MBTA Out of Order

Steve points out that the T has been falling apart lately. My own experience gives it a solid D minus as well.

Over the three years I’ve lived in Roslindale, I’ve been quite satisfied with the commuter rail. Unlike other lines (e.g., Worcester), the Needham Heights line does not share tracks with other carriers, and thus does not regularly get tens of minutes off schedule waiting for freight or other traffic to pass. (Why freight gets priority over passengers is a question for another day.) I live about 90 seconds walk from the commuter rail station, and I could calibrate my departure to be within one minute of the train every time.

Over the past few months, however, it has been a steady downhill slide. None of these complaints are novel, but I’ll enumerate them anyway: Trains have been canceled without notice (you didn’t really need to be at work by 9am, did you?). Nearly every train is late — I’ve started thinking of the 8:23am as the “8:30” because it hasn’t arrived before that time since early in the summer. Many trains are missing cars, so the remaining cars end up being standing-room only. Almost every day the train needs to wait for a free track at South Station, no matter which train I’m on. (I’ve never understood why this happens with 12 tracks, many of them empty.) Trains are often short conductors, which means not all the doors open at stops, which further exacerbates delay. And my personal favorite complaint: the PA system is often so loud that passengers have to cover their ears. Except when it’s broken and you can’t hear any announcements.

I hate to kvetch, but there must be something wrong here beyond technical glitches. Perhaps the most frustrating part is having no clue about the inner machinations that provide this result.

Other complaints from today (about different parts of the system).