Like it or not, the T plays a significant role in the lives of most Bostonians.
Whether it shuts down for a few hours due to an electrical fire or for 48 hours during a snowstorm, people notice and more often than not complain.
The MBTA is nothing if not a good talking point.
We’ve gathered some of the memorable MBTA moments, measures, and mishaps of 2013.
Have moments to add? Submit them here.
That time they announced the T would stay open later
Students, techies, and late night revelers rejoiced when the MBTA announced it was reinstating its late night service.
The one-year pilot program will keep subway trains and 15 popular buses (the 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116, and 117) running until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is slated to begin in March or April.
That time they reopened Orient Heights Station
The MBTA unveiled the new and improved Orient Heights Station in late November.
The East Boston-based Blue Line station was closed in February in a $51 million attempt to reverse 60 years of wear and tear.
The renovated station featured an overhead bridge, four elevators, two escalators, new mechanical and power systems, an updated train operations building and new platforms.
That time Verizon phones started working underground
Verizon consumers were pleasantly surprised in late October when their Twitter scanning/Facebook stalking/Pandora listening was uninterrupted when their T train went underground.
Per Michael Murphy, a spokesman for Verizon: “I wouldn’t be surprised if MBTA customers started recognizing new coverage in places they previously had not.”
There’s been no formal announcement, but the cell phone network acknowleged it’s expanding its Blue, Orange, Green and Red line coverage. It forged an agreement with the MBTA and InSite Wireless Group about the coverage expansion in July. Next
That time they claimed the @MBTA Twitter handle
The MBTA announced a big social media move in mid-September: it was switching its offical Twitter handle from @mbtaGM to @MBTA.
The announcement came after a years-long battle to unseat a “Twitter squatter,” said the MBTA. The T appealed to Twitter’s impersonation policy and eventually got word that the handle was theirs to keep.
@mbtaGM’s 45,000 followers were automatically tranferred to the new account.
“Switching from @mbtaGM to @MBTA will help in streamlining the MBTA’s online presence and will make it easier for new followers to find the T’s Twitter account,” the agency said in an announcement. Next
That time the Green Line got electronic signs
The MBTA unveiled electronic message boards inside Kenmore Station on Sept. 19. The signs tell passengers waiting to ride outbound which Green Line train – a B, C, or D – will arrive next, but unlike signs around other parts of the MBTA, they do not say when trains will arrive.
T officials say the public transit agency expects to announce “in the coming months” a schedule for when “a more sophisticated vehicle tracking system” will be installed along the Green Line.
That time they re-designed the T map
Or rather, the public re-designed the T map.
The transit system launched the Perspectives MBTA Map Re-design competition in the spring. According to the MBTA, the competition came at a good time, as it needs to modify and re-design system maps because of the opening of multiple new projects, including new Fairmount Line stations, the opening of the Assembly Square Station next year, and the coming Green Line extension.
That time they made CharlieCard rings
A Kickstarter project sought to find a solution to that everyday annoyance of fishing through purses or flashing wallets to get into MBTA stations: the Sesame Ring, a not-so-stylish assessory/CharlieCard.
“Having missed the train many times while fishing for our Charlie Cards (smart cards used for public transportation in Massachusetts), we looked for a solution in wearable technology. After months of hard work, we created the 3D-printed Sesame Ring, supported by the MBTA,” the project page states. “Now, you can walk right up to the gantry, use scientifically approved magic, and scoot on through!”
The project exceeded its $5,000 goal, raising $19,120.
Here’s the promotional video for the Sesame Ring:
<iframe width="609" height="457" src="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1066401427/sesame-ring-where-will-it-take-you/widget/video.html" frameborder="0"> </iframe> Next
That time the MBTA released a rap song
The days of that guy named Charlie are gone. The MBTA has a new theme song.
“The Safety Bounce” is a hip-hop-inspired tune on all things transit safety. The MBTA released the video in early September on YouTube and at four of the T’s major stations.
T officials said it will be used to teach students the elements of safe, courteous train travel, but hope adults will enjoy the ditty as well.
Music video lyrics include: ““Stand behind the line painted yellow design/So that you don’t throw your life away/Now stand back, stand back, stand back, stand back.”
You can watch the full video below:
<iframe width="609" height="457" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/di_W5IVC-NI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Next
That time the train started smoking
Malfunctioning brakes led to a smoky commute for riders of a Green Line train on June 20.
Passengers were evacuated from the train at the D Line’s Brookline Village Station just before 9 a.m. The train was transported to a rail yard for service.
A passenger told the Globe she saw smoke coming from the bottom of one of the train cars and smelled burning rubber.
The smoking train caused moderate delays on the Green Line that morning.
T riders who wanted to visit MBTA.com for more information on the delays were out of luck. The website was down. Next
That time MBTA.com went dark
A cyberattack on an outside company precipitated the downing of the MBTA’s website on June 19.
Network Solutions, which manages more than 7 million domains, 1.5 million e-mailboxes, and 350,000 websites, experienced distributed denial of service attacks, disrupting websites and Internet services like email.
“It’s a complicated problem and something that’s well outside of our control,” said Gary Foster, chief technology officer for the T, told the Globe.
The state transportation department website, which is also managed by Network Solutions, was not impacted by the cyberattack.
That time the T launched a driver protection campaign
“Think twice before putting your hands on T staff. We will find you, arrest you, and prosecute you.”
You may have heard that message played at the T stations on your commute.
The MBTA launched the recording as part of a campaign to protect staff. During the first four months of 2013, there were 28 reported assaults on MBTA employees.
In addition to the recorded message, the T planned to add surveillance cameras inside buses, expand staff protection training, and install partitions to separate bus drivers from passengers, reported the Globe in early May.
“I want you to know . . . that we will not sit by idly and let these egregious acts go unanswered,” MBTA general manager Beverly Scott wrote in a letter to T employees in April. “Certainly, getting assaulted is not part of any T employee’s job.” Next
That time an artist drew T stops
Jamaica Plain resident Laura Meilman took a unique approach to documenting her T experiences.
Instead of moaning about delays or crowds on social media, she sketched the MBTA’s stations, finding beauty in the banal.
Meilman plans to draw each of the MBTA’s 121 subway stops. Once finished, she said she will exhibit her collection for the public. Next
That time they restarted service to Cape Cod
Memorial Day weekend brought the return of the CapeFlyer, the MBTA’s rail service from Boston to Hyannis.
Commuter trains have traveled the route intermittently since 1854, according to a story by the Globe. Despite its history of financial troubles, the MBTA said it believed the popularity of the destination and ease of travel would keep this iteration of the route in the black.
The CapeFlyer is scheduled to run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. One-way trips are about two hours and 40 minutes.
That time they shut down the T for 12 hours
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon Bombing suspect closed the City of Boston, surrounding communities, and the MBTA.
Subway and bus service was shut down for about 12 hours. Commuter rail, ferry service, and the RIDE remained closed for 24 hours.
Copley Station, at the heart of the bombing crime scene, was shuttered for the length of the investigation. Next
That time people in wheelchairs protested the MBTA
A group of seniors and people with disabilities used wheelchairs to block traffic in front of the State House to protest fare hikes for the MBTA’s The Ride program on April 8. Four protesters were arrested during the 30-minute demonstration.
Police did not arrest anyone in a wheelchair, but moved them to the sidewalk when they refused to move of their own accord. No one resisted arrest; there were no injuries.
The Ride fares were doubled in 2012 from $2 to $4, with higher prices for those who live outside of Boston.
‘‘Folks have been denied transit, people stuck in their homes and unable to get to the doctor,’’ said Carolyn Villers, executive director of the Mass Senior Action Council. ‘‘We’re trying to help folks understand the urgency and the real crisis.” Next
That time the Red Line door didn’t close
This one was pretty scary.
A Red Line subway car traveled through subway tunnels with a door open, according to a video posted on YouTube.
The video was posted by Erika Myllmaki, of Quincy, who was traveling from Quincy Center to Andrew Station with her boyfriend, Marwan Mostafa. She said the door was open for four full stops.
The MBTA removed the subway car from service following the video, which went viral on April 1.
“With safety being a top priority, the Red Line has developed a new inspection procedure for the older Red Line cars that have this type of mechanism in the door,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail after the incident. “All of the older Red Line cars are being checked.”
<center><iframe width="539" height="404" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zAB9B50ouYs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center> Next
That time they announced (potential) fare increases
Without a funding increase, there’s only bad news for the T, said MBTA officials in early March.
That time it got violent
The MBTA’s police chief announced violent crime on the transit system dropped by one-third in the first three months of 2013 compared with the same period of 2012, but that is not to say that Boston’s transit system has been crime-free.
A 19-year-old Wakefield man was charged after allegedly spitting in a bus driver’s face and then punching him in the nose in Malden on April 9.
On March 9, between 15 and 20 teenagers allegedly punched an MBTA bus driver and tried to pull him from the driver’s side window while his bus was picking up passengers at a Dorchester stop (pictured.) An 18-year-old Roxbury man was charged in connection with the attack.
Massachusetts State Police removed a juvenile from the JFK/UMass MBTA Station in Dorchester after a small fight broke out following a close basketball game at Boston College High School on Feb. 28. Fifty security cameras were installed at the subway, commuter rail, and bus station after a flurry of crimes in the surrounding neighborhoods in late January.
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That time they closed the T for 48 hours
Snowstorm Nemo shut down the city of Boston, its suburbs, and its transit system.
In an unprecedented move, the MBTA decided to stop service ahead of the height of the snowstorm, keeping it suspended for nearly 48 hours.
The MBTA’s chief operating officer, Sean M. McCarthy, said after the storm that the shutdown helped protect the T’s equipment from the elements.
“At the stage of their life that our vehicles are, we put a lot of capital and effort into nursing and keeping those vehicles safe and reliable,” McCarthy said. “To the extent that we can conserve that, it’s incumbent upon us to do that.” Next
That time big screens showed up at Harvard Square
A new advertising initiative showed up at the Red Line’s Harvard Square Station on Jan. 31 in the form of eight big display screens.
The screens were provided at no cost as part of a partnership with Titan Digital Advertisting. There are three 70-inch screens in the station’s main atrium and five 55-inch ones in the inbound and outbound train platforms.
The MBTA said the screens will display advertisements, service alerts, and other real-time information.
Park Street and North and South stations received advertisement display screens in March. Next
That time a fire shut down the Green Line during rush hour
In a case of very unfortunate timing, a fire closed a portion of the Green Line during rush hour on one of the coldest mornings of the year.
The fire, which turned out to be a smoldering wire found at Arlington Station, displaced hundreds of commuters on Jan. 23.
Service was suspended between Kenmore Square and Government Center stations. The T sent shuttle buses to replace the trains, but many riders were forced to walk to work in single-digit temperatures or squeeze onto packed buses.
T service resumed at 11 a.m., after being suspended for nearly three hours. Next
That time riders forgot their pants
The sixth annual No Pants Subway Ride came to Boston on Jan. 13, and with it came hundreds of bare legs.
The event was sponsored by BostonSOS, a local social arts and event group.
“No matter how popular it gets . . . there are always a ton of people who don’t know what’s going on,” James Cobalt, the executive director of BostonSOS, said. “For me, the most interesting thing of all (with this event) is to see how people try to perceive and understand what’s going on. For me, it’s just silly . . . For a lot of people, that’s not enough.” Back to the beginning
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