Now that the weather has changed, I've been taking a different route to work in the mornings. Instead of going to the bus stop right on the corner, it involves walking for several minutes through the neighborhood to get to a different bus route, then connecting in Medford Square to another bus that brings me to Davis Square, where I hop onto the Red Line for two stops.
It might not seem like a better option, but in daily practice it is much calmer and more civilized. I enjoy the walk in the morning air (the walking is the reason I didn't do this in the summer), and I don't have to fight my way onto an already-packed Orange Line train only to have to fight my way off again after only two stops. And while the first bus tends to get caught in some traffic, it's not nearly as bad as what I encountered almost every day taking the 86. Some mornings I ride to Medford Square with the Mrs., who stops there for coffee on days when she's going to one of her two office locations.
The second bus runs through Davis and on to Harvard, but it tends to get bogged down on the stretch of Mass. Ave. between Porter and Harvard. The T has acknowledged this by having buses on this route alternate during the morning rush between running all the way to Harvard and going only as far as Davis. The buses are clearly marked; they say "DAVIS SQ" instead of "HARVARD VIA DAVIS" and they are indicated on the route's schedule.
But of course, people don't pay attention. This morning I boarded the bus and sat down. A couple of people got on behind me, then a woman got on and asked the driver a question about getting to a specific destination. He told her the bus was going only as far as Davis. Another woman sitting near the front jumped up and said, in a minor panic, "Wait, what?" He explained again that the bus did not go to Harvard Square, but connected with the Red Line at Davis. Her face cycled through a couple of expressions before she decided this was acceptable, said "Okay, whatever," to no one in particular, and sat down again.