WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

How to Create a World-Class Transit System

By Phillip Martin   |   Sunday, April 22, 2012
1 Comments   1 comments.

April 23, 2012

BOSTON — “The doors will open on the left side. The signs will point to the Red Line on the upper level.” A regular announcement over the subway loudspeaker guided commuters through the crowded underground at rush hour. I was on the Orange Line trying to get to Arlington and commuters were talking about their ride home. One woman said, “It’s better than driving.” Another commuter volunteered, “I ride the Blue to the Orange on to work and then back.” And another said, “It’s fairly efficient. It gets me home quickly.”

But this Orange Line is not the one you’re thinking about. This one is in Washington, D.C., where I recently paid a visit.

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Just Another Rush Hour on the MBTA

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Friday, April 20, 2012
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April 20, 2012

BOSTON — In the old days, when you were frustrated with your public transit commute, all you could do was swelter or maybe complain to the person next to you ... if that person wasn't the cause of your complaints. But Twitter and smartphones mean that a vent for frustration is at your literal fingertips. You can even tweet your specific problems to @mbtagm, the general manager, in the hopes that someone in CentComm will notice and fix. We looked at the tweets from one morning on the MBTA to get a picture of the sights, sounds and situations we experience every day.

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Riders React to the MBTA Fare Evasion Crackdown

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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April 18, 2012

Follow WGBH News Focus: The MBTA the week of April 23 — and tell us what you'd do to fix the T.

BOSTON — On April 17, the MBTA launched a new initiative to address fare evasion on the Green Line: In off-peak hours, D Branch passengers will be allowed to board and depart using the front door only. In addition, the agency is continuing monthly "fare blitzes" to keep riders honest. 

"It's only fair ... pay your fare!" the press release chirped. And on the April 18 morning commute, T riders tweeted ... well, let's see.

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Lawmakers Consider T Bailout Bill

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Monday, April 9, 2012
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April 9, 2012

BOSTON — The debate over how to close the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s huge deficit is in lawmakers' hands now. The Legislature's joint transportation committee heard a bill on Monday that would transfer money from a statewide trust fund that's financed by car inspection fees to the T.

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MBTA Board Passes Unpopular Fare Hike

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Wednesday, April 4, 2012
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April 4, 2012

BOSTON — The board that oversees the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority voted 4-1 Wednesday in favor of fare increases and modest service cuts as the crowd of 200-plus riders shouted "shame on you."

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Governor: State Needs a Long-Term Transit Solution

By Toni Waterman & Sarah Birnbaum   |   Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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March 29, 2012

norwood mbta

The MBTA's proposal eliminates weekend service on three lines — not, however, the line that runs through Norwood, shown here. (Wikimedia)

> > VIDEO: Transportation secretary Richard Davey appears on Greater Boston after the announcement.
BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick said he supports the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's final proposal to bridge a $185 million budget gap but warned that much work is to come.

“The T we inherited had a fatally flawed budget. It is burdened with Big Dig debt and pushing payments off into the future," Patrick said. "I don’t favor short-term patches. I prefer long-term solutions and long-term problem-solving. That’s going to be at the top of our agenda next year when the Legislature gets back.”

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About WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

Love it, like it or lump it, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority touches nearly everyone's lives in eastern Mass. And it's in financial crisis, with newly announced fare hikes not enough to cover next year's projected $100 million budget deficit. WGBH News features special focus coverage of the tracks and troubles of our public transit system.

About the Authors
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at liftedveils.org.
Danielle Dreilinger Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger is an author and news producer for WGBH.org.

Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.

"If I Ran the T ..."

Everyone who's ever rode on the T has an opinion about what problem they'd change first. If you were in charge, where would you start? Let us know.

The Fare and Service Plan

On July 1, the T will introduce fare increases and service cuts to cover a $159 million budget gap for the next fiscal year. Read the plan on mbta.com.


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