This Just In: Oldest Subway System in the Country Might Be Hard to Run, May Face Problems in Major Storms

Those are just a few of many tweets directed at the General Manager of the MBTA.  I've seen a few positive ones lately but for the most part they are horrendous.  I've even seen some from people wishing death upon the guy.

Listen, I am probably biased because I don't rely on the T for my primary mode of transportation.  I know there are thousands of people in which the T is the only way to get around. Some rely on the T because they have to, some by choice.  I would say I only use the T several times a month.  But when I read people tweeting about the T sucking balls, it always seems to me like people are just finding this out for the first time.  Yes the T sucks.  It is the oldest system in the country, making it the one that will have the most technological problems as well as the most financial problems (because it uses super old technology, making it less efficient to run and upgrade).

All the time I see Bostonians tweeting and posting on Facebook about how bad the T sucks.  It isn't on time, it broke down, the driver was rude.  Yet during a huge snowstorm we had in Boston this weekend, the T was completely shut down.  All of a sudden people were begging for the T.  People wanted to get around.  They wanted to ride on a piece of shit.  

I think this is a case where nobody can really win.  

Waitin for the B.

I guess my main point is, if you rely on the MBTA to get you where you need to be you should be prepared for the fact that it is possible to break down and delay you at any point.  I'm sorry but what do you expect?  It is the oldest subway system in the country and to completely fix it would cost billions of dollars and tons of construction all over the city.  Unfortunately being the first subway in the nation brings some problems:

  1. You are the first so you don't have the knowledge of mistakes made in other subway deployments.  All you can do is what you think is right and build from there.
  2. Since it was the first the oldest technology was used.  Upgrading this old technology is difficult and costly. 
  3. It is the oldest so it is going to break down faster and worse.  

Yes I probably sound like a dick right now but what the hell is anyone supposed to do?  It will take a major act of the local and federal government to make even a small dent in this problem.  

No, I do not rely on the MBTA as my primary source of transportation but if I did I would never think "maybe my train won't break down today".  I would do what I needed to leave as much extra time as possible in anticipation of a breakdown.  Certainly easier said than done I know, but guess what; you live in the city that has the oldest subway in it, these things are going to happen.  If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on how anyone can make this better with minimal impact to the riders, I'm all ears.


For a few facts and interesting historical tidbits about the Boston subway, visit's somewhat cheesy fact gallery.