Handicapped Trap: more MBTA madness
Oct 31, 2006

I've posted before about the incredibly horrible and poorly thought out job the MBTA is doing with the transition from tokens to Charlie Tickets/Cards, but I've recently discovered yet another hidden gem in their glorious scheme. If you enter the Central Square T station, heading outbound, through the stairs closest to the river (the stairs that are also closest to my apartment), you find yourself in a small ante-chamber with two of the new gates. Sadly, there are no ticket machines there so if you don't have a ticket you have to go back up the stairs and take the main entrance. But that's not the worst part. No, not at all. Because those two gates, also happen to be handicapped gates. Even though there's no elevator, or even escalator to allow handicapped people to get down to them. And while I'm sure they did that because the ADA probably required them to do so, I also suspect the handicapped gates cost more than the regular ones, so it's yet another pointless waste of my tax dollars. But it gets worse! It occurred to me as I was exiting the T station through those self-same handicapped gates the other day that, were a handicapped person to see them, they would most likely assume that it was a handicapped exit. They'd then wheel themselves through that gate only to discover that they were trapped at the bottom of a set of stairs with no way to get out of the little ante-chamber unless they want to spend another $1.25 to re-enter the station and go out a different entrance. Apparently the MBTA has decided to solve our handicapped 'problem' by capturing the wheelchair-bound in the mass transit equivalent of lobster traps. I can only speculate as to whether they plan to tag and release said handicapped people, or whether they'll just let them starve to death in the T station. I'd also like to point out that the MBTA web site's 'trip planning' feature is crap. The other day I wanted to get from Central Square to Kenmore Square. Not knowing the bus system, my first inclination was to just take the red line to Park and transfer to the green line, but I thought I'd see if there was an easier way. And there is! The solution is to catch the 1 bus and take it down to Commonwealth, and walk up to Kenmore. Of course, the MBTA web site didn't say that. It told me to take the 1C bus (a limited-stop express bus) to Commonwealth. Great, it's faster, right? Wrong. The 1C bus doesn't stop at Commonwealth. The MBTA web site doesn't even know the bus routes! Fortunately, the 1C does stop at Newbury so I didn't have to go too far out of my way, but what if it didn't? And what if I was trying to make a meeting rather than getting dinner with a friend? Really, the MBTA is just doing a bang-up job. And with that out of the way, I'd like to bemoan the state of Mexican pop music: ¿Que?
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