A reminder that you are invited to share your “T story” just drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston is in the fourth week of the CharlieCard era and we are adjusting. There haven’t been as many problems the past week or so as riders have adjusted. The biggest single change I have noticed is that on the #66 bus I would estimate that 90% of riders are now using either a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to be able to transfer.
The Green Line and the new POP(Proof of Payment) system is still having growing pains.Today at Fenway station a fare inspector had me tap my card and I boarded in the middle and still the motorwoman (car #3626) wanted me to come to the front. The train had already left the station and I told her I had tapped my card with a fare inspector but she demanded I tap it again. Since I have a monthly pass it was only a minor hassle for me but what if I had a fare deducted from “stored value”?
Other blogs are reporting similar problems today, here are links to Bad Transit and Universal Hub where other riders are telling their tales. In the evening most inbound Riverside trains are only opening the front door causing longer lines at the fareboxes. That appears to be going against the memo issued to drivers at the beginning of the month but perhaps they have updated it since. I wish they would let the passengers in on what the policy is.
In the subway there seems to be less confusion as riders get used to the FVM’s (Fare Vending Machines) but a CSA at Harvard tells me they still are having problems with people buying commuter rail tickets by mistake. I am also amazed that after nearly a month the T has not put printed decals on the FVM’s with information on how much a fare is. Remember the machine doesn’t tell you what a ride costs. I also would like the T to follow the lead of Washington and Chicago and put a CharlieCard decal on the card reader as I have seen many people who still don’t understand the black target. Putting Charlie’s face on the target would help solve the problem.
The computerized train arrival announcements seem to be having problems downtown for example I haven’t heard one at Park Street for several days. Luckily I know the secret of the track light that goes off when a train arrives at Downtown Crossing.
One random observation. Where have the T’s characters gone? When you ride a train in Chicago or New York you are almost always “entertained” by a cast of characters. New York has the women selling cheap trinkets from car to car, Chicago has their shell game schemers, San Francisco has its poets. But for some reason the Boston system doesn’t have them anymore.
I remember one in particular who used to be a regular on the Red and Green Lines. He would board the train and start whistling “Yankee Doodle” then sing a little verse and then get off at the next station to wait for the next train. I haven’t seen him for years. There were others but the past few years the characters have been missing.
Now if there is any advantage of not having the trains run all night it is that we don’t have homeless people sleeping all night on the trains. In New York the “E” line is notorious for this as the street people know the line never goes outdoors. In Chicago the Red Line every car at night is full of people sleeping as the train meanders along its 24 mile run.
Maybe the characters are on your train, if so share a story with us.