General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Lrfox

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
2,646
Reaction score
181
An entry for the minor grievance department:

I commute from Davis and have noticed an annoying trend with the "next train" signs over the past month or so. Recently, as one train is boarding or just pulling out, the "next" train will say 2 minutes away (which I assume is where the countdown starts when a train is released from Alewife). It'll stay that way for a few minutes, then revert back to "Stopped 1 stop away." This morning, I was coming down the stairs at 7:58 as one train was pulling out. The next train was "2 minutes away" according to the sign. It stayed that way until 8:01, then switched to "Stopped one stop away." It pulled into at Davis at 8:05. This isn't a one off, it's the norm now. It wasn't the case when they started the "stopped XX stops away" signage.

Cue the groans, but I often commute in with my girlfriend, and in recent months (with the delays/crowding after the derailment) we'll occasionally jump on the Alewife bound train and switch to an inbound train there if the platform is crowded at Davis. It ensures we get a seat together and we end up one train behind at worse (often catch the next train anyway). So we would have done that today if we knew it would actually be 7 minutes instead of 2. While I don't expect the T to take into account the very specific complaints and very unimportant wants of a single couple, I don't think it's crazy to want signs to be a bit more accurate than that. Now that I've wasted way too many keystrokes on the issue, I'll <>end rant<>
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
An entry for the minor grievance department:

I commute from Davis and have noticed an annoying trend with the "next train" signs over the past month or so. Recently, as one train is boarding or just pulling out, the "next" train will say 2 minutes away (which I assume is where the countdown starts when a train is released from Alewife). It'll stay that way for a few minutes, then revert back to "Stopped 1 stop away." This morning, I was coming down the stairs at 7:58 as one train was pulling out. The next train was "2 minutes away" according to the sign. It stayed that way until 8:01, then switched to "Stopped one stop away." It pulled into at Davis at 8:05. This isn't a one off, it's the norm now. It wasn't the case when they started the "stopped XX stops away" signage.

Cue the groans, but I often commute in with my girlfriend, and in recent months (with the delays/crowding after the derailment) we'll occasionally jump on the Alewife bound train and switch to an inbound train there if the platform is crowded at Davis. It ensures we get a seat together and we end up one train behind at worse (often catch the next train anyway). So we would have done that today if we knew it would actually be 7 minutes instead of 2. While I don't expect the T to take into account the very specific complaints and very unimportant wants of a single couple, I don't think it's crazy to want signs to be a bit more accurate than that. Now that I've wasted way too many keystrokes on the issue, I'll <>end rant<>
I noticed this same problem today at Charles Station. One train left as I arrived, the sign said the next train was also in "2 min" and it took several minutes to arrive. It's highly annoying and if they're going to employ this technology, they need to get it right.
 

Lrfox

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
2,646
Reaction score
181
I noticed this same problem today at Charles Station. One train left as I arrived, the sign said the next train was also in "2 min" and it took several minutes to arrive. It's highly annoying and if they're going to employ this technology, they need to get it right.
They do. I wonder if it's still that they're not 100% recovered from the debacle back in June. I thought work was supposed to be finished on that, but maybe not? For me, it's an annoyance and an inconvenience. For someone who has to make what should be an easy bus or commuter rail connection, the train that say's it's 2 minutes away when it's actually 7-10 minutes away can be the difference between making the connection or waiting 20 minutes to an hour + for the next one.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,155
Reaction score
332
I noticed this same problem today at Charles Station. One train left as I arrived, the sign said the next train was also in "2 min" and it took several minutes to arrive. It's highly annoying and if they're going to employ this technology, they need to get it right.
OK, parallel rant. Why the usage of "Stopped two (or whatever) stops away". Is the T actually telling us they don't have a schedule for dispatching that stopped train? Are they incapable of doing the basic math of 1) scheduled dispatch time is x minutes from now plus 2) normal travel time to given stop is y minutes, so 3) approximate next train is x + y minutes?

Did the entire MBTA flunk grade school math?
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,381
Reaction score
385
They do. I wonder if it's still that they're not 100% recovered from the debacle back in June. I thought work was supposed to be finished on that, but maybe not? For me, it's an annoyance and an inconvenience. For someone who has to make what should be an easy bus or commuter rail connection, the train that say's it's 2 minutes away when it's actually 7-10 minutes away can be the difference between making the connection or waiting 20 minutes to an hour + for the next one.
I don't think it's related to June, as I see this now and then on the Orange Line, too. In fact Michelle Wu tweeted about this the other day. I think it is caused by a train failing to communicate with the tracking system, so the system assumes it is still at the last reported station (2 minutes away).

 

RandomWalk

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
784
Reaction score
105
Winchester: the town that seems to be actively hostile to any reasonable amount of T service for such close proximity to Boston.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,771
Reaction score
221
Winchester: the town that seems to be actively hostile to any reasonable amount of T service for such close proximity to Boston.
Have they actually put road-blocks in the way, like Arlington did with the red line?

Or is it just a distance/formula thing?

Ive noticed that the random Turkey Hill bus route ends at the town line.

Winchester also has their own local bus service which Ive never actually seen. Its mythical.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,625
Reaction score
1,520
Winchester and Stoneham are both longstanding bus deserts that have never joined the 19th century. And the Medford side of Wedgemere were the most obnoxious GLX NIMBY's of all, even though the project goes nowhere near them. They packed 2 decades' worth of town meetings in opposition.

They've always liked the railroad, though, so they aren't as retrograde as, say, Dedham. They get angry at the suggestion that Wedgemere needs consolidation, even though they'd get much better transit if they did just that in exchange for more post-GLX revamp bus routes hitting Winch Ctr.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
I don't think it's related to June, as I see this now and then on the Orange Line, too. In fact Michelle Wu tweeted about this the other day. I think it is caused by a train failing to communicate with the tracking system, so the system assumes it is still at the last reported station (2 minutes away).

This actually happens at forest hills for buses, too. Incredibly frustrating. Often the sign will say such and such bus is 1min away, then you wait 5-10min.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,771
Reaction score
221
I was in Boston this weekend, and brought along 3 of my Charlie Cards.

One says expires 2022, the other two say 2023.

None of them worked. The machine said "your card is invalid, see customer service"

So I go to customer service (at North Station) and the lady says "I see you have $4 on here, but I can't do anything with it, you need to go to the charlie store" .

Why did MBTA pre-expire all my cards and hijack my cash? Did someone need to report some revenue early?
 

Nakedi

New member
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
15
Reaction score
18
I was in Boston this weekend, and brought along 3 of my Charlie Cards.

One says expires 2022, the other two say 2023.

None of them worked. The machine said "your card is invalid, see customer service"

So I go to customer service (at North Station) and the lady says "I see you have $4 on here, but I can't do anything with it, you need to go to the charlie store" .

Why did MBTA pre-expire all my cards and hijack my cash? Did someone need to report some revenue early?
I had a similar thing happen to me a few months ago-- I grabbed two or three Charlie Cards that I had lying around, tried to tap them at the fare machine and got the same thing. I went to an employee (I forget if it was an ambassador or another T employee), who told me that some Charlie Cards need to be held a few inches away from the pad-- that if you held it too close it wouldn't read the chip. The employee said it was mainly older cards that have this issue, though like yours, mine still had a few years before expiration. Sure enough, I held the card an inch or two off the pad and it worked.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,771
Reaction score
221
I had a similar thing happen to me a few months ago-- I grabbed two or three Charlie Cards that I had lying around, tried to tap them at the fare machine and got the same thing. I went to an employee (I forget if it was an ambassador or another T employee), who told me that some Charlie Cards need to be held a few inches away from the pad-- that if you held it too close it wouldn't read the chip. The employee said it was mainly older cards that have this issue, though like yours, mine still had a few years before expiration. Sure enough, I held the card an inch or two off the pad and it worked.
Huh, I guess Ill have to try that next time
 

Lrfox

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
2,646
Reaction score
181
Is it expected that Red Line trains will make contact with the platform at Charles/MGH? I see it quite frequently on the Northbound platform where the first car stops (all the way at the end). When trains are pulling out, they brush the platform and sparks fly. This morning, pulling in on a Southbound train (first car), I could here and feel more contact than normal. The train rocks noticeably, and the sound is sort of a scraping noise like skis on an ice patch.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,625
Reaction score
1,520
Is it expected that Red Line trains will make contact with the platform at Charles/MGH? I see it quite frequently on the Northbound platform where the first car stops (all the way at the end). When trains are pulling out, they brush the platform and sparks fly. This morning, pulling in on a Southbound train (first car), I could here and feel more contact than normal. The train rocks noticeably, and the sound is sort of a scraping noise like skis on an ice patch.
Charles would have higher incidence of platform contact than most other stations because of the curve abutting the northbound platform. Rocking from the rear cars still rounding the curve transfer their energy to the front cars, and more frequent scrapes result. It's only problematic when it happens all the damn time, in which case suspension wear across the fleet is probably starting to show itself and component renewal action is needed.

Southbound strikes should be rare because the Longfellow approach is straight and the first cars just haven't accelerated enough off a dead stop en route to Park by the curve to transfer much strike energy to the rear cars. I'd chalk it up to one-time fluke (which can happen anywhere) unless it starts becoming semi-recurring event...then something's up.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
807
Reaction score
735
The agenda for Monday's board meeting lists a vote on the vaguely named "Fare Transformation Update" which combined with the MBTA saying yesterday to expect an AFC 2.0 update at the next board meeting makes me hopeful that maybe finally we might have some action on AFC 2.0. Interestingly they've completely taken down the old AFC 2.0 website that explained the new system which isn't encouraging. Here's the old website: http://web.archive.org/web/20191127202512/https://afc2.mbta.com/

It now redirects to a standard vague MBTA projects page that talks about "Fare Transformation". Wonder if they've gotten past their differences with Cubic or ditched them entirely...
 

Lrfox

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
2,646
Reaction score
181
Charles would have higher incidence of platform contact than most other stations because of the curve abutting the northbound platform. Rocking from the rear cars still rounding the curve transfer their energy to the front cars, and more frequent scrapes result. It's only problematic when it happens all the damn time, in which case suspension wear across the fleet is probably starting to show itself and component renewal action is needed.

Southbound strikes should be rare because the Longfellow approach is straight and the first cars just haven't accelerated enough off a dead stop en route to Park by the curve to transfer much strike energy to the rear cars. I'd chalk it up to one-time fluke (which can happen anywhere) unless it starts becoming semi-recurring event...then something's up.
Thanks. I do a Davis-Park commute every morning and this is the first I've experienced it Southbound.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,771
Reaction score
221
The agenda for Monday's board meeting lists a vote on the vaguely named "Fare Transformation Update" which combined with the MBTA saying yesterday to expect an AFC 2.0 update at the next board meeting makes me hopeful that maybe finally we might have some action on AFC 2.0. Interestingly they've completely taken down the old AFC 2.0 website that explained the new system which isn't encouraging. Here's the old website: http://web.archive.org/web/20191127202512/https://afc2.mbta.com/

It now redirects to a standard vague MBTA projects page that talks about "Fare Transformation". Wonder if they've gotten past their differences with Cubic or ditched them entirely...
Shockingly, the NYC implementation is going slightly ahead of schedule.
 

Jahvon09

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
1,627
Reaction score
41
I think they should also rebuild Suffolk Downs Station on the Blue Line & put an elevator there on the outbound platform. It is rusting & falling apart. The decrepit ramp take too long to climb & get to the inboud side!:mad:
 
Last edited:

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
4,652
Reaction score
1,079

Translation: "Constant pressure from the public to complete more capital work for less money, combined with a penny-pinching Republican administration, has led to an unsafe transit system."

But of course the Globe is going to pretend that they had nothing to do with creating this culture and that this report is just another condemnation of the T. It's that, but it's also a condemnation of the Globe and the public.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,771
Reaction score
221

Translation: "Constant pressure from the public to complete more capital work for less money, combined with a penny-pinching Republican administration, has led to an unsafe transit system."

But of course the Globe is going to pretend that they had nothing to do with creating this culture and that this report is just another condemnation of the T. It's that, but it's also a condemnation of the Globe and the public.
Lets not pretend that 8 years of Deval resulted in anything food for the MBTA
 
  • Like
Reactions: FK4

Top