Rules for Commuting or at least there should be

Ok – so I’ve been taking the commuter into Boston every day now for close to two years.

Here are some things that make me just slightly lose my mind.

Escalators in south station are wide enough in most cases to accommodate ¬†two people standing side by side. But the general rule though a lot of people don’t seem to have gotten the memo is standing traffic to the right, climbing traffic to the left.

And then other escalators, particularly the one from the Red Line north platform – it’s wide enough for a single person. So hit those at a run or face the scorn.

But the thing the drives me nuts – what I call the tuggers. Instead of being able to fit their gear in a backpack, oh perish the thought, they’ve got these semi and hard shelled rolling luggage that they just blindly tug behind them.

And they move at a snails pace. But one yesterday – the next to last escalator before you hit the main concourse at South Station – she stands to the right and her fucking luggage is blocking the left side. But we don’t say anything on the spot, oh no. We just make some noise. She didn’t get the hint.

Then coming back on the commuter I have the headphones on. They pretty much blot out all outside sound but I can hear this tinny Asian language. I slip one headphone off and there’s a girl watching a video on her phone with the volume cranked. That’s incredibly fucking rude. You can get a pair of earphones for under $10.

And granted – going from or toward a commuter train is always fun. Things to do there – don’t speed up then slow down – but then that explains the traffic on the highways around here, one minute you’re doing 80MPH, next you’re down to 45MPH.

And the one that drives me absolutely insane – stop staring down at your smartphone and walk. That’s the real problem.


What the hell is with Amtrak Signalling

I was thinking today. How is it Amtrak’s signalling infrastructure is so fragile yet automobile traffic lights take a pounding all year round and still function nearly flawlessly.

I think the U.S. Congress, including the RI, MA, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD and DC representatives and senators need to get funding to upgrade the signalling on the entirety of the line from Boston to D.C.

It was so bad today – that the MBTA commuter only went as far as Back Bay Station. So I had to hop on the Orange Line toward Oak Grove and get off a the Downtown Crossing station, then head for the Red Line bound for North Quincy station.

Tomorrow I’m leaving the house early – I want to see what ¬†cluster fuck it’s going to be then.

And let me be clear, I don’t blame the MBTA for this – I blame Amtrak and our Congressional delegation for not investing enough in rail transit in the United States – particularly that cash cow Acela line. When they built the Acela system they replaced the tracking and strung overhead catenary for the trains. But they did not upgrade the signalling.

And let me be abundantly clear – you can design electrical/electronic signalling systems that are immune to high wind and water. It’ll cost a bit more but with the weather patterns being what they’ve been recently it would behoove them to do it soon.


Amtrak needs to replace signalling

I’ve posted about this before. I’m putting all the congress critters on notice. You can in fact design electrical/electronics that don’t go to shit every time there’s a little wind and rain.

In fact my phone is blowing up with MBTA alerts with delays from 20 minutes up to a full hour for later trains. Glad I got on the 4:35PM train because I’d have been plenty pissed if my commute turned into a 2-3 hour odyssey.



Twice this week the MBTA Commuter to Providence was late coming in this week

So on Monday the MBTA Commuter from South Station in Boston, MA to Providence Station in Providence, RI took two hours to make the trip because of a broken down train. Now the normal trip is an hour and ten minutes. So I can sort of understand that one even if I was majorly pissed.

But today, I board the 3:30PM train out of South Station. It’s suppose to make Providence by 4:45PM. It got in a half hour late.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact the train was super packed. I’ve never seen a 3:30PM train this packed.

In fact let’s not get started about RIPTA. I get to the bus stop this evening and the next bus isn’t for another 20 minutes. This btw is prime time for RIPTA. What the ever loving fuck? I decided I’d take the 15-20 minute walk home. Didn’t see ONE outbound bus on my route. Saw THREE inbounds though.

It’s all got me considering being a profligate polluter and buying a car and saying to fuck with the MBTA and RIPTA. I can pickup a new VW Jetta for $13,500 or so. I may as well save up the dough and buy it cash. I’ll tolerate the MBTA and RIPTA’s cluster fucks for a little while longer.

Disband RIPTA and replace it with the MBTA in Rhode Island

So today of course is Veterans Day. But my beef isn’t with the holiday. It’s with the differences between the MBTA and RIPTA.

As you might well know I take the MBTA commuter rail into Boston every day. I’ve been working in Boston and Vicinity for some time now and the train is the ONLY way to get there and keep ones sanity. So I shell out $330 a month for the pass on the MBTA commuter rail.

Ok all fine and good. But with today’s holiday the MBTA ran a regular weekday schedule. RIPTA on the other hand is running on a Sunday/Holiday schedule.

If RIPTA wants to be taken seriously they need to run regular service on the soft holidays. That’s one of the things I want ot of RIPTA – be there for your customers.

And then there’s the thing where RIPTA now wants to do away with several fare products – and it’s a money grab on their part. Additionally they want to hike the price of a monthly pass on RIPTA to $70 from $62. Meanwhile as I said I spend $330 a month on a commuter rail pass that also gets me access to MBTA bus service, subway service, etc.

So here’s a proposal – since RIPTA has proven beyond any doubt that they’re not fit to run a transit system I beseech my legislators to study whether it might be worth dismantling RIPTA and inviting the MBTA to provide service throughout Rhode Island. Then I’d have a pass that would work on public transit through MA and RI. That would be something wouldn’t it?

You can always tell there was a holiday weekend

Because public transit systems go to absolute shit.

Today’s was interesting. Got to the North Quincy station at 4:08. Usually it’s just a couple minutes and the Red Line into Boston is there. Not today – no it got there at 4:17PM which means I missed the 4:35PM commuter back to Providence. Had to wait until 5:00PM for the next one. And of course the Red Line drivers go REALLY slowly between North Quincy and JFK.

And then there’s RIPTA – now up to 7PM the #27 and #28 bus run every twenty minutes, staggered so service to Broadway where I live is every 10 minutes. Not so tonight, Got to the berth at 6:30PM and waited – at 6:45PM and no bus I walked home.

Now I understand that after a holiday weekend you’ll have your no-shows as far as co-workers and bus drivers. But really this type of behavior on the part of RIPTA is irksome – because all the buses are GPS tracked. On the entire 20 minute walk home I didn’t see on westbound bus at all.

I’ve now made a resolution to put money aside and buy a car. I’d rather put up with traffic then to have trains to stupid things like move like a snail, or park in Mansfield for 10-15 minutes so Amtrak trains could go by us.

Now I know, I-93 and i-95 could be slightly hellish. But I’ll take that hell over commuter rail and subways.

MBTA Commuter Appreciation Day

Or as I call it their Mea Culpa for a few months of services that were slow as shit running down a wall and at times didnt even run at all.

And what was going on – on the commute home both yesterday and today I noticed an inordinately high number of kids on the train. Not something you see all the time. Was it bring your son/daughter to work Thursday and Friday or something? I can understand why I didn’t get the memo – the fantasy of having kids is vastly overruled by the old frontal cortex that chimes in about how expensive a kid can be and all the attendant grief that ensues.

Anyhow back on topic – the Commuter Appreciation Day. The nice part was the flow at South Station. Much better when they leave the gates open. In fact that got me to thinking, where does the command for the gates to stay open come from? And it is it possible to say hack into that system from my phone and well you get the idea right?