T in the media – February 1 ( and other transit news )

Quick look at local papers in the area on what they are saying about the T the past few days

Megan Murphy a student columnist for the Daily Free Press at BU looks at the CharlieCard in another way

The first mistake the MBTA made with this new system was with the CharlieCard’s design. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that I have ever been on a T that looks like that. The car itself is so shiny and clean that it is literally producing a luminescent glow on the window sills and doors.

Secondly, all of the passengers featured on the card are in their ultimate states of Zen. The pseudo-feminist-business woman who seems to be day dreaming about a CharleneCard, the young girl who hopes to be just as heroic as Charlie some day and an aging bald man all stare admiringly at the fun-loving Charlie. Actually, the aging bald man looks as though he is missing an eye and giving us, the consumer, a pirate-like wink that is pretty creepy. We’ll let that one go, MBTA.

Also, it seems to me that Charlie may be passing around a little Irish coffee to his fellow passengers, if you know what I mean.


There is concern in Framingham that the users of the T’s Ride system will suffer when the town starts up a new regional transit system in July. The chairman of the Framingham selectmen Dennis Giombetti spoke with T General Manager Dan Grabauskas who told Giombetti not to worry .

“He assured me there would a smooth transition,” said Giombetti, who is joined by Ashland on the still-forming authority. Giombetti said the goal of the RTA is to increase service, not lose something that’s seen as valuable.

Residents have mixed opinions about the possibility of an MBTA commuter rail station being located at the East Bridgewater-West Bridgewater line.

Other transit news of note

A bus strike looms on Cape Cod. Bus drivers, mechanics and dispatchers for the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority will vote Saturday on a new union contract. Should they vote it down, a strike will be called on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

In New York City the citizens subway watch group Straphangers has now embraced the concept of customer service agents over token booths

While originally skeptical of the plan, the Straphangers Campaign now says the “roving customer agent” experiment seems to be working. The group reached the assessment after having campaign staff and volunteers observe the roving clerks at 50 booth locations.

“At least 94 percent of the time – at least once during our observation period – they would answer questions; 56 percent of the time they would give directions; 44 percent [of the time] they would buzz people into the system,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. “And these are the kinds the things that we think really help riders figure out where they are going.”

Does this sound familiar Boston? New York City Comptroller William Thompson says the MTA has spent too much money on the suburban commuter lines at the expense of the New York City Transit system.

“They’ve spent more on Metro North and Long Island Railroad than they should have over a period of time … more should have been directed at the city. If the money had been there, things would be better,” Thompson said.

The Seattle Times looks at Portland, Oregon and their brand new tram.

In Toronto which has a transit network very similar to Boston the commuter rail service known as GO Transit is having all kinds of problems this winter. Also in Toronto a new streetcar line opens on February 18th.

and finally if you think the T’s Commuter Rail has problems consider the plight of passengers in Sydney, Australia.

RailCorp has apologised to passengers who have endured long journeys without toilets, which, in some cases, have forced people to wet themselves, urinate in carriages and ask for toilet stops.

The problem is worst on the South Coast line, where people travelling for two hours or more can lack basic amenities due to a combination of vandalism, trains with no toilets and delays to long-promised new carriages.

Passengers have faced the humiliation of wetting themselves due to lack of toilets. Others have been seen urinating between carriages or, if the area between carriages is enclosed, inside them.

Suddenly the Lowell Line looks like the Orient Express

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