more stars than in the heavens

not in our stars, but in ourselves

Putting the “T” in “catastrophe”

Sing it, Jean Ralphio.

Sing it, Jean Ralphio.

“Just when things look darkest, they go black.” – Paul Newman

Well.  Well, well, well.  I didn’t think the MBTA could get any worse.  Truly, I didn’t.  This isn’t the third world, I thought.  This isn’t some forgotten-about town in the Deep South or the Plains states.  This is Boston.  Somehow or other, we’ll get ourselves back together.

Ha!  No.

We had yet another blizzard this past Sunday.  It didn’t dump enormous amounts of snow on the Greater Boston area, but it was more than enough, especially combined with everything else.  With another couple of inches today – nothing much, you know, just a dusting – we’re on track to be the second-snowiest winter since they started keeping records of these things.  We’re already the snowiest February on record – and the month is only 2/3 over.

There was no T service at all on Sunday.  According to MassDOT:

The projected heavy snow and high winds will significantly inhibit the MBTA’s ability to deliver safe and reliable service. Trees and power lines could come down, and visibility will be hampered. Additionally, the MBTA is concerned that a train could break down between stations, resulting in a track right-of-way evacuation that would put customers, employees and emergency responders at risk.

The suspension of service will also allow MBTA crews to keep clearing snow and ice from tracks, the third rail and switches. A decision about the status of service for Monday will be made Sunday.

Okay.  Fair enough.  A Sunday on a holiday weekend isn’t such a bad time for them to focus on maintenance and snow removal; bad luck for those who needed to get to work, but understandable.  We all hoped – and indeed, believed – that things would be back to some semblance of normalcy by Monday.

Nope.

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On Monday, the T ran underground rail service only.  They hadn’t shoveled out any of the above-ground tracks, apparently, on any of the lines.  There was “limited” shuttle bus service for the above-ground stops.  As someone who had to endure that limited service, I can tell you: it wasn’t great.  But if that was what they needed in order to clear things up, so be it.  We all hoped – and maybe even assumed – that trains would be running by today.

Hahaha!  Good one!  With a couple of slight expansions of service, it’s basically the same today – a regular work day, with regular numbers of commuters – and it’s a goddamn mess.

[As a lefty pinko sidenote, I’m fascinated by how blatantly classist the shuttling (or lack thereof) has turned out to be. Nothing beyond Packards Corner on the B Line, overcrowded and inefficient shuttles on the Orange Line between Sullivan and Oak Grove, by all accounts equally rotten shuttles on the Red Line between JFK/UMass and Ashmont and on the E Line after Prudential (or wherever they’re cutting off service)…but for the C Line, buses all along the route; rail service completely restored to the D Line; nice Peter Pan buses for the Red Line between JFK and Braintree. I mean, we’re all suffering, but it’s interesting how much more those of us who live in the more blue-collar/immigrant-centric parts of the region (Malden, Dorchester, the parts of Brighton and Jamaica Plain that are served by those lines) are suffering.  The C Line serves Brookline, an affluent suburb.  The D Line serves Brookline, the Longwood Medical Area (what we may as well call our Hospital District), and Newton – another affluent suburb.  The Braintree branch of the Red Line is far more yuppie-fied than the Ashmont branch.  I feel pretty sure that if the Cambridge portions of the Red Line happened to be above-ground, they’d all be shoveled out and running, or at least fully served by shuttle buses.  It’s just kind of astonishing to see the priorities here.]

And guess what the best part is.  It’s not going to get anywhere close to normal service for 30 days!  Great!  Oh, oh, and here’s the kicker: the T has filed for federal disaster relief – which, if the feds are sticklers, they might decline to provide.

So here we are, an entire region at the end of its tether.  I would like to ask that you all support me in my efforts to get my insurer to place me in a medically induced coma until April – and then, if the whole goddamn state is flooded from all the melted snow, to continue the coma until who knows when.  Maybe I’ll put up a GoFundMe or something.

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2015 by and tagged , , .
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