The usual delays caused by frozen tracks in the winter and the usual slowdowns on hot summer days are one thing. This is Boston. Things are old. Some things are slow to change. We have grown used to the chaos.
We complain. We grumble. Crowded subway cars, dirty cars, trains that aren't reliable are bothersome to say the least. The boss will understand if you're late again - maybe.
And none of us enjoys digging deeper into our pocket and paying more for a service, even if using that service costs less than driving into town and paying to park. Fare increases are a pain.
"Everyone just hang on, new trains should be in service in less than 8 years," one rider quipped on a Twitter post.
"Boy am I glad you’re taking even MORE money from my check in less than a year," wrote another. "Any chance that money might actually be used to make the rails safer and on time? Fix 'signals?'"
We continue to ride. We say despite the many troubles, none of these inconveniences are life-threatening.
On Tuesday, June 11, shortly after 6 a.m., an MBTA Red Line train derailed at the JFK/UMass station in Dorchester. The derailment was the the second in four days, and the fourth in 2019.
On June 8, around 11 a.m. a Green Line train derailed near Kenmore station in Boston. Eleven people, including the train operator, were injured in that accident. The MBTA has since suspended the driver, with the general manager noting without giving specifics that “at this point in time it does appear to be operator-related.”
So there were traffic delays on both occasions, as such accidents have a ripple effect, with the worst delay being on Tuesday since it was a workday. The MBTA sent out alerts and provided shuttle buses.
The good news is that no life-threatening injuries were reported, but as a rider, someone on one of the derailed trains at the time, such news does not provide comfort. The situation could have turned for the worse.
Think about it, there is a multi-ton train car rolling off the tracks; it could be slow, it could be fast. The car shakes, or slams with a powerful force as passengers - young, old, middle-aged, possibly babies and a person or two with a disability - fall, trip or worse get crushed by each other or the vehicle.
This didn't happen, but the frequency of derailments creates fear, a bit of hesitancy. It makes one wonder, "How safe is the T?"
Asked about spate of derailments, MBTA Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville told the Boston Herald this week, “Our system is safe … And this is a very serious matter that we’re taking seriously.”
It's a shame a world-class city like Boston doesn't have a world-class transit system to match. No throwing darts here. We know mistakes have been made in the past and we know funding is an issue. It's just that we're getting tired of the excuses; we want to know when will the MBTA get its act together?