It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...

signal trippers suck

The up escalator at South Station has been broken for over two weeks. They have a guy posted at the bottom of the steps pointing people to the nearest elevator, which is slightly out of the way but at least it's better than having the old folks completely at a loss as to where to go. The sign on the escalator says "ESCALATOR RENOVATION" but that's what they said the last time the escalator was broken. Which was roughly a month ago. I think they just don't have any other signs.

The Red Line driver I had today was running late. I could tell he (or she) was running late, because she (or he) kept tripping all the goddamn signals. Tripping the signals involves illegally running through a red signal. Running a red signal is illegal, cause, you're, like, supposed to STOP at those things. When this happens, the train runs over an upraised "trip arm" which triggers an emergency stop, grinding the train to a halt and you have to reset shit and then proceed. Ever had the Red Line just screech to a halt and then pause for a minute or two? It's not because the train busted or anything. Someone just tripped a signal. Hooray, now you'll be late!

An experienced driver can often time the signals just right and approach a red at speed, assuming it'll change just before he gets there (I've seen NYC drivers do this) and I'm sure there's some nifty name for it like "riding the reds" or somesuch, but this Boston schmoe was wholly unsuccessful at it. Might have been an ex-Green Line driver, since I don't believe the Green Line has trip arms, but that's beside the point. We tripped the signals at least three times between Harvard and Central, if I'm counting correctly, and twice between Central and Kendall. There may have been a slower train ahead of us, but that's no reason to incur more lateness and passenger annoyance by tripping the signals and making the cars smell of burnt rubber brake pads. A hypertense driver, especially one who's worried about being late, is never a good thing.

Then to hasten things along, they kept trying to shut the doors on us at South Station. There were at least four of us inside the train, ready to disembark, when they tried to shut the doors for the first time. They shut on someone halfway through the train door. Ding ding! The doors reopened, the person in the middle made it through, and the doors defiantly tried to shut on the next person leaving. Ding ding! This one had some airport bags. The person behind her had airport bags too. Guess who the doors tried to shut on next. Ding ding! I ducked out safely and glared at the goddamn door shutter as the train roared off, no doubt to trip some more signals between South Station and Broadway. I've had the doors shut on me as I was running to board a train, but never as I was trying to get off one. Golly, but the MBTA is full of fun and surprises!

(Good thing we weren't in a car with non-recycling doors, eh?)
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