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Lights, camera ... delays: another week on the MBTA

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  July 13, 2012 04:56 PM

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Orange Line delay July 2012.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for

These unhappy passengers were trapped on an Orange Line train sitting between Back Bay Station and Tufts Medical Center around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Lights, camera … delays: another week on the MBTA

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox · Fri, Jul 13 2012 14:07:32

The biggest news on the MBTA this week was the bus crash in Dudley Square that sent at least 11 passengers to the hospital, caused major damage to a $915,000 bus purchased in 2010, and probably made Sandra Bullock cranky. 

Like a scene from a movie, the crash was dramatic and scary, but fortunately no one was badly hurt, and for most T-riders, life went on more or less as usual. On the T, of course, "life as usual" means temporary service shutdowns and a slew of other inconveniences. 

Fortunately, local commuters have Twitter and the #MBTAannoy hashtag to help express their frustrations and pass the time during long waits like those described below. 
Hey T that's the 4th northbound train since I entered the station Where is the horribly crowded southbound? #MBTAannoy #MBTA #mbtagmrev8056
Final score 5 northbound before the horribly packed southbound & the guy next to me smells REALLY bad #MBTA #MBTAannoyrev8056
Been waiting 20 minutes for a B train. This is ridiculous! Train will be packed. #mbta #mbtaannoyDan
#MBTAannoy waiting for the E line at park street and getting C-D-C-C-B-D-B before an E finally shows upNick Downing
Hynes station: 1 no service 4! D lines and 2 C in 10 min?! Where's my B? #MBTAannoyLisa Husseini
On the Green Line, it's always the train you're waiting for that doesn't show up while all the others pass by, isn't it?

Sometimes the delays are worsened by other factors. 
After a 20 minute waiting the train its no surprise it went out of service. #mbtaAnnoycorey gene aubuchon
And sometimes a bus just doesn't show up at all. 
@mbtaGM I see two #9 inbound buses on the schedule that aren't showing up as coming this morning and haven't since July 1. #MBTAannoyShane Dunn
When the delayed trains or buses finally arrive, and they're actually in service, and riders get on, they often face additional delays like these:  
@mbtaGM what's going on #redline ? I need to get home! Why have you stopped? #MBTAannoySabrinaTheWiseLatina
Oh #GreenLine how did you know I wanted to be stuck on you for an extra long time today. Disabled train yadda yadda. #mbtaannoyKristen
Pleeeeease go express, 20-minute-late B-line train. Grr. #mbtaannoyTrisha Fortin
Oh, not going express? Ok cool I'll just be late for work even though I left earlier than usual. #mbtaannoyTrisha Fortin
#MBTAannoy Trains typically move, right?Joshua Warren
And then there are those service interruptions for track repairs, like the one just announced for the Red Line. 
#Boston #mbta shuts down redlime from jfk/umass to ashmont this weekend #mbtaannoy (for some)Sweetadelinevt
Reminder: the MBTA is basically shut down for the rest of the year (portions of Red, Orange & Green, various hours/dates) #MBTAannoyKenjimal
Even when everything is supposed to be working, there are broken systems to contend with. 
Signal system at Briantree broken AGAIN I just love sitting here looking at the black tanker cars #MBTA #MBTAannoyrev8056
Or systems that are simply inadequate to passengers' specific needs. 
How am I supposed to get picked for @HottiesontheT if the #OrangeLine won't install mood lighting? #MBTAannoy.Robert D Sullivan
The worst mechanical issue, though, is the lack of air-conditioning on a hot summer day. 
Packed train car AND no AC? #thisfeelsgood #MBTAannoy #getmeofffff ������Amy S
Nothing like riding in a 43 year old Red Line train in the sun with no AC #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Maybe even worse than that is a situation when an MBTA employee should be helpful and isn't. 
Sad that operators don't know how to assist handicapped riders #mbtaannoy @mbtaGMCommonwealthRecycle
But for every 100 or so unhelpful employees there's at least one good one, right? 

These next tweeters found some courteous T employees to #MBTAbrag about. 
@mbtaGM Nicest driver on the 66 bus, number 2175! #mbtabragChristina M. Smith
Thank you to #MBTA for help recovering lost wallet on Friday. Very friendly, helpful staff! #MBTAbrag @mbtaGM @StreetsBostonConor Semler
One rider liked his trolley conductor so much Hollywood could build a buddy movie around their relationship. 

Maybe Sandra Bullock could appear in it? 
Got a cheery Green Line Operator this morning, very flight attendant perky! "Thank you for choosing the #MBTA!" #MBTAbrag :DJustin
To @mbtaGM, Please reward the cheerful Green Line E Train Operator this morning (pulled into Pru at 11:27)! We need more of them! #MBTAbragJustin
Even made sure to take the time to tell the guy what a great job he was doing! Love great customer service! #MBTAbragJustin
So maybe T workers aren't all so bad. What about other passengers? If their ignorance doesn't drive you crazy ...
I love watching tourists try and tap their CharlieTicket on the CharlieCard readers LOL #MBTAfail #mbtaannoyBoston to a T
Their lack of courtesy will: 
50 year olds making out noisily on the #mbta. Awesome. #MBTAannoyMelinda C
Convinced that I'm the only one who is comfortable with being in the middle of the T. Everyone else has small panic attacks #MBTA #MBTAannoySarah Perkins
How can loud can I make my ipod? Not loud enough. #mbtaannoy #stfuKate
Dude, you are talking entirely way too loud on your phone right now. #MBTAannoyJessica Chahanovich
At times it's hard to know what to make of another passenger -- should we be offended or charmed? 
On this #OrangeLine train is what appears to be a homeless drag queen pushing a limbless mannequin in a wheelchair. #MBTAbrag? #MBTAannoy?Jeremy C. Fox
At least some are self-aware about their inappropriateness. 
I'm old enough that I almost feel embarrassed that I'm half-drunk at a T stop at 8pm on a Wednesday. #MBTAbragHP
It is even possible, on rare occasion, for a passenger to exhibit courtesy and receive courtesy in return. 
Offered seat on the #OrangeLine to elderly lady. She refused because she was only going one stop but said thx & pinched my cheek. #MBTAbragJeremy C. Fox
It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't so many of them (us), packed into trains and buses like rice in a maki roll. 
When was sitting on the floor of a crowded T a good idea? The answer is never. #MBTAannoyAshley Murphy
Train traffic gahhhhh #orangeline #moveit #MBTAannoyAmy S
Why are there so many people packing on these RedLine trains? The T has decreed that rush hour doesn't start until 4PM #mbta #mbtaannoyrev8056
Once in a while, though, a rider lucks into a train that's not crowded at all. 
That feeling when you board an empty subway car during rush hour. #MBTAbragMBTA Problems
Of course sometimes an uncrowded train comes at the expense of creeping along behind the one everyone ahead of you got on. 
My D train is delightfully empty but slow due to packed train ahead of us #mbtabrag #MBTAKat Powers
Maybe the most upsetting thing about sharing the MBTA with so many other people is that some of them don't know the difference between a transit system and a bathroom. 
That moment when you realize the smell you're smelling on the Orange Line platform is urine. #mbtaannoyanders kamp elder
RT @essingmybeesout: The chinatown elevators could be power washed with bleach and probably still not be clean #gross #MBTAannoyMBTA Problems
But sometimes, somehow, whoever has the responsibility for fouling MBTA elevators misses one. 
The elevator at #MBTA Roxbury Crossing Station has to be among the cleanest. #MBTAbragJustin
When an experience isn't so pleasant, some riders know how to take those lemons and make lemonade.
Worked through lunch to squeeze in a run! 3.5 midday miles 'o bliss! #MBTAannoy -ed leads to more miles.Joshua Warren
But not literally, please, MBTA.
I hope the T isn't selling the rights to soak #OrangeLine seats. I'm not interested in drinking whatever I just sat in. #MBTAannoyRobert D Sullivan
Despite all the inconveniences and aggravation, even a tweeter with the handle MBTA Problems has to admit that sometimes riding the T is kind of great. 
One thing that doesn't disappoint #theview #MBTAbrag Problems
Keep that in mind the next time you're stuck underground on a stalled Red Line train heading inbound from Cambridge -- the view from the Longfellow bridge is your reward. And when something on the T makes you happy, tweet about it using #MBTAbrag. And when it makes you sad -- or, more likely, mad -- there's aways #MBTAannoy there waiting for you. 

Email Jeremy C. Fox at
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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