Thursday, September 11, 2014

Can the T make the Assembly Orange Line Station viable?

Photo: Our new $30 million dollar subway station

The new Assembly Square station, located between Wellington station (in Medford) and Sullivan Square station (in Charlestown), cost $29.2 million and is one of six new stations planned for Somerville in the next decade, the MBTA reports.

But as of September 11th the T has made no announcement about having any bus service to the new station.

However both the 90 - Davis Square - Wellington Station via Sullivan Square Station & Assembly Mall and 92 - Assembly Sq. Mall - Downtown via Sullivan Sq. Sta., Main St. & Haymarket Sta.service the adjacent mall. 

This would only take a minor adjustment on the 2 routes but the T doesn't change bus routes easily. For example the 99 - Boston Regional Medical Center- Wellington Station via Main St. & Malden Center Station  terminates at a hospital that CLOSED 15 years ago. 

The T could also easily extend the 86, 91 and CT1 to Assembly.

This is a no-brainer.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Yes Virginia - The A Line DID exist

I would say this paicture is circa 1965 - The Pru is completed by the CITGO sign is still with the old brand name. The A WATERTOWN line was suspended in 1969...

Type rest of the post here

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WOOHOO - NEXTBUS has added new routes

GREAT NEWS - The T has added more routes to the Next Bus system. Routes now available are #1,#4,#15,#22,#23,#28,#32,#39,#57,#66,#71,#73,#77,#111,#114,#116 and #117 I tested it on the #66 and it is working perfectly on my cellphone.



Hopefully we will soon see this in the subway on the signs at each station.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Can't anybody build a new subway car anymore?

Can't anyone build a new subway car anymore? As we have seen with the new Blue Line cars in Boston it seems that nobody really knows how to build a new subway car.

Chicago has new cars on order and the reviews are not good.,0,5331068,full.column

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some T stations to be unstaffed at night?

A customer service agent told me that some T stations, including Davis and the outbound side of Central Square, will be unstaffed every night starting this Saturday. She wasn't sure whether the last station agent would leave at 7 pm or 10 pm.

Needless to say, she doesn't think this is a good idea, and neither do I. Anyone know more?

Friday, March 16, 2007

saying goodbye to the Boeing Green Line cars

(Globe Photo / Jodi Hilton)
Now, after years of being cannibalized for spare parts, the Boeings -- which first hit the rails on Dec. 29, 1976 -- are making just one trip a day on the D branch of the Green Line. Only two are used on any given day.

"If we get one good trip out of it, we feel good," said Peter Messina, chief inspector at Riverside. "It's like having an old person around, you know? They can only walk so much. They can only go so far. I came on the job before they were here, and they're going to retire before me."

The last trips were scheduled for today, but snow could cancel them.

Most of the remaining trolleys will be disassembled by backhoe for scrap metal. One car may go to a trolley museum in Maine, and about six could find new life scraping slush off overhead trolley lines.
originally written in January

There are only a few left in service and as Breda finally delivers the last cars in an order than has been a saga in itself for over 9 years, the infamous Boeing cars will soon be retired. The Green Line cars numbered in the 34-3500's were supposed to be the future when they were introduced in late 1976. They were the first new streetcars bought by the T since 1951 and they were a disaster. But in this case the T wasn't at fault.

The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation decided that the MBTA and the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) should work together in producing a new generation of streetcar. What wound up happening was that both the T and MUNI were forced to accept things they didn't want in the new cars so it would be able to run on both systems. The contract was put out to bid and was awarded to a helicopter manufacturer Boeing-Vertol and the order would be for 250 cars (150 for Boston). The one major difference in the order was that Boston would have air conditioning something not needed in San Francisco.

In Boston there were problems with derailments, power failures and doors (which had over 1300 parts) closing unexpectedly on passengers. In San Francisco they found that only 2 of the 3 doors could function in the Market Street Subway. The T sued Boeing-Vertol for the repairs and won $34 million dollars in damages.and Boeing in turn was able to convince San Francisco to buy 40 of the cars that the T no longer wanted. The T tested a Canadian made LRV for 3 months in 1980 but in the end decided to build their next cars from scratch. Eventually the new design would become the
Type 7 cars manufactured by Kinki-Sharyo of Japan (numbered in the 36-3700's) starting in 1986 and for the most part the T only ran the remaining Boeing cars during rush hour. The Kinki cars proved to be very reliable and the T bought 20 more 10 years later. San Francisco decided to replace their Boeings with cars manufactured by an Italian company named Breda. Boston then decided that instead of ordering the new Type 8 cars 10 years ago from Kinki-Sharyo that they as well would use Breda which has proven to be a disaster equal to the Boeings. The Breda cars were supposed to be fully delivered in 1998 but the T will take final delivery sometime in 2007 on the remaining cars.

Still there is a certain nostalgia concerning the Boeing cars though they will never be as beloved as the old PCC cars they replaced. They were a part of Boston for 30 years but it is time to say goodbye to them. Those interested can read more on the MBTA's problems with streetcars in an article written some 9 years ago by Scott Moore. The last words in the article proved to be incorrect and we the riders continue to suffer.

The new cars are expected to arrive sometime in 1997 or 1998. With the MBTA planning on keeping the LRVs until 1999, it is possible that the system has learned from the mistakes of the past, and will be much more careful when purchasing rail-cars in the future.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Charlie's Mailbag - March 15th

trying to catch up on the mail at

Stephanie writes about Charlie refunds

In November, I bought a Charlie Ticket for use on the Green line so I would not have to use tokens. Unfortunately, no one had told me that tickets were not accepted on the green line. By advise of a T agent, I sent a charlie ticket in for a refund in November so that I could buy tokens. After numerous calls (and rude responses including "too bad, people who sent their tickets in June are still waiting for refunds"), I reached the "proper" person. Someone named Barbara? She said that tickets were non-refundable and that T agents were making things up by telling people that they could get refunds. After that, it was announced that Charlie Cards were soon to be released. I found out that Charlie tickets could be changed into Charlie cards. After numerous tries, I reached her again and requested by Charlie Ticket back so I could turn it into a Charlie Card. She told me to call her back on January 31 if I still had not received my charlie ticket. I also tried the MBTA "write to the top". After an apology letter for not returning my email for several months, I get a response saying that my email has been forwarded. Since then, I have not heard anything from the "write to the top" and I have not been able to reach Barbara. She never returns phone calls and she never picks up. Sometimes her answering machine is completely full. It is now March 14 and still nothing. I was wondering if anyone might be able to give me the contact information of someone who might be able to help me get my refund or my charlie ticket back. It seems that other people on the website are more successful than I am at getting refunds. I am owed $16.25.

Since this fiasco started the T has opened a new Customer Service Department so you might want to contact them and see if they can figure out what is going on. I know the T watches the blog so maybe that will help as well. Let us know what happens

Paul writes

tried to search for these answers on your site, as an FYI.

I was wondering if anyone has posted in regards to the new CHARLIE gates not opening very well or quickly when people come up to them.


has anyone ever commented on the escalator etiquette (stand on the right, unless you are passing) and how the MBTA subways cars could actually fit more people on them, if passengers removed their bags and backpacks from their backs/shoulders?

The slow faregates have been mentioned several times. There doesn't seem to be a uniform standard on how they open.

Your other points are common sense which sadly is lost on many riders.

Mike wants to pass on a link

Saw your recent posts about SF, Chicago, and Boston… and thought I would send this link along.

Think of it as mapquest for public transit.
Thanks Mike. I am sure many will find it useful.

and David has some concerns about the blog

I like your Charlie on the MBTA blog, but lately the entire tone has just become nothing but complaints. When I first started reading it I was compelled by the fact that it wasn't just the classic Boston/MBTA blog where people write in and relentlessly complain about their commutes, etc. If people are so fired up about issues that they think should be fixed on the T they should write the T and if that doesn't work, their elected representatives, the governor, etc. Get results oriented, or quit complaining.

I liked your piece on the trolley cars you saw in San Fran, and some of the other pieces you have done on the history of the T, how the T runs, etc. Those tend to get responses from people who want to discuss transit, rather than just complain. I know a blog is just somewhere people can post their opinions, but maybe there is something that can be done to set the tone. Alternatively, if the blog is designed to solicit opinions for public action, perhaps you could incorporate an element to actually facilitate that happening, such as on-line petitions, that could actually be conveyed to a public official. Again, I like your blog and appreciate the hard work you put into it. I just hope it does not deteriorate into a message board of complaints that no one follows up on.
Thanks David for the note.

Obviously people tend to write more when something goes wrong but we have encouraged people to tell GOOD T stories as well.

I hope as we evolve that some of your ideas will start to happen. One reason I have been reporting on other cities is to show the MBTA is not alone with problems but perhaps they can learn from how other cities cope with moving people around.