A Case of Line Bias

The last two months have been pure heck because of the home stretch of grad school. With papers and projects eating up my time, I haven’t had much time to ride new routes or visit new stations. But after what happened yesterday, I feel compelled to post.

For an early birthday present, my wife got me tickets to yesterday’s Sox/Yankees game in which the Sox won for the first time in my six visits there. Usually from my front door to Fenway on the weekend takes about 50-60 minutes if driving to a station (Wonderland or Wellington). Here’s what happened:

2:10pm: Leave home to drive to Wonderland, about a 10 minute or so trip.
2:20pm: Arrive at Wonderland to see that my grad school-fried brain somehow didn’t check the weekend advisories to see that the Blue Line was being bustituted north of Airport this weekend. Options are to take said shuttle bus or drive to Wellington.
2:25pm: We choose the latter and run into traffic on Route 16.
2:45pm: Arrive Wellington. By the time we get to the platform, a train is approaching.
3:00pm: Arrive North Station to catch a C across the platform. A small crowd already formed.
3:10pm: Upstairs four trains went through but only one comes downstairs to head outbound, that being an E.
3:15pm: A C finally shows up. 2 Type 8’s, the lead car having total door failure. A crowd that could’ve easily have had standee loads in a 3-car train rams into one car as they try to find the problem.
3:23pm (or so): C finally leaves North Station after uncoupling the problematic front car.
3:45pm: Get off at Kenmore and deal with the pregame swarm of fans.
4:00pm: Finally get into Fenway after enduring a bag line and wondering how Stop Handgun Violence can call certain people out without violating libel laws. Miss the top of the first because we were starving/thirsty but we did get to boo A-Rod. Hard.

Thankfully it was a good game and the trip home took an hour and change from ballpak seat to car seat even considering the Kenmore Krush. However, it shows there is line bias very much alive at the MBTA.

While the Blue Line was bustituted, the Red Line’s shuttle for the Longfellow Bridge work was postponed for the weekend. I know Camberville/the northwest suburbs/the Route 2/3 corriors lack the stigma some have on Revere/the North Shore/the Route 1(A) corridors but it’s the same weekend with the same pair of baseball games and the same UFC event at the Garden. Why should one line be exempt but another shouldn’t?

At the same time, for a line that is supposed to have weekend headways of 10 minutes, the C’s failure to show for as long as it did was unacceptable. I could find no clue of there being some sort of delays or congestion heading towards North Station so everyone was in the dark especially as trains came in regularly upstairs. I know money is a concern but how hard could it be to run a few ballpark specials from Lechmere to Kenmore or even fully out to Cleveland Circle before Sox games? As for the problematic car, I hope this was an isolated incident though it came at the worst possible time.

Yesterday was a day in which the MBTA looked like WMATA. You’re too good to be like WMATA, T.


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