Monday, May 12, 2008

25 Things I Hate About The MBTA - PART 1

Well, here's my list!

This is sorta a rant, so don't be surprised...

#1. Type 8 Green Line Trolleys

They are crap on wheels. From the faulty brakes to the derailments, the many many derailments, it is no surprise that the T canceled their order with the builder, Breda. The order was originally for 100 cars, but with all the reliability problems it was dropped to 85. Oddly, the T agreed to take 10 more bringing the total to 95 cars that the MBTA wasted its money on.

See that:
A Type 8 derailment is to blame.

#2. The MBTA's Secretive Photography Policy

So I go out one day to do some "railfanning" (consult Wikipedia for a definition). Naturally, I plan to take some photographs of the rolling stock. So I find a nice station (interesting architecture, nice light, etc.) and wait for a train to come in. Once I see a train entering, I focus my camera and SNAP! take a picture. As a rule, I NEVER use the flash (even in the subway). It is rude and possibly dangerous to the operators of the trains. It also just ruins pictures. So I go about taking some more when someone approaches me and asks "Excuse me, sir, do you have a permit?" Pausing, I reply, "No, it is no longer required for personal photography [i.e. what I'm doing]." For you see, in July of 2007, the MBTA rescinded its old photo policy which required a permit for all types of photography.

Apparently most of their employees (and just about every T police officer I've talked to) didn't get the memo.

So I try in vain to explain the new policy to them.

(go here for more info:

The person either...

A) Realized they missed something and thank me for the update

B) Tell me to "hold on" and call the Line Dispatcher for confirmation. Usually the Line Dispatcher (of all people the Line Dispatcher!) is oblivious and knows nothing of the new policy.

C) They tell me to stop, lest I be reported for committing a 'terrorist act'.

D) Just say "whatever" and leave me alone.

Most of the time B happens.

Please, MBTA, whenever you make a major policy change notify ALL your employees and staff!

#3. Vague Subway Announcements

Ever been on the train and they announce that it will be standing by for a "schedule adjustment"?

Do you even know what the hell a "schedule adjustment" is?

For those of you who don't, when subway trains get too close together (i.e. are not on the scheduled headway), Central Dispatch orders them to hold their position to keep them evenly spaced apart.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a "schedule adjustment".

"There is a disabled train up ahead that is causing 10-15 minute delays."

I hope the track is ADA compliant.

"We will be standing by for an adjustment in the system."

Sounds major, are they opening a new line?

The list goes on. How about some information we can actually use.

#4. MBTA Bus Fareboxes/Automated Fare Collection In General

These were not designed with the user in mind. Whether they are eating up your money, or simply not taking it at all ("You money is not good here!" Better smooth out that dollar real good), the new system has been one big pain in the ass. Seriously. Be sure to ALWAYS get a receipt when you add money to your CharlieCard at the station. Don't be told you "do not have enough value" when you know good and well you just put $5 on that thing.

As for the bus fareboxes, wasn't it oh so much easier when you just dropped in your change or swiped you pass? Now the coins must go in single file lest that technobox confuses a dime with a quarter!

#5. Seat-Whores

You bastards who insist on taking up valuable seating, especially during rush hour, with a bag or worse your feet, Goddamn! Have you no respect for your fellow riders? You watch us stand while you sit comfortably with all your precious "leg room". The nerve!

#6. Door-Whores

Honestly, must you all crowd around the front door. I'm sure the driver doesn't mind the company, but it is so hard to get on and off the bus (particularly when it is crowded). Don't worry, there is a second door on the bus.

#7. Bus Rapid Transit

When I think of rapid transit, I imagine...


No matter how much silver paint you use, no matter how many community-themed kiosks you put up, no matter how many T police officers are patrolling that HOV lane (wait, there aren't any!), the Silver Line is not rapid transit. No matter how hard I looked, I just couldn't see the tracks. Maybe I need a stronger prescription.

Truly, the MBTA thought they were doing a service to the communities of the South End and Roxbury by replacing the Orange Line El (about 15 years after it closed by the way) with the Silver Line Washington Street. Some MBTA documents refer to the buses as "Silver Line vehicles", whilst they refer to the exact same type of vehicles that are used on the Route 39 as simply "articulated buses". The paint job makes a big difference. Let's bring back the Arborway Line to Jamaica Plain by just painting the 39 green! I'm sorry, but Neoplan USA makes buses, not trains. An "equal or better" replacement? Hardly. But alas, that's a topic for another blog post.

The horror continues! Stay tuned. There will be more terrible transit later...


Mr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
betty.noir said...

How's about them pole-whores? It's a train, not a strip club!

Also, when the 6'6" guy is holding onto the pole at below his waist-level, causing the two very short girls trying to cling to the same bar (one wobbling in too-tall heels she has no business braving) to stretch their arms way up over their heads to find room.

Or is that in reserve for next installment?