They're everywhere!
May 29, 2007

Apparently it's not just the MBTA and RMV that are extremely horrible at expediting transportation in Massachusetts. I'm starting to think that poorly implemented transportation is simply endemic to the Commonwealth. I was at Logan airport earlier, at the E terminal, waiting to pick up some friends who have since flown in. The signage there is less clear than it could be. I wanted to just stay in the terminal E loop, but the only options I could see were Airport Exit and parking to one direction, and indeterminate other things in the other direction. So I went the other direction. It didn't seem quite right, but it was an airport, and they're never laid out logically, so I kept going. Besides, there was no obvious way to turn around and go the other way. Eventually, I found myself in Maverick Square; clearly I had made a wrong turn somewhere. Having never been in East Boston or Chelsea before I didn't really know where to go. The plus side was that I had, by that time, learned that my friends had missed their flight and wouldn't be coming in until later, so I could go home rather than trying to find my way back to the airport. I had no idea where I was, but I could see the water, and, as I still know very little of the local geography, figured it must be the river and that following it must eventually lead me to Cambridge. So I drove toward the water ...and discovered many large ocean-going ships. Last I checked there are no large ocean-going vessels in the Charles river. This was when I realized that East Boston is on the other side of the harbor. Still, I figured, following the water would probably be the best bet. Eventually it led me to the Sumner Tunnel where the signs indicated that the normal car toll is $3. I very rarely carry cash, and had been expecting to only have to pay the $1 I'm used to getting on and off the pike, so that was all the cash I had on me. So I decided to keep going and see if I can find a cheaper way to get home. A little while later I saw signs pointing towards the Tobin Bridge. Again, my lack of familiarity with the local geography, cause largely by the fact that I pretty much never drive here, got me in trouble. For some reason I had it in my head that the Tobin Bridge was actually the Bunker Hill Bridge. This idea was reinforced by the fact that the Bunker Hill Bridge is clearly visible from East Boston. So I followed the signs knowing that from the base of the Bunk Hill Bridge I could easily get myself home. The signs, of course, didn't take me where I expected and I ended up on the on-ramp for the Tobin Bridge, hoping that there was no toll to cross. Of course there is, and as I was in a Zipcar which has commercial plates, that toll was $4.50. Being $3.50 short I had to tell the guy that I had no cash. I figured he'd give me some sort of ticket so I could mail the toll in later, maybe with a small fine. Well, he did give me a ticket, but closer examination leads me to believe that I'm going to have to pay a $50 fine. Plus whatever fee Zipcar charges me for having to deal with receiving the notice of violation and informing MassPike that it has to go to me instead which I think is about $20. So, just because I don't usually carry cash and am not really familiar with driving in the area I may be out $70. That's just a load of crap. At least they offer an option to appeal the violation. An option of which I am definitely going to avail myself. One advantage to being self-employed is that I actually have the flexibility to deal with bureaucratic nonsense without fear of being fired.
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