This has not been a good week for the MBTA:
The Red, Orange, and Blue lines are running Saturday
schedules on weekdays (news
coverage) until they are able to hire and train more dispatchers.
and Green lines (again)
were suspended after problems with the ongoing demolition of a parking
garage above Haymarket Station.
The new Orange and Red Line cars were pulled
from service (again),
this time for a battery issue.
And, bonus, while the event was at the end of May, the MBTA released
information this week about Red Line cars that rolled out of the
Braintree yard, onto the mainline tracks and through the station.
Despite all of this, my wait times have gone down by >2x:
What's changed is that I've stopped thinking of the Red Line as being
so frequent that you just show up and get on. Now I look at the
real-time predictions and time my arrival for when the train is about
a minute away. This is a combination of doing extra things before
leaving to usefully fill the time (typically tidying) and/or running
to the station for a train I would otherwise miss. While I used to
wait ~3min on average, now I'm waiting ~1min.
A key thing here is to have an app that is really easy to check, so
you don't waste time checking that you could have spent getting to the
station. There are many different apps that display the MBTA data,
but I've been using MBTA
Tracker. I have two shortcuts on my home screen for the two ends
of my commute:
Tapping immediately opens predictions:
To put them on the homescreen I starred these stops in the app to mark
them as favorites, and then long-pressed the app icon. This popped up
a menu where I could drag the stops to the homescreen:
I do miss having my own predictions services, which used to be something I cared
about a lot, but at this point other people have released some pretty
good ones and I don't feel like I'd be adding much.