Archive for the 'Boston' Category

The World’s Most Expensive Text Message

Monday, May 11th, 2009

One of the cars involved in Friday’s Green Line trolley crash was totalled, making the carman (conductor’s) text message the world’s most expensive one.


Monday, December 15th, 2008

Only slightly daunted by last month’s epic fail, I returned to the MBTA web site today to buy my usual Outer Express FrankenCharlieTicketPass. I went to the usual spot, Fares & Passes | Bus | Big Green Buy Now Button, and once again the web site refused to sell me a pass, informing me, with a page that looked like it came from the old web site, that I couldn’t order more than four T passes at a time.

Do I look like I’m made out of money? I certainly wouldn’t try to buy $600 worth of January bus passes even if I could find the box for typing the exact number of extra, non-transferable, pricier-than-gas-now bus passes I needed. Once again I tried every browser on my computer at work, even the dreaded Internet Explorer, and they all did the same thing. No pass for me!

I did not write customer service this time, since it evidently did no good last time. Instead, I tried clicking around the web site, in search of a Buy Now button that might work better than the obvious one. And in fact, the tiny little Buy Online link actually led me to a working pass-shopping page, and I got my pass.

I guess someone else wrote customer service, because as of tonight the big green Buy Now button on the Fares & Passes page now leads, not directly to a page where you can buy the thing you clicked on, but instead to the main Buy Online page, where you have to navigate once again to the pass you want.

I suppose a malfunctioning web page isn’t very surprising for an organization that’s so insolvent they’re taking out loans to meet payroll, but the annoying thing is that the website used to work perfectly—well, except for some very poor English and the year it spent not sending out promised email notifications of purchases… Perfectly, let us say, by MBTA standards: eventually, if you waited long enough, you got a pass.

Chillin’ on the D Line

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

I had the exciting experience of waiting half an hour for a D train yesterday morning, with the single-digit windchill and temperatures somewhere south of 20 degrees. Apparently a train froze out past Reservoir, so it took the half hour to turn enough trains around at Reservoir to pick up half an hour worth of frozen commuters and move them downtown.

On the bright side, we were so late that I even missed the emergency back-up bus to Adjacent ‘Burb, so I didn’t have to walk across Adjacent ‘Burb in the single-digit windchill to get to work. Instead I caught the 10:15am express bus to ‘Burb.

There’s nothing like the MBTA in the wintertime…

Another Rear-Ending on the Green Line

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Somehow I avoided yet another rear-ending on the Green Line at Boylston yesterday, not to mention the one there a year ago and the fatal one in Newton. I guess I did my time in the rear-ending I didn’t avoid at Arlington way back when.

Endless Septembers

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Bill at Switchback explains how September starts early on the T.

It’s not clear whether the real Endless September is still going on, or whether the internet has reached an equilibrium of newbie stupidity vs. BOFQ mortality. My guess would be that the net is just so big now it’s impossible to take an average, know a subculture, and write the manifesto.

When Lightning Strikes

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Although it seems like just my kind of T accident, I wasn’t on the B line last week when lightning struck it.


Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Thanks to Universal Hub for covering the squishing beat so I don’t have to. They inform me that today’s squishing was brought to you by the Needham line. Two pedestrians were walking on the tracks and one only is escaped alone to tell us what the frak they were doing walking on train tracks.

Lest anyone forget, in the eternal battle of man against train, the train wins.

Still Not Squished

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Rare is the Green Line collision in which I am not somehow involved, but I managed to miss the fatal rear-ending on the D line today. There’s not much left of those trains, and considering how they just roasted a B train two weeks ago, it looks like the MBTA is going to have to send away to Breda for more rolling stock soon.

[Update:] The visiting Feds Eye Possible Cell Phone Use In MBTA Crash. They’re also eyeing some Smoking Cell Phones. Cell phone use was my favorite theory, though I also considered the rumors of recent signal problems on the D line. As I noted back when I got rear-ended on the Green line, rear-ending is always the rear-ender’s fault, even underground in the dark, never mind aboveground in broad daylight on a half-mile of straightaway while allegedly using a cell phone.

Also, Switchback has before-and-after pictures of car 3667, which looks like a Kinki Sharyo (Type 7). (CharlieBlog confirms that 3667 was a Type 7 I, and that the rear-ended car, 3703, was a newer Type 7 II, also totalled–with pictures.) I’m impressed that NETransit already lists both cars as wrecked.

Imagine if any of the cars had been a cheap, more squishable, more derailable Breda…

Late-Breaking News from the City that Sleeps

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I figured I’d be like the Boston media and report the flaming B train as late as possible. The train jumped the tracks and knocked down some power lines on the last outbound run Tuesday night (technically, very early Wednesday morning).

Service on my lines was unaffected, but rumor has it that the E-line was disrupted, probably because there was no way to get trains from the trainyards around Cleveland Circle onto the B-line, and whatever trains were running from downtown to Washington Street Wednesday morning had to have come from somewhere.

In other late-breaking news, the Giant G3 Cube on Boylston opened tonight. I was thinking of going, but I chose dinner instead.

Saved from the Wrath of the Red Line

Friday, April 4th, 2008

I spotted this feel-good non-squishing T story at Universal Hub: an MBTA employee saved a man from the all-squishing Red Line by stopping the trains and helping to retrieve him from the tracks. According to a BostonNOW blogger, one of the rescuers barely missed the third rail.