21 May 2007

Monday Morning MBTA Blues

It was bad enough that I started the morning commute by missing my usual bus (which I think is coming earlier, because I'm leaving the house at the same time) and had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. When I made it to the Orange Line, the train went one stop, then the doors started closing and reopening repeatedly. Eventually we started moving again, but I could tell it wasn't going to end well.

Sure enough, when we got to State, two of the three sets of doors on the station side of the car didn't open at all, and the third opened and closed again immediately. It wasn't even open long enough for anyone to start moving, so luckily no one got caught in it. But the people who were trying to get off the train started banging on the windows and yelling, as though some sort of poison gas had just been released into the car. I mean, sure, I'd be upset too; we've all had trains and buses miss our desired stop for some reason. But it just seemed like a slight overreaction.

The train went one more stop to Downtown Crossing, and naturally the doors on the other side of the car didn't open either. The train sat there for a couple of minutes, as passengers started muttering to themselves or each other about the havoc wreaked on their commutes by the T on a regular basis. Then the door at the back of the car opened and a conductor came through. She did something to override the system and the rearmost door opened. The people who wanted that stop, and those who had been unable to get out at the previous one, exited the train. We sat for another minute or two, and then came the inevitable announcement: "All passengers please exit this train. This train is coming out of service." Somehow they managed to get all the doors to open, but only to let everyone out more easily.

As we all stood on the platform, we were assured that the next train was just back at State and would be arriving momentarily. This of course was a lie (as it is every time T personnel claim that there is another train "directly behind"), but it was only a small lie, as the train did arrive about five minutes later. But it was still rush hour, so as you'd expect, that train was already pretty full, and there was no way it was going to be able to absorb the contents of another train. I opted not to try to squish in with everyone else, and stayed on the platform.

Once again we were told there was a train at State that would be arriving right away. Once again it was a lie. This time the wait was closer to ten minutes. I thought to myself, could they be having problems with another train? Then I saw the lights in the tunnel. The train approached, and as it came into the station, I saw that the first car was dark, which meant no passengers were in that car. Yes, there had indeed been trouble with another train, and they were only two trains apart. What fun.

But there was enough room on that train for everyone, and I did eventually make it to work. It took about 30 minutes longer than usual, not counting the extra time due to the missed bus. If I do include that, then it took me two hours to get to work today. Let's see how the ride home goes...

UPDATE Tuesday 5/22: This turned out to be a slightly bigger deal than I thought. It actually made the Globe today. And I guess those doors were open a little longer than I'd realized (admittedly, I was reading the paper at the time), because a guy got his arm stuck between the doors. He was able to pull it back in, but lost his briefcase in the process. Nice. I wonder if he can file any sort of claim with the T?

UPDATE Wednesday 5/23: For those of you who may be arriving at this story from the link on Universal Hub, I want to be clear that I was in no way making fun of the man whose arm was caught in the train doors. I admittedly was not paying full attention to what was going on, since this sort of thing is unfortunately a not-that-infrequent occurrence on the T, so I didn't realize the full extent of what was happening. I'm very relieved to hear that he is okay, and that he was reunited with his briefcase due to the unselfish action of a fellow passenger. But the T still screwed up big time.

1 comment:

oddjob60 said...

A very similar thing happened this morning at Charles/MGH, when doors closed before everyone had even finished getting off! See my post at Charlieblog