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March 31st, 2006


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11:21 am - frustration
Today I left home at the exact same time I did yesterday. Yesterday, I arrived at work 10 minutes early. Today, I arrived ten minutes late.

It's gotten to the point where the MBTA's horrible management and completely unpredictable service is no longer funny to me, especially in a job where you can get canned for too many late arrivals, regardless of your excuse.

(T) is for Terminal Unreliabili(T).

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:eclecticavatar
Date:March 31st, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
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The redline was all kinds of fouled up, today. Some problem at Alewife or between Alewife and Davis, it seemed.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
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I think the problem existed between Alewife and Ashmont, with additional problems existing between Alewife and Braintree. At 9:30, we crawled southbound from Harvard to Central, and then sat in the tunnel between Central and Kendall for over 10 minutes, creeping forward 30 feet at a time and then stopping. It was horrendous. I'm sure they don't just hold the train in the station anymore to keep people from harassing the conductors.
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From:reveritas
Date:March 31st, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
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i had that problem here with muni. i even talked to my boss (at the newspaper; same policy re: late arrivals) about it. i said "if i leave the house at the same time, every day, and it's a matter of muni fate whether i get here on time, why not allow a grace period of ten or fifteen minutes on the arrival times?" what she said to me was to just plan to get here early, every day. that way if muni goes tits-up, i'll still be ON TIME.

were they going to PAY me for the extra 15 minutes i spent at work? goodness, no.
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From:heathbar27
Date:March 31st, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
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But then you'd get to LEAVE 15 minutes early, no?
From:yuda
Date:March 31st, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
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This is pretty standard procedure. Your commute is your own concern, but you have to make sure you're at work on time. If that means building in a cushion to deal with potential public transport or traffic problems, that's the way it is.

The newspaper's deadline doesn't change just because Muni was running late. Likewise, the people on the shift Spatch is replacing shouldn't have to stay late because the T was running late. When you have defined hours that you are expected to be at work, it's your responsibility to make sure you're there.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
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I replace nobody in the morning. I join three people already on the phones. Call volume is low before noon, anyway, since our clientele at this point is mostly West Coast-based. I won't talk about staying late because this department pretty much requires overtime to be put in (and thankfully they pay us overtime.)

However, we adhere to the same rules that every other department in this call center must adhere to, and I really have no beef with that. But when I am reliant on public transportation (RELY being the key here!) and I cannot accurately pinpoint on any given day WITHIN TWENTY MINUTES when I will arrive, there's a problem here. And it's not with my company's policies.

It just absolutely infuriates me to be continually adjusting my schedule, pushing my commute time back and back and back, only to have the T keep putting me in later. That's just not cool.
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From:pecosy
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
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It sucks to be reliant on mass transit, especially one so screwed up. But it sounds like adding in a bigger cushion to your commute is your only option, short of firebombing the T (bad idea), hiring a personal rickshaw guy to pull you around (great idea!) or rising up to become a powerful dictator who can make the trains run on time (best idea).
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
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The best idea is very appealing except for the inevitable "hung by my heels" ending.
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From:hyperina
Date:March 31st, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
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The same rigorous standards should apply to the freakin' T then, don't you think so? Especially since so many people depend on it.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:March 31st, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
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And here you are with a job that seems ideally suited to telecommuting.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I so wish that were the case. But we deal with members' credit card numbers and other sensitive information that can't leave the office.
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From:pecosy
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Except IN YOUR HEAD!
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From:ralpheman
Date:March 31st, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)

Without sounding paranoid..

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There does seem to be a large number of economically deprived people on the Red line for which the T does not invest in infrastructure improvements, it might be time to consider bussing to the Orange line which is highly more reliable. Walking from Dwtn Crossing or Chinatown is not too far, or maybe just catching Red at Dwtn Crossing.
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From:alphacygni
Date:March 31st, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Without sounding paranoid..

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Interestingly, I've often heard the same paranoid thought, but with the red and orange reversed.

But really, the whole inner-city system is often said to be flailing while the T builds more and more commuter rail stations in rish suburbs. Although the idea of "Fix It First" is now in place, it'll probably take several years for any effects to trickle down to reality.
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From:antikythera
Date:March 31st, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Without sounding paranoid..

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Finding alternate routes is definitely a good idea. Give yourself plenty of cushion-time, try them out, and check the clock to see if they're any more reliable.

I'm not sure how the size of the Boston T area compares to the Toronto TTC, but I was very surprised here to find out how fast and reliable a bus-only route could be. The holdups on the subway, and the transfers from one train to another, negate the extra time gained by the actual speed of the vehicle.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 31st, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Without sounding paranoid..

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I used to bus to the Orange Line from West Somerville for my last job. The 90 and 88 buses (one goes to the Orange Line, the other goes to the Green Line) on Highland Avenue are notoriously unreliable as well. There were days when the bus that was supposed to show up just never showed up.
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From:ralpheman
Date:April 1st, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)

Re: Without sounding paranoid..

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Though I have to admit, I have only been in the area 11 months, and used the Orange line for 4 months, I never had a problem. I used the 89 to Sullivan and could get to High St and Atlantic Ave in 20 minutes on some days, but others it would take 35 minutes. Still more predicable than your current experience with the Red line.
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From:mybadhairlife
Date:March 31st, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Y'know - if I only had the time I would have a new version of "The Ballad of the MTA" by the Kingston Trio updated with Spatch references already.

Unfortunately, all I got for you today is:

Well, did he ever get to work? No, he never did and
his fate is still unknown.
(What a pity! Poor ole Spatch-el. Shame and scandal.
He may ride forever. Just like Paul Revere.)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston.
He's the man who never got there.


I dunno...it's just not scanning.
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From:alphacygni
Date:March 31st, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
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For a practical suggestion, I'll mention how I deal with PVTA woes - I take the woefully earlier bus, and then whatever "extra time" I end up with near my destination, I just walk around in a circle (up and down the block, around the building, etc) until I need to go in. That's my exercise time. Addition of a walkman-type device with Fun Tunes helps, too.
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From:hyperina
Date:March 31st, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
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Because of the same sort of reasons you outline here, I eventually threw in the public transportation towel after a solid 5 year effort, and that sucks, because I believe in it, but not enough that I could tolerate that kind of irregularity. And if there's a bus or transfer of any kind involved, even if you do put in a 30 minute cushion, that likely translates into a pointless 20 minute wait at the bus stop on some days, which can be downright hellish in inclement weather. And stressful. Then you start your day in a rotten mood.

I think that public transport systems ought to have time clocks so that you can show your employer that you made the effort. That'd put economic pressure on the city to upgrade or improve the routes or whatever else is causing the delays. One can dream, spatch. One can dream.
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From:reveritas
Date:March 31st, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
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And if there's a bus or transfer of any kind involved, even if you do put in a 30 minute cushion, that likely translates into a pointless 20 minute wait at the bus stop on some days, which can be downright hellish in inclement weather.

THIS is my ish with muni too! thanks for putting it so succintly. i sometimes wish i could give up the public transit, but that would involve walking everywhere ... as in everywhere ... or (what's more likely) moving to a driveable city. which this one is not.

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