Some Pictures From the D-Line

April 25, 2007

Fellow Emerson Journalism Grad Student Javier Garcia-Albea, who runs an awesome blog about the Iraq war, took some pictures from the D-line the other day.

Click here to see the gallery.

Many thanks to Javier!


Patriot’s Day Service Disruptions

April 15, 2007

Tomorrow is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts. There will be a Red Sox game at 10 am (assuming it’s not rained out) and the Boston Marathon will be occurring in the same vicinity at similar times.

The MBTA announced a series of changes to service tomorrow to accommodate the spike in ridership.

Among the highlights:

Blue, Orange, Red and Green line service will operate on its regular weekday schedule with extra service before and after the marathon.

All buses and trackless trolleys will operate on a Saturday schedule

Copley Station will be closed all day. Customers attending the Boston Marathon will have access to the Green Line at Hynes Convention Center or Arlington Station

Route 55 – Queensbury/Copley Station ~ Entire service terminated until completion of Marathon

There is also a comprehensive list of bus diversions on the MBTA website.

Buying a Monthly Pass With Cash at an FVM Not So Easy

April 15, 2007

Since today is the 15th of the month and I always buy my pass on the 15th of the month, I figured I would take a mini-trip to the FVM’s at Kenmore to buy my monthly pass. But this month I decided to pay with cash.

So after a wonderfully cramped ride from Packard’s Corner to Kenmore, I exit to the FVM’s to discover the 3 machines that take cash were all out of service (hopefully they were functioning yesterday because the Red Sox were playing). The Customer Service Agent (CSA) was too busy talking on his phone to care that the machines were down.

So I re-enter the system and get off at Hynes Convention Center, where one of the 2 cash-accepting FVMs wasn’t taking bills. Not so convenient when you need to throw $59 into a machine. Luckily the bill-accepting machine was alive and well and the process was fairly smooth, in fact it was smoother than my previous experiences using credit/debit cards, as the machine accepted all of my bills on the first try (two $20’s, a $10, seven $1’s and two dollar coins). It’s much easier to feed the machine $20’s than to fight with it as it consistently rejects my attempts to use credit cards.

It’s too bad the MBTA has more credit/debit accepting machines than cash accepting machines.

Strange Occurrence on the B-line

April 10, 2007

Today around 2 pm while waiting for the B-line outbound at Boylston, a B-line train arrived that had “Kenmore” listed as the destination. The operator confirmed the train would only go to Kenmore instead of Boston College.

Sure enough, the train was taken out of service at Kenmore, much to the chagrin of the commuters on board.

New Platform Opens at Kenmore

April 10, 2007

Just in time for opening day at Fenway Park, the MBTA opened the new platform area of Kenmore station on the Green Line.

Previously, trains stopped about halfway down the platform. Surprised Inbound commuters this morning who were accustomed to standing far back on the platform suddenly found themselves running forward to catch the train.

Man Hit by Commuter Rail Train, and Survives

April 1, 2007

A man was struck by an inbound commuter rail train near the intersection of Beach Street and Shirley Avenue in Revere last night, around 10:30 pm. The 30-year-old male survived, although he broke an arm from the incident.

The man was tresspassing, although MBTA police do not know why he was there.

Teen Shot on Bus in Dorchester

March 30, 2007

A teenage male was shot on an MBTA bus in Dorchester in broad daylight just before 4 pm today.

The shooter was believed to be outside the bus firing in, and details are still few at this point.

The shooting happened the day after the New York-based Guardian Angels came to Boston to patrol Dorchester, which has been plagued by violence of late.

Massachusetts Faces $19 Billion Transportation Deficit

March 28, 2007

Massachusetts faces a $19 billion deficit over the next 20 years to maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and the MBTA, according to the Boston Herald.

 ”Each of us was surprised at how dire the situation is,” said Stephen Silveira, the panel chair, who added that even with the financial pressure, the state must find a way to continue to grow.
”It would be unrealistic to think that we wouldn’t do any expansion or enhancement projects over the next 20 years,” he said.

It certainly doesn’t take a formal study for someone to realize that the MBTA needs to upgrade it’s infrastructure. It’s frightening to think that even with the fare increase, the agency will remain in a deficit. That is, until the leadership starts pushing for another fare increase that Massachusetts’ commuters just can’t afford.

Gas Shuts Down Back Bay Station

March 28, 2007

Construction workers removing an old 2,500 gallon underground gas tank at the corner of Stuart St and Clarendon St caused a strong odor of gas, temporarily shutting down Amtrak and Commuter Rail service through the Back Bay station, according to the Boston Herald.

Trains passing through the station between 9:15-11:15 am did not stop to pick up passengers, according to an MBTA spokesman. Boston Fire Department officials began investigating the smell at 7 am.

Service on the Orange Line was not affected.

T Violence: Menino Wants Crackdown

March 22, 2007

The Boston Herald reported today that Boston Mayor Menino wants a crackdown on T violence after the Herald uncovered that riders at stops like Forest Hills and Ruggles on on the Orange Line, and Ashmont on the Red Line are the most likely to be victims of violence on the T.

Highlight’s from the Herald’s investigation:

  All told last year, some 972 major crimes – assaults, rapes, robberies, car thefts and larcenies – were reported to MBTA police, down from 1,000 in 2005, according to T statistics reviewed by the Herald.

Forest Hills station recorded the highest number of incidents among Boston T stops: 43. Ruggles in Roxbury had 34 serious crimes occur, including 21 robberies. The Dudley bus terminal logged 31 major crimes, including 16 robberies. Ashmont was also a hotbed of criminal activity, with 24 reported.

Not surprisingly, the Deputy Chief of the MBTA downplayed the danger.

MBTA Deputy Chief John Martino said the crime reported on public transportation is “infinitesimal” when considering the T logged more than 337 million passenger rides last year.
“You have a less than half of 1 percent chance of being victimized by crime on the MBTA,” Martino said. “The crime we do have is primarily youth-on-youth. A lot of the people we carry are young people.”

Everyone who rides mass transit is at risk. It’s time the MBTA acknowledges that more police enforcement is necessary for a safer system. It should be common sense.