Boston’s subway system provides roughly 600,000 or so rides per day to commuters who are still waiting on Joe Biden to rip it out and build it back better. Anything would be an improvement over the need to genuflect before chancing it in one of the city’s track-jumping death traps.
There have been cases of runaway trains barreling down tracks due to failed brakes. Engines have burst into flame, belching hot thick black smoke into the eyes and nostrils of commuters saying their final prayers.
Last month, a 43-year-old train engine with gazillions of miles exploded like a mega-ton bomb while crossing a bridge. Passengers were jumping out of windows, sending them freestyling down the tracks, while a few of the luckier ones splashed down in the Mystic River below.
Train schedules that should meet the demands of Boston’s heavy weekday workforce have cut back to weekend schedules as more and more of the antiquated trains grow ill beyond life support.
Mayor Michelle Wu, a Democrat who vowed to fix the ailing transit system, has yet to “Free the T,” as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is often referred to.
Because Wu’s proposed plans would gouge the city’s bankroll, dramatically cutting funds dedicated to other relevant projects, she’s met nothing but resistance.
“It’s enraging,” the mayor said. “Everything we’re doing trying to build more affordable housing, or empower our schools, bring jobs to Boston – it all relies on people being able to get around.”
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who’s built his entire legacy on the T becoming a model transportation system said the bridge fire was “a colossal failure,” and has urged the FTA to launch a full-scale investigation.
Still, according to Baker, hailed as one of the most popular governors in the nation, Boston’s public transportation system isn’t nearly as bad as it’s being made out to be. Over 85% of the city’s daily rapid transport trains arrive on time, as compared to NYC which only comes in at 58.1 percent.
“That’s what the experience most riders every single day have,” said Baker. “That’s no excuse for the screw-ups and the incidents that we’re talking about, there’s no excuse for that, but there are 600,000 trips every day that, for the most part, work out like they’re supposed to.”
He also alluded to the fact that the only incidents ever reported are the bad ones, and this only adds fuel to the myth of the subway system being slow and unreliable.
Paulina Casasola, 24, disagrees with Baker. She said the train was so late one day that she had to spend $20 on an Uber or risk losing her job. Another time she had to borrow a friend’s car and ended up with a $90 parking ticket which was her own fault and not the city’s, but…
“There are a lot of neighbors who are upset and have started knocking on doors to see how we can help stop the service cuts,” she said. She also complained of the ever-increasing fare amounts.
It looks like the subway’s performance depends upon who you ask, and yes the trains are old and need to be replaced. But all in all, when compared statistically to other major cities full of grumpy commuters, Baker should be commended and Wu should thank her lucky stars that he’s doing the bang-up job she only wishes she was capable of.