Transportation & Infrastructure

Highlights from Yelp Reviews of MBTA Stations

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Friday, May 18, 2012
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Second in a series

red line

South Station. (ockam/Flickr)

May 18, 2012
BOSTON — Yelp isn't just for retail establishments and restaurants: Some people use the open review site as a home for their musings and warnings about Greater Boston's public transit.  First we looked at bus routes you might never have heard of. Now we turn to six stations you almost definitely know.

N.B.: Opinions are those of the Yelper and do not necessarily reflect the views of WGBH, WGBH News or anyone who isn't running late and fed up.

1. Porter Square

(35 reviews, 4 stars)
Brian D., Roxbury: You know that scene from "28 Days Later" when the army lady and those 2 kids have to get down the broken escalator to escape certain death by starving zombies? Yeah, they could have filmed that at the Porter Square T Station. ...


Vertigo. (3 stars)
Leighann F., Astoria, N.Y.: Things I can accomplish while riding the escalators down into the depths of the Porter Square T Station:

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Get Inside the T — Virtually

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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android google map harvard station
Inside Harvard Station in Google Maps.

May 15, 2012
BOSTON — Those used to tracking the bus or train on their smartphones now have a new tool to help with the T. Last week, the MBTA announced that Google Maps now offers interior views of 24 stations on Android phones.
"One of our best partners has been Google and obviously they have incredible reach," said Josh Robin, director of innovation at the MBTA. "They approached us about being their first transportation partner" for station maps in the U.S.
Indoor maps were already available for a number of U.S. and Japanese airports and shopping centers. See [potentially not entirely up-to-date] list.
All the MBTA had to do was hand existing CAD drawings over to Google. "They do the cool part," Robin said. Cost to the MBTA: $0.

Don't have an Android phone? This is how the maps work.

So they're cool. But are they useful?

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Lawmakers Support Universities and Infrastructure

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Monday, May 14, 2012
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May 15, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts House leaders unveiled plans on Monday to boost funds for universities and local infrastructure programs as part of an omnibus economic development bill. One part of the bill would direct $50 million in matching grants to research and development projects sponsored by universities in the state, with half of the money reserved for the University of Massachusetts.
House speaker Robert DeLeo said investing in research and universities will grow jobs and improve the economy.
“I am proud this bill targets many of the areas where state government can make a difference. We take steps, important steps that Massachusetts is still the home of invention and innovation,” he said.
The bill would also increase state funding for a program called I-Cubed to $400 million, an increase of $150 million. The program gives developers state bonds funds to build public infrastructure like roads and sewers. In return, they agree to create a certain number of jobs and generate new tax revenues. But there's a catch that might not sit well with municipal officials: If the new project fails to generate enough taxes to cover the state's costs, the host town could be on the hook for the money. 

Highlights from Yelp Reviews of Lesser-Used Bus Lines

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Friday, May 11, 2012
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May 11, 2012

70 bus

Any ordinary bus ride can turn extraordinary ... or frustrating. Just ask the riders. (Aria1561/Wikimedia)

BOSTON — We shouldn't be surprised: In a world where no sandwich shop is safe, of course there are Yelp reviews of MBTA stops and routes. Indeed, there's an entire Public Transportation category. Read in a batch, these reviews describe people's daily lives with an eye for detail a novelist would envy. 

They're such good reading we're splitting them into multiple posts. First, reviews of bus routes you may not know so well, including the 70, 85 and ... 194? 

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MBTA Chief Mulls Your Ideas

By Bob Seay   |   Thursday, May 3, 2012
1 Comments   1 comments.

May 3, 2012

BOSTON — Could the state take back the Big Dig debt? Could the MBTA expand service? In the first part of the WGBH News interview, Richard Davey, secretary of MassDOT, talks about listeners' ideas for fixing the T.
Go to part 2.

richard davey and bob seay
WGBH's Bob Seay, right, interviews Richard Davey of the Mass. Department of Transportation

Excerpts from the interview ...

Seay: The first suggestion: Expand service. More riders, more revenue.

Davey: True. That is true. But what folks have to realize, though, is usually that our costs go up.

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The MBTA Index

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Wednesday, May 2, 2012
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mbta number one bus
Is the #1 bus #1? (Wikimedia)

May 2, 2012

WGBH readers and listeners care about the MBTA: Your responses to our "How I'd Fix the T" survey hit the triple digits — and they weren't one-word answers, either. The suggestions and ideas ranged as broad and wide as the commuter rail network ... but some trends did emerge. So, with a tip o' the e-ink to Harper's, here's your MBTA Index.


Percentage of responses over 150 words: 19
Word count of longest response: 359, cut off by survey window
Distance of farthest-flung respondent from the State House measured in B branch Green Line cars: 105,171.89 *
… Distance in smoots: 1,393,920

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About the Authors
Danielle Dreilinger Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger is an author and news producer for

Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.
Bob Seay Bob Seay
Bob Seay is the host of NPR's Morning Edition on 89.7FM WGBH Radio. He got his start in radio during college at WMUH, got involved with WGBH TV while in graduate school at Boston University and formerly hosted ME at WRNI in Rhode Island.


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