Monday, May 11, 2009

Boston Perspective: Metro Could Be Worse

We poke our fingers in Metro's eye a lot here, but we are very happy it exists. We just wish it worked better.
Reader "Tom" gives some perspective that it could be worse, and we're not just talking about the on-the-fly signage.
I moved down here from Boston two years ago, and any time I am hatin' on Metro, I just look at these pictures for a good laugh!
Because Boston's system is so old, at some stations, if you happen to enter on the wrong side, you have to go outside, cross the street, and back down! If you've already paid, too bad!
You'd think they they would at LEAST have some attractive signage to tell you station information, but you'd be wrong. The poor staff at the Chinatown Station had to tape handwritten signs on the platform to let you know where to go to get on a certain train!
And if you want to know when the next train is coming, too bad! They won't tell you. You just have to wait.
Things like this remind me how good we have it here in DC.

More on signage here.
Tweets from around U.S. transit.

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brh said...

Amen! I don't know where I'd be without Metro(rail/bus)... Life with WMATA can be inconvenient, but life without WMATA would be even worse. If it wasn't so useful, we wouldn't care that it also kind of sucks.

Michael said...

With the exception of the real-time display boards, having one entrance for each direction isn't that uncommon. That's the way it is in London, Philadelphia, NYC and most cities in Europe I've been to. It's the cheaper way of building a subway station. Just dig a big trench and have stairs on both sides. There's no need to have a way inside the station to transfer from going outbound to inbound. That's what "outside" is for.

Typically, the trains follow the same traffic pattern as out on the street (drive on the right), so if you're coming from the South side of the street, you're going to go East.

The low-tech display boards I saw in Eastern Europe would be acceptable here. They just had a string of lights that corresponded to different numbers of minutes. As the trains got closer the lights would "move" closer to the mark that represented "this station". It was seriously low-tech but it worked.

Generally I prefer "low-tech but works" to anything that breaks easily. Printed flash passes are better than any sort of magnetic strip farecard, stairs are preferred to escalators (for the one or two flights of steps typical of old-school subway systems, not for Wheaton)

Anonymous said...

The thing I experienced with MBTA in Boston was that the service is hugely dependent on which line you're on. The trains aren't even interoperable between lines.

I really didn't mind Boston that much as it was no Metro, but it was also 2 dollars for unlimited distance on the train with pretty reliable service.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but other hilarious things about the "T" include the buckets to deposit your cash in while they were upgrading to the new gates (on the honor system, no less), walking across the green line tracks at downtown crossing (I swear I thought this was illegal the first time I saw someone do it), and the closing at midnight (okay, maybe not hilarious if you need it for something other than bar hopping).

Kara said...

LOL ... was that in the 80s? I used to go buy my 75 cent token and get it and a quarter. Run to the gate and drop the most heavy coinish thing in my hand. A free 50 cents.

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