Charlie’s Mailbag February 3rd – More Green Line follies

From the mailbag at we hear from Deb in Brookline

Last night I boarded an inbound D line train at Reservoir and it took nearly 30 minutes just to get to Copley because of boarding lines.

For starters they only seem to run one car trains on Friday nights which is foolish given the number of students that go into the city. The train arrived at Reservoir and it took nearly 4 minutes to get everybody on even though most had prepaid fare cards. When we got to Brookline Hills it took another 4 minutes but the worst was yet to come.

At Fenway Station it took nearly seven minutes to get everybody on the train. Part of the problem was many of the students boarding there paid cash with the driver. Can’t the T refuse to board these clowns since there are vending machines at each station on the D line?

I also thought last night that you have these T workers at each station standing around and doing nothing inside their little heated sheds. Why can’t these people check fares before the train arrives and speed up boarding by opening all the doors?

The T promised fasting boarding with this Charlie system and it seems to be much worse at least on the D line!!!

Deb from Brookline

Hi Deb You made 2 very good observations.

I would agree there is no reason for a passenger to pay cash on a D Line trolley since every station has vending machines. At least on that line they could impose a no cash on train policy and that would help a little bit with the boarding lines.

As far as having the “ambassadors”,”CSA’s or whatever the T is calling them this week checking fares beforehand it does on the surface make sense but since the T plans to do away with these workers in a couple of months it wouldn’t be a long term solution.

I also find it interesting that many of these workers on the D line are retired T employees who have been called back to “help out”. One worker at night at Brookline Village used to be the head of the Green Line before he retired a couple of years ago and you can be sure he is not getting $8 an hour in this temporary position.

Still the T has to figure out a better way to board people on the Green Line. The B line outbound has been really crazy as of late as some operators are only opening one door outbound at night after 30 years of all door openings towards BC. I was on a packed car Thursday night and the driver only opened one door at Harvard and Commonwealth where half the car wanted to get off. That is complete insanity.

My suggestion to the T is to at least TRY the system used in Chicago.

Nobody can tell me this would not reduce boarding times on the trolleys and some high use bus routes. I have seen it work on the heavily used bus lanes of Michigan Avenue in Chicago and buses don’t get bogged down as much as they had in the past. How hard can it be to test the idea on one line to see if it works in Boston?



Filed under CharlieCard, Green Line, MBTA

10 responses to “Charlie’s Mailbag February 3rd – More Green Line follies

  1. Anonymous

    I ride the D line daily and couldn’t agree more that it should be “no cash” since there are machines right there. There is no incentive for a person to buy a charlieticket since they pay the same as cash, which seems to be a problem (why not the same as the charliecard?) I also agree that the 1 car at night on the d line is not working, since I don’t feel that used to be the way it was when I lived here before, but emails to the green line chief were ignored. Surprise.

  2. Janice

    I am so angry!!!!! I am at the Apple Store at Cambridgeside and couldn’t wait to get home to report this.

    Around 7 PM at Government Center the driver of train 3730 just shut the doors on 20 people waiting to board and sped off. The train wasn’t full or anything.

    Can’t anything be done about these drivers?

  3. Anonymous

    The proof of payment tickets at D line stops are full charlietickets with magnetic strips. There are two problems with this:
    1.It is a waste, why not something less substantial w/o the strip

    2. Looking almost identical to charlietickets, the driver cant tell when people board the door other than his/hers have proof of payment cards or charlietickets that need to be swiped to record payment.

  4. Anonymous

    A friend in Chicago reports that his tap of his ChicagoCard in the “Go Lane” will not process if another passenger is paying with cash at the farebox at the same time. So while he may not have to wait behind those paying cash, the net improvement is not that great, as it’s not like having two fareboxes on the bus.

  5. Anonymous

    What the D Line needs are fare gates, just like on the red and oragnle lines, it can easily be managed at the D Line stations, they’re not in streets.

  6. Riverside station has fare gates. I’m not sure how easy it would be to add them in other locations, especially places like Longwood and Brookline Village where the platforms do double duty as pedestrian paths across the tracks.

  7. Rob

    they chicago fast lane doesn’t work that well. You have to wait for other customers to pay first then you can tap.

    Second i heard that becasue of they way green lines are powered they couldn’t put those in. still would make sense on buses though

  8. And all of this should have been considered before implementing a new system. If I did this on my job(I do IT work) and used new technology without planning or testing first I would be out of a job.

  9. Anonymous

    getting rid of csas???? lmao yeah right!!

  10. Anonymous

    the t wants their money upfront…do yourself a favor buy a link pass…it costs 13 dollars less than before…its a learning curve, a year from now, if the same problems are holding up service then they should reform the fare system…also ive heard they will be running 2 cars trains all the time soon..

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