I guess it’s really a black line, but seriously, what kind of badass slap tags the eye of Sauron?
Helsinki buses are not the only mode of transportation delivering serendipitous inspiration.
You may remember back in June when I reported that the MBTA was eliminating a couple of stops on the number 1 bus line, I wondered what would happen to the space freed up. Well, I’ve been watching those stops and seen no changes. Still no parking, still marked off, still signed as bus stops.
Until last night, when I was riding the 1 bus back from Boston and asked the driver to let me off at one of those stops. The driver – operator 67743 – told me it wasn’t a stop anymore. I pointed out that I could see the bus stop sign and even a person waiting at that stop to get on. Since Yom Kippur was nigh, she made an exception for us.
So, MBTA or Cambridge or whoever, what’s the deal? How are passengers who are not always-internet-connected otaku like myself supposed to know this change is coming up and that it has finally actually happened? (The stop is still shown on the interactive route map on mbta.com justsayin) And, since service to that stop has in fact stopped, why is the sign still up and what’s the plan for repurposing that real estate?
Here’s what I wrote almost three months ago, emphasis added.
…what will happen to the former bus stops? Will more (metered?) parking be created? Bike parking? Ghost stops where parking is prohibited but buses never stop? Pocket parks? Time will tell.
This is not the way I like to be right. I’d say from the position of the fire hydrant that no more than one parking spot on the Clinton Street side could be created, but that would be something. Adding bike parking or something else more interesting would be something too. Not even bothering with a sign saying that the stop is no longer a stop, that’s the worst kind of business as usual around here.
I was not looking forward to my trip to the Charlie Card Store. I was prepared to beg, threaten, maybe even bribe my way through what I was certain would be a Dantean, Kafkaesque, Orwellian, and probably Quixotic* quest to repair or replace my expired Charlie Card.
I am happy to report that (yet again) I was wronger than white shoes after Labor Day. The Charlie Card Store is the nicest space in the entire MBTA system, probably as nice as an Acela first class lounge. I mean that environmentally: it’s an air-conditioned glass box embedded in the corridor of Downtown Crossing station with green and blond wood decor and plenty of seating, and also procedurally: there are six agents plus one more managing the line, and an RMV-style take-a-number system. I arrived at 8 on the dot to join a line of 20 or so. The Store opened right on time and I was out by 8:12.
My only complaint – and you knew that I would have one – is that I shouldn’t have had to go there in the first place. Assuming that the card really had to expire for some good reason, this transaction could have been handled by an agent at any station, or probably even by one of the automated vending machines.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Charlie Card Store makes of people coming in with issues with their Sesame Rings.
* One of these is not like the others. If you can say which and why, you could could play “Odd Man Out” on Says You.