The MBTA has botched its latest round of service interruptions, inconveniencing riders so that the Government Center Garage demolition can proceed for the benefit of wealthy private interests.
It normally takes me about 50 minutes, door to door, to commute to Northeastern. I’m a short walk from the West Medford commuter rail station. After a 12-minute ride to North Station, I can choose the Orange or the Green Line. Starting this past Monday, though, Green Line service has been halted between North Station and Government Station.
I generally commute to campus three days a week. On Tuesday, hordes of people tried to cram onto overpacked Orange Line cars, which were running every 10 minutes around 8 a.m. — clearly not frequently enough to accommodate the riders. I made it onto the second one. Today was a nice day, so I decided to walk from North Station to Government Center, only to be confronted with more hordes and no sign that an E Line train to Northeastern was coming any time soon. I ended up walking nearly three and a half miles to campus. I can’t complain too much — it was beautiful. But it’s not how I wanted to spend a busy weekday morning.
The time suck was pretty severe — an hour and 20 minutes door to door on Tuesday and an hour and 45 minutes today.
Fortunately my commute home hasn’t been affected, since getting onto the Orange Line at Ruggles isn’t an issue. I’m also assuming (hoping?) that Friday won’t be too bad because, for many people, Thursday is the new Friday.
But how much pain does the T expect commuters to endure? I can ride my bike to Northeastern in about 40 minutes, and I’ll probably do it a few times before this ends, supposedly on Oct. 12. Other people will start driving, which isn’t good for the city or the environment.
I love the T. I spent 29 years driving from the North Shore to Boston, and moving closer to the city — and closer to public transportation — has transformed my life. And it works well most of the time. But the deterioration of the service in recent years has been pretty horrendous, and it has been a major contributor to increases in private vehicle traffic. The last governor who really seemed to care about the T was Michael Dukakis. I’m hoping that will the case with Maura Healey as well. We all have great hopes for the newish general manager and CEO, Phil Eng. But we need to see some improvements — soon.