General MBTA Discussion Thread

Lrfox

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I've enjoyed the MBTA website recently on both mobile and desktop, but it's clearly aimed at mobile users. To me, that's fine. Mobile users make up the majority of website visitors nowadays. I haven't seen the data, but I'd wager that this is even more accurate for transit users as they are, by definition, mobile. For the people at home on desktop planning trips in advance, the site is more than functional. Rumor has it the Governor went to a national assembly of Governor's a few years back and was embarrassed by how bad the old Massachusetts state websites relative to other states. So a huge initiative (and a lot of money) was thrown into modernizing the state websites and their functionality. The MBTA website is one of the fruits of those efforts, but all of Mass.gov is updated.

On a related note, has anyone used Google Maps in Tokyo for directions via transit? It's proof we still have a long way to go here in Boston. Maps will tell you which station entrance to use, which car to get on for quickest transfer/egress, etc. Because of the network's efficiency, it'll build itineraries with +/- 1 minute transit times. I love the MBTA's route planning tools now, and the transit geek in me loves knowing where to stand on the platform to get the right door that will line me up perfectly with the stairs/escalator at my destination station, but I'd love to have a level of reliability that enables such specific directions.
 

jass

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On a related note, has anyone used Google Maps in Tokyo for directions via transit? It's proof we still have a long way to go here in Boston. Maps will tell you which station entrance to use, which car to get on for quickest transfer/egress, etc. Because of the network's efficiency, it'll build itineraries with +/- 1 minute transit times. I love the MBTA's route planning tools now, and the transit geek in me loves knowing where to stand on the platform to get the right door that will line me up perfectly with the stairs/escalator at my destination station, but I'd love to have a level of reliability that enables such specific directions.
Citymapper does all this in the US
 

HelloBostonHi

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Citymapper, Transit, and Google maps all do this in Boston to varying degrees. I still find Google maps chooses the most sensible routes, for example citymapper still thinks I need to *hike* from the Blue Line airport station to the terminal and therefore refuses to suggest the blue line to the airport, whereas Google maps correctly shows massport shuttles
 

HelloBostonHi

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In what can only be described as a really odd choice by the MBTA, during the full downtown weekend shutdowns of the orange line they will be providing no alternative bus shuttles through downtown. That's right, none. Your option is to take the OL to Back Bay, walk to Copley and take the green line to North Station, then transfer to a bus shuttle to Sullivan Square, then transfer back to the orange line. I really hope they advertise this wide and far so people are aware ahead of time. Like coming in from the North and trying to get to DTX area will be a two transfer deal (OL>Shuttle>GL) instead of non-stop. And from the south, I really hope they advertise to people to take the GL E branch instead of even bothering with the OL. If they were doing this right they would be telling people at Ruggles to walk to NEU instead of bothering with the OL at all.
 

Arlington

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"Transit" app is my #1, GMaps a close second. In both cases, you have to be wary with any line that mixes locals and expresses (big issue on LIRR, not as much on our Commuter Rail)
 

Neon

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Saw this new-ish MBTA related twitter page on the SF Muni Diaries FB page.
 

tysmith95

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Terrible night for northern commuter rail lines. 2 lines basically shut down during rush hour.
 

datadyne007

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Terrible night for northern commuter rail lines. 2 lines basically shut down during rush hour.
The Lowell Line shutdown was not Commuter Rail/Keolis' fault. A piece of drilling equipment for the GLX broke down pretty much on the Lowell Line ROW. More of a GLX fail. Incredibly, the T/Keolis scrambled bus substitution that utilized police escorts!! What a great job and coordination from the T on the mitigation plan.

The Eastern Route was delayed significantly due to the Beverly Draw getting stuck open (again).
 
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statler

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I have what is probably a stupid question.

How does bustitiution work? Where does the T get so many bus drivers on such short notice? Do they just call in drivers that have the day off? Do they have a pool of part time drivers or contractors they can call in? Or do they just pull drivers from active lines and short those lines a bit during the bustitution?
 
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HenryAlan

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Probably a combination of all three. I think they also use private operators at times, too.
 

johnmcboston

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How does bustitiution work? Where does the T get so many bus drivers on such short notice? Do they just call in drivers that have the day off? Do they have a pool of part time drivers or contractors they can call in? Or do they just pull drivers from active lines and short those lines a bit during the bustitution?
If it is an unexpected need, they do indeed steal from other bus lines. Depending on how long they may need to bus, then extending to the other options you mentioned. Planned bustitutions are much better planned.

Much as we complain about breakdowns, they don't have a pool of drivers and buses sitting around waiting to bustitute. :) While they can call in drivers when bustitution goes longer term, but they would soon run out of buses.
 

jass

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MBTA does a much better job than other agencies with bustitution.

NYC MTA never bustitutes for service issues and only rarely does so for pre-planned shutdowns.

NJ Transit has never heard the word bustitute.

WMATA tries, but doesn't do as well.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Anyone know what they're actually doing at Haymarket this weekend? Usually they're pretty braggy on social media showing what's going on in weekend closures but it's been complete silence so far.
 

KentXie

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Terrible distribution of Green Line trains at Park St., running 1 E line and 2 Straight D line trains down the B line side, and having the 2nd D line train sit to give more of a headway to the 1st D line train results in a shouting match between two passengers over 1 seat which ends up with one of them saying something to the effect of "Go back to where you came from". I never understood why the T runs 2 D line trains in a row while the B line train sits on the inbound side of Park St. Bad management or bad management?

Edit: Train runs express. Inefficient T strikes again.
 
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stefal

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Anyone know what they're actually doing at Haymarket this weekend? Usually they're pretty braggy on social media showing what's going on in weekend closures but it's been complete silence so far.
They did eventually post what the improvements were - new tiles, paint, lighting, and signage. Overall, definitely an upgrade over what was there, but you wouldn't be able to tell based on the replies. I'm not sure how well this PR-tweeting is working anymore. Some people just can't take anything for granted. Bless those that man the MBTA twitter.
 

George_Apley

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Not sure how people expect "state of good repair" to improve. It's going to be inconvenient. It's going to take a long time. It's absolutely the MBTA and the Commonwealth's fault it's gotten this bad. But ffs don't deny that it's better than it was before.
 

HelloBostonHi

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They did eventually post what the improvements were - new tiles, paint, lighting, and signage. Overall, definitely an upgrade over what was there, but you wouldn't be able to tell based on the replies. I'm not sure how well this PR-tweeting is working anymore. Some people just can't take anything for granted. Bless those that man the MBTA twitter.
Honestly don't understand, all the Twitter replies are "lipstick on a pig" or "tear it down and start again" but imo actually this kind of work is exactly what the T needs. Haymarket is an accessible and functional station, but damn does it look a mess. It was the first MBTA station I went in in my life and I remember going "huh so this is what I have to live with now yikes". Also people who are like "stop bragging about basic maintenance work" are the exact same people who complain about the lack of basic maintenance work, I personally like to see the progress images just to know something is happening
 

stefal

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I think the one that annoys me the most is the "Looks like you just painted the tunnel walls black. I could have done that for a lot less than $8b." Recently there have been several twitter accounts (this one included) created to heckle the MBTA twitter nearly 24/7 about every issue, major or minor, and exaggerate some of them to great extents, sometimes to the point where its just spreading false information.

I think what needs to be done is the MBTA needs to revamp its projects web page to be extremely clear on what's happening and how the riders will be affected, service wise. Everything from behind the scenes projects to projects similar to the Haymarket. I've lost count of the amount of times I have seen "great, now fix the singals system that cripples the red/orange line" when the T tweets out something about the new Orange Line cars, when there is in fact an entire signal system overhaul planned and being contracted out. Maybe get something honest and clear posted in the Globe, Herald, etc, and as has been discussed before, solidify their marketing campaign/terms used.
 

whighlander

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I think the one that annoys me the most is the "Looks like you just painted the tunnel walls black. I could have done that for a lot less than $8b." Recently there have been several twitter accounts (this one included) created to heckle the MBTA twitter nearly 24/7 about every issue, major or minor, and exaggerate some of them to great extents, sometimes to the point where its just spreading false information.

I think what needs to be done is the MBTA needs to revamp its projects web page to be extremely clear on what's happening and how the riders will be affected, service wise. Everything from behind the scenes projects to projects similar to the Haymarket. I've lost count of the amount of times I have seen "great, now fix the singals system that cripples the red/orange line" when the T tweets out something about the new Orange Line cars, when there is in fact an entire signal system overhaul planned and being contracted out. Maybe get something honest and clear posted in the Globe, Herald, etc, and as has been discussed before, solidify their marketing campaign/terms used.
T needs to get some students interested in monitoring and 'promoting" what is going on
When I was an undergrad at MIT in the early 70's I was doing some of that -- I got to meet with T people about plans and progress, few rides on work underway [e.g. very early ride on Quincy Line when it opened]

In exchange for the access we published some stuff as Student News and Features -- as official student MIT publications [paper of course]

Today -- it would be much easier with digital photos and social media --- could be a weekly student run [T monitored Blog on the T engineering and construction and re-construction, etc]

If I was the T -- I'd cultivate some students at a couple of U's during the school terms to do the Blog and then perhaps hire one or two in the Summer as interns to do some through documentation [e.g. construction of the GLX and its early operations] and presentation on web or social media -- good for the students careers and even better for the T as an impartial, connected source of a good story to tell
 

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