What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Feb. 12, Red Line a.m. rush hour

Can you spot three things that are wrong with this picture?

Some days, riding on the T is such an adventure. February 12 was just such a day. I took a picture. Can you see what’s wrong with that picture?

First, the train is in the station and the doors are open. When that happens everyone is supposed to board for a quick ride into the city, right? Not this morning. The train is full and the platform is full too.

Second — this one is more subtle — no one is getting on and no one is trying to get off. An experienced rider knows that T patrons will crowd around the doors for endless minutes after a full train arrives, hoping that persistence will be rewarded with a two-foot square spot on the floor of the train. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not, but a big group of people always try. In the picture, no one is trying. Why, you might ask? Because by the time the picture was taken the train had been sitting at the platform with the doors open for at least ten minutes. After a time the conductor announced that there was a “disabled train” ahead.

Third … the train isn’t actually full. Okay, so it’s not clear from the picture but the rail car to the left is sealed and dark. The doors never opened and no one was allowed to ride in it. This also happens from time-to-time without explanation. In good circumstances everyone crowds into adjoining cars. In bad … they pack the platform shoulder-to-shoulder waiting for the next train.

The train in the picture left the station after a wait of perhaps ten minutes more, and the crowd at the station pictured (Porter Square) mostly was able to catch the second train after this one (meaning some caught the next train and the rest caught the second one after).  Riders waiting at stations closer to Boston, i.e., Central, probably had to watch three or four full trans go by before they were able to board.

It’s enough almost to make you want to sit in traffic!