.

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But when you called they failed to come. Aside from safety, cabs didn't like going to Dorchester because it generally lacked a return ride.

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Green Line is running again, but the station is mostly dark. Trains are now bypassing Haymarket.

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The Gobe recently published a fluff piece on how much the T has improved since 2015. The truth is it has only gotten worse and ridership continues to plummet.

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The T is in much better shape than it was in February 2015.

It’s also in better shape than it was a year ago.

It’s just much shittier than it was in 2014 and 2019.

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How about a resolution calling for the MBTA ceasefire?

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Yesterday's first day of observing my "T or walk" Lenten promise to myself. I said, "hell, asceticism appeals to me. Why not pick the coldest part of the year to swear of ride sharing?" Yesterday was a breeze, even a lovely purple sky as I crawled out of the hole under Forest Hills.
Today, was a true test of my will. After an hour and about 300 ppl gathered on the platform, with only transit cops to cape for the T, nobody could get an answer, til finally someone looked at T website to see three lines were down with power problems, OL, RL, GL. No announcements of shuttle buses or expected wait times. Only the one announcement telling us it was a power issue.
I gave up and rode the 39, a trip I don't choose lightly. I FRIGGIN HATE THAT BUS. But ride it I did, with a sardine can full of others who had GIVEN UP ON THE ORANGE LINE and trudged to a bus stop.
Puts that Congestion Fee in series relief, huh? Secretary Pete-We Need You!

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"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

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I don’t agree with the government taxing its citizens into oblivion, but the timing of this issue and the topic of congestion pricing is too good.

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why do you have a car in the city? crowd.

The answer is: so I can wake up 2 hours early to make an hour and a half round trip driving my wife, who already leaves at 6:45 to teach an 8:00 class (that she was very late for), to work because our transit system is a rolling dumpster fire that has been run exclusively by incompetent morons longer than any of us have been alive. /endrant

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The true MBTA commuters are laughing all the way to the city hall

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Meaning ... what?

City Hall has no control over the T.

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But, things went so well during the “snowstorm”
Jinked it!!

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Time to raise the gas tax and put the $ into the T infrastructure. I think us drivers have gotten quite the free ride for the last 30 years...our city is dying from traffic congestion and cars are the only thing people seem to care about.

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and "fix" it.

The MBTA does not have a funding problems. $Billions have been provided and misspent.
Highest construction costs in the nation.

Enjoying South Coast Rail?

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The MBTA does not have a funding problems. $Billions have been provided and misspent.

"Forward funding" (aka Dump Big Dig Debt on the T) has entered the chat.

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But as part of the agreement, the MBTA gets 16% of all MA sales tax collected. In 2023, that amounted to 1.3 billion for the year. Now, tell me who’s getting the better deal?

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I’m assuming you also gripe about the MBTA expansion that took place which created said debt.

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It was supposed to be done with the initial budget at the same time as the Big Dig. There was a court case where a judge verified this was true and made the state complete the work it had promised to complete.

Try to keep up. Maybe go find that lovely Big Dig podcast to help you understand how they buried the cost overruns with the T and never completed the actual work they were required to.

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where they knew parts of it were too narrow, but just said f*** it, we’ll get it in editing? I don’t think that extra cost was supposed to be part of the big dig.

I’m all for providing the necessary funding, but finances are not the biggest problem at the T. Its management. It’s always been management.

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