What Happened to MBTA?

When I lived in Boston, the MBTA, including the trains (the “T”) was pretty good. Not perfect, but it worked well, especially in comparison to D.C.’s Metro, which, shortly after I returned, had years of ‘Back to Good’ repairs that made it much worse than the T. But now it seems, it’s the T’s turn (boldface mine):

If you were riding the Red Line head to toe on May 16, 2022 — from Alewife to Braintree — it would have taken you under 54 minutes, on average.

By October 16, 2023 — 17 months later — that same commute would have taken you close to 80 minutes.

But if 25 extra minutes tacked onto your commute seems stressful, it gets worse. In May 2022, the average wait on the platform was just under 6 minutes. By October 2023, it had surged to 11-and-a-half minutes.

No one who rides the MBTA these days would be surprised by these numbers. But remember: This is the Red Line, which runs through the heart of Boston’s innovative core. And after the T announced a year of rolling shutdowns on Thursday, things seem certain to get worse before they get better…

Biotech workers, she noted, “are not like other white-collar workers. Those of us in lab-facing roles are required to work in person every weekday and often on weekends. I don’t have the luxury of Zooming in to meetings on a Friday.”

Hernandez points out that the Red Line was never great for her, but its deterioration has proved untenable. “I bought my house in Woburn under the assumption that … buses would connect me to a rapid rapid transit system. I accepted my current position imagining I would be a strap hanger again, not begging my husband for a ride at least once a week because I got stranded.”

Having suffered through Metro’s Period of Repair (and having lived in Boston when the T functioned), this is the part that floored me:

Cooley, the clinical researcher, said Thursday that she’d like to move out of Greater Boston “because the T is getting worse.” She noted that every Red Line train she was on this week was delayed, due to “a broken train or broken signals.”

She’s thinking of heading to Washington, DC, which has a Metro she loves.

It must be really bad now…

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2 Responses to What Happened to MBTA?

  1. Yeah, the Baker years were NOT kind to the MBTA. I don’t know if that’s causative, because it was already kinda going to shit under Patrick, but it definitely blew all the way up under Baker.

  2. Banji Lawal says:

    I started following you a few months before you moved to DC. I really like all your posts about DC and Boston. I used to visit DC fairly often. One day I hope to settle there. I remember my last times on the Boston RedLine 13 years ago it was bad then.

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