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September 27th, 2006


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09:38 am - we're all in it together
The Boston Glob ran a slightly-more-indepth article on the T's recent plan to reward passenger courtesy with $2 Dunkie's gift cards. On the outset, it's a rather feel-good idea, a system to brighten the day of someone who, hopefully, has just brightened someone else's day by making their T ride just a little less aggravating. And that feat, especially as most folks' T rides are aggravating primarily due to the T itself, is nothing short of amazing.

I'll try not to argue that this could be a smoke job on the part of the MBTA to try and take folks' minds off its shoddy service, poor maintenance, surly employees and general overall unreliability. Sure, the T does love to put the onus of responsbility on the riding public for things it should be doing itself -- the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, for instance, which doubtless saved huge amounts of money on actual security measures -- so it wouldn't be out of character for the transit authority to charge its own passengers with the task of making their fellow commuters happy. But frankly, quite a few T riders do need a little crash course on common courtesy, and this goes beyond giving up your seat to someone who needs it more than you or waiting for people to get off the train before you try to get on (which, as noted in the above Glob article, was one of the actions that garnered a reward yesterday. Come on, that's not common courtesy, that's common sense. And it's in accordance with the laws of physics and displacement. Shee!)

There's the ever-popular Loud iPod People. And the People Who Stand In The Doorway When Others Are Trying To Leave. Or the Cellphone Chatterers at Charles. Or the people who stand in a crowded train wearing their backpacks. Nearly lost an eye to someone the other day that way, myself. Maybe it's hard for the BU kids to realize that when they stand, their courier bag's buckles and ironic Hot Topic pins are at someone else's eye level, and maybe it's hard for them to realize that someone exclaiming "Jesus Christ my eye fuck!" isn't praying, but remarking upon the precarious predicament that they have been put in and the blinding bullet they just barely dodged. But I digress.

(What I really want to do with these backpack folks is carry around a Barrel O' Monkeys toy, and if they insist on dangling their backpack in front of me, I am going to see how many monkeys I can dangle from their backpack without them noticing. I do know from experience that those monkey chains are tenuous at best, though, so I'm pretty sure this plan will end with a hasty departure and plastic monkeys strewn all over the T. And that's not really a lot of common courtesy, is it?)

So do Ye Citizens of Boston require bribes to be nice? Do we need rewards for doing what we should be doing on a daily basis anyway? Maybe so. $2 at Dunkie's means hey, coffee and a donut and you can't beat that. But should we be doing nice things for other people even when there's no free food on the line? Totally. Duh. And it's not even so much being Gallant all the time and showing a nigh-unsincere modicum of politeness and saying "GOLLY SIR HELLO MA'AM HOPE YOU'RE ENJOYING YOUR FINE RIDE HERE LET ME CARRY YOU ON MY BACK" all day long, as it is being cognizant that our commutes all stink on ice, and we're all pissed off with this poor excuse for public transportation. If you can make someone's ride less off-pissing, go 'head and do it, ya mook. Not because the T is leaving it up to us or because you might get a donut out of the deal, but because, in the words of Harry Buttle Tuttle, "We're all in it together."

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:phonemonkey
Date:September 27th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)

It's Not Working! We Need More Monkeys!

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I was amused when I learned that the MBTA named their smart card after a song about someone suffering from their egregiously bad service. The irony was not lost on me when I actually rode the T.

For what it's worth though, the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaigns are probably the most effective anti-terror security on mass transit. Airport-style searches and patdowns aren't feasible on a metro system where people need to get places fast, and having people learn to think WHOA THAT DUDE JUST RAN AWAY FROM THAT BLUE SPORTSBAG LIKE HIS ASS WAS ON FIRE MAYBE I SHOULD TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS NOW is probably the best way to do it. Well, real live cops walking about down there might be an improvement, but that's not going to happen...
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:September 27th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)

Re: It's Not Working! We Need More Monkeys!

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The problem with the See Something, Say Something campaign is that a lot of the time, there aren't enough employees around to run to, especially anybody vaguely law enforcement-like, and according to some reports on BadTransit and the like, some employees were less than enthusiastic about lifting a finger to help someone who Saw Something.

The campaign also gives you a phone number for the transit police, but, uh, good luck getting cellphone reception down in the tunnels. I have noticed some security callboxes being installed on platforms, so at least there's that.
[User Picture]
From:ivorjawa
Date:September 27th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
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I used to think commuting on the MBTA was bad.

Then I met the MUNI. The T is a study in near-Teutonic railway competence and reliability by contrast.
[User Picture]
From:crankyliberal
Date:September 27th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)

SI VE ALGO, DI ALGO

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so says my NYC Metrofare card from my recent trip.

But the point is that I'm a repentant backpacker, and I'm sorry. In my measly defense I didn't have pointy things, just bulk. Also, it would make my day if someone attached those monkeys to my backpack while I was standing on the train.
[User Picture]
From:signsoflife
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)

Re: SI VE ALGO, DI ALGO

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It makes a huge difference if you take your backpack *off* when standing. There's a lot more space around the knees than the shoulders.
[User Picture]
From:crankyliberal
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)

Re: SI VE ALGO, DI ALGO

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I have done that, just not every single time I should. Can I still get monkeys?
[User Picture]
From:signsoflife
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)

Re: SI VE ALGO, DI ALGO

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It might help if you put a button on your backpack that said "YES PLEASE MONKEYS".
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)

Re: SI VE ALGO, DI ALGO

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And if you're wearing a backpack and standing next to someone who is sitting down and you decide to suddenly turn around to talk to your other standing-up pal, you could end up smacking the sitting-down person in the face.

Tons o' fun!
From:ungratefulninja
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
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"tenacious". :science:
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

:eng101:
[User Picture]
From:ungratefulninja
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Oof. Yeah, I goofed and hard. I swear when I read that the first time it said "aren't very tenuous".

Serves me right for commenting before coffee.
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From:derspatchel
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
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Mmmmmmaybe it did, and mmmmmmmaybe it didn't. I would not blame the pin0r for goofing hard.
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From:kpht
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
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i missed my train yesterday because the it took half an hour to get from wellington to north station. when i accepted my fate and sat down, i then watched 20 other people miss the next 4 trains by less than 30 seconds. i'd pay $2 to every T employee that delayed a train by 2 minutes, tops, because of the goddamn track work. that'd be some courtesy. if it was just me, and it was my dumbass fault, that'd be one thing.
[User Picture]
From:antikythera
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
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In Toronto, the drivers get their pay severely docked if trains/buses/streetcars are delayed, regardless of whether the drivers are at fault (or so their union would have us believe, anyways).

The end result is that the drivers tend to bark at the passengers on crowded lines like border collies after a herd of stupid sheep. They get you where you're going on time, but they drive you to drink on the way there.
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From:ungratefulninja
Date:September 27th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
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I am unable to confirm this statement, could you please provide a reference?

Not the second one, I know from experience that the TTC drivers treat you like sheep. Just the pay docking.
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From:slit
Date:September 28th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC)
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No, no, it's the Massholes who get on the last door on the green line, walk halfway up the aisle, and then get all comfortable with a book or a paper and just stand there, blocking everyone behind them, so 30 more people have to stand on the stairs even though there's tons of room ahead. LOOK BEHIND YOU. MOVE FORWARD.

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