Main menu:


Subscribe by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner



Site search

Red Line Expectations

Yesterday morning I woke up, rolled out of bed, and checked the news. was reporting a disabled train on the Longfellow Bridge, and lots of busing.

Today the Globe has a story about the summer of discontent on the Red Line. Key quote from Lydia Rivera, a T spokeswoman: “People that choose to take the system do realize that with public transportation, you are going to encounter delays.”

What?! She thinks I should expect delays? She thinks it’s normal that public transportation is unpredictable? What a load of crap!

There are plenty of public transportation systems out there that run consistently on time. Munich and Tokyo come to mind, and I wager there are other examples closer to home.

I think that quote speaks volumes about the attitude of MBTA management and employees. They expect to suck. When they do suck, they’re just meeting expectations.

I don’t know what it takes to turn that around, but until the MBTA expects better of itself, we’re stuck with “expecting delays.”


Comment from Gi
Time: July 16, 2008, 3:37 pm

I noticed you didn’t mention a U.S. system as being reliable. That’s because the T is not alone in this country. In fact, I’ve been on systems in this country far worse.

Comment from dunster
Time: July 16, 2008, 7:55 pm

I guess I didn’t get my point across clearly. I’m not trying to make a point about in US or not, or whether there are systems worse than the T or not. I’m trying to say that:

1) It is possible to do better.
2) Until the T believes that it can do better, it will not.
3) And shame on the T for not aiming higher.

Comment from charlie
Time: July 17, 2008, 9:21 am

Never had a huge problem with the NYC subway, although I’ve never commuted on it.

Last summer the red line was broken during rush hour 5 days strait. I’m sure it be hard to find another that has these records.

Comment from Wayne Pitcher
Time: July 17, 2008, 6:55 pm

BART in the San Francisco Bay Area has been very reliable/predictable in my somewhat limited experience with it. Of course, it is more analogous to the commuter rail in that it covers a larger distance and the stops are farther apart than the Red Line.
BART stations have digital signs that tell you the ETAs for various trains. These ETAs have always been accurate when I have traveled BART. Other BART riders may have had different experiences, but it is head-and-shoulders above the T (it’s quiter and cleaner too).

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » MBTA Screws Up (Repeatedly)
Time: August 12, 2008, 10:28 pm

[…] Maybe they thought that the injunction wouldn’t get any attention.  It’s possible, I guess.  But is the MBTA’s PR department that clueless?  That’s a reach, even for Lydia Rivera. […]