checking the mailbag at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been having some problems with my wireless card in California so that is the reason the blog has been updating later in the day back East as I have been forced to use the San Francisco Public Library ( which is quite nice and modern )
Andy thinks the “new” North Station could be better
I know this is ungrateful, especially after the T worked so hard to improve the plight of space-constrained North Station commuters…but I have a question/complaint about the cosmetics of the new and improved station.
What’s with the black and tan ceiling and walls? The gray columns? Why the stygian darkness? Perhaps it complements the outer decor of the platforms and provides an optical transition as one hustles to or from the brightly lit inner hallway. It will hide the dirt. Maybe the T doesn’t want people hanging around, clogging up the waiting area. I doubt there’s much potential for that. But I don’t think it would have hurt to use brighter hues, even a little white to turn a gloomy space into a less gloomy space.
The North Station do-over had a lot of potential for dulling my South Station envy, but so far I’m not sure we made much progress here.
I’d be happy to volunteer on the paint detail if the T should change its mind. I also know a real ‘fab’ interior decorator who can work miracles. One is needed here.
Andy from Ipswich
The T is not responsible for North Station. The new improvements were done by the Delaware North Company of Buffalo who owns the Garden. Hopefully it will be a bit brighter when the new retail shops that are promised open.
Amy wonders what is causing slowdowns on the Orange Line
I’ve been riding the orange line ever since I can remember, and
recently I’ve noticed that, going inbound and outbound between
Sullivan Square and Community College, the train slows down
considerably. At this part in the track, the train is on a bridge and
its leaning quite a bit to one side. It’s always leaned like that but
never gone so slow over that one part as it has in the past few
months. Any reason for this?
Love your blog!
I don’t have the answer but I am pretty certain somebody will let us know in short order.
Ian writes in about the T’s trip planner
I’m a huge fan of your blog, and especially of the Boston Transit Camp idea, which I think would be a lot of fun. I wanted to write you with a quick comment about the T’s new web site.
It’s obvious that the T (or TransitWorks; whoever is in charge of the site) wanted to give the new MBTA.com that “Web 2.0” look and feel, so they went ahead and built a new trip planner that uses Google Maps to show routes and station/stop locations. It’s a great idea, and I’m sure it looked great on paper, but as we all know their implementation leaves much to be desired.
Earlier today I was reading the official Google Blog and I almost jumped out of my seat. There was a post about the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/music-movies-mayhem-and-metro.html) wherein the author mentioned that they’ve added Austin, TX to the Google Transit Trip Planner. (!?!?!)
Yes, that’s right, Google built their own Public Transit trip planner. It’s been around for a while, too — here’s the official launch announcement from December 2005 (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/public-transit-via-google.html).
Currently it only contains information for transit agencies in 10 cities, but if you read the FAQ (http://www.google.com/help/faq_transit.html) they very clearly outline the process by which agencies can make their own data available to Google:
“4. My agency has public transportation data for my city; how can I get it included in the Google Transit Trip Planner?”If you’re at a public agency that oversees public transportation for your city and would like your data to be included, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Google Transit Feed Specification http://code.google.com/transit/spec/transit_feed_specification.htm describes how to provide transit data in a format that Google Transit Trip Planner can use.”So while they were busy attempting to reinvent the wheel, the T could easily have just handed their data over to Google and let the search company do all the work for them. I’m willing to bet this wouldn’t have cost them a penny, and when all was said and done they would’ve had a system that, in addition to properly calculating routes, would even compare the cost of the trip with the approximate cost of making the same trip in a car. Instead we have a poorly-coded, poorly-tested clunk-factory that hates Fridays and wants to route every Red Line rider through JFK.
I have no doubt that the smart people in Mountain View, CA could have devised a first class trip planner.