The Patriots Day Curse and Gratitude

First, if you came here from my guest post at Boston to a T doing a rundown of the MBTA to WMATA in celebration of the Bruins/Caps series, I should thank you. I’ll be doing more stuff there in the future but I should come clean as to the lack of content here lately.

Since around Leap Year Day (coinciding with my starting a new job), I’ve entered a big T rut – or would that be a ru(T) – in which most of my ridership has mostly been the same route: East Saugus to Sullivan via Haymarket, via bus in the morning, via Orange Line heading home. Rare cases like my having to take the 109 into work have been rare breaths of fresh air to a very stale commute, the sameness only being broken up by if a 92 or 93 came first or if that 93 went through the Navy Yard or not.

When I found out that I would be working on Patriots Day, finding an alternate commute via transit was interesting but I settled on a 426W to Blue to Orange commute in and a 109 to 426W commute on the way home. The fact the MBTA runs buses on a Saturday schedule on a heavy travel day turned out to be a curse of sorts as the inbound 426W – handling what usually is 3.5 buses of ridership – was packed at 7:15 AM. At that point, I wondered “can’t some sort of modified schedule which reflects reality be published” as I got one of the few remaining seats. On the other hand, the rail portion which did run at normal headways worked like charm and I made it to my desk at my usual time.

The ride home, on the other hand, was a major mess from people heading back from the marathon. The 109 was packed by its second stop and made just about every stop on its route. When it got to Linden Square, I literally ran off the bus in the hopes that the 426W was right down the street. Opening up Boston Bus App, I find that a) that bus was actually a 411 and b) the 426W I was looking for was “delayed 8 minutes”. 8 minutes later, said bus was still delayed 8 minutes. And so on. The bus was scheduled to arrive at 5:17 but didn’t arrive until 5:45 and even then was packed to the gills.

I know I’m a newbie to Massachusetts and this was my first Patriots Day. I know that buses run on a Saturday schedule because it’s a state holiday and the logistics of running a weekday schedule would kill buses along the Marathon route. However, between traffic and poor headways couldn’t things be a bit better in the suburbs where Saturday schedules won’t do for heavy ridership? If it wasn’t for the 426/439 I took today that had two buses full of riders, yesterday was the most packed I ever saw a 426.

My commute may have gotten stale, but after yesterday I feel a lot more grateful for it being the well-oiled machine it is!

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