Archive for June 8th, 2011

June 8, 2011

extremely important debates for any proper city girl

During the school-year, I have a monthly pass to ride the MBTA public transportation system anywhere I so choose. Granted, I pay for it up-front every semester, but I get a little student discount and am able to take either the bus or the T to school and work every day.

(Note: it took me about a year for taking public transport to stop being WEIRD. Now I ride the bus like it’s my job, but for a long time I was like “AH! I’M LIVING IN A CITY!” every morning and afternoon)

But I’ve reached the point in the year where my passes run out and I of course, I get very confused and befuddled about a simple task that most people can handle without thinking about for more than a minute. Without math or spreadsheets or excessive hand-wringing.

Oh, to be one of THOSE people!

The T

I take the decrepit, driving-on-the-street-with-all-the-cars E-Line. It is slow and doesn’t stick to its schedule very strictly. Also, it’s about a half mile from my apartment – not a bad walk by any means, but it involves walking down this big hill with the T on the bottom… you can SEE the train coming, and since the E-line sucks, that could be the last train you see for another 20 minutes! You can see it perfectly, watch it wait for people to get on and off… but you are much too far away to run and catch it.

On the plus side, since I board at the end of the line, it is always empty!

On the minus side, it costs 50 more cents than the bus, per ride.

But really… it’s always empty. When I’m carrying a bunch of crap around, it’s lovely to be able to spread out and not biff people in the face with my bags.

The Bus

The 39 and I have a love-hate relationship. I love that when the bus is waiting for you at the stop, it can take me less than 20 minutes to get to school.

I hate A) how freaking crowded it is B) when the bus is super late for no reason C) when the bus is super late for no reason then drives by you without stopping because it is too full D) when the bus is super late for no reason and gets stacked up with another bus, and everyone squeezes onto the first bus and the empty second bus drives on by E) did I mention how freaking crowded it is?? F) the crazy people that ride the bus G) the high schoolers that ride the bus H) having to stand up with all my crap and pulling muscles to stay upright without biffing people in the face with my bags I) how the bus drivers fail to open the back doors at my stop at least once or twice a month J) how three buses can pass me as I walk to the bus stop K) sitting next to people.

It could be a hate-hate relationship.

But it’s only 1.25 a ride with your card, it comes more often than the T (most of the time) and it drops me off at the corner by my apartment.


disclaimer: this is not a picture of me walking to work. i do not work in a lighthouse.

I am blessed to live within walking distance of most places I need to go, including school/work: it’s about a mile and a half from door to door. Yes, it is probably faster to take the bus or the T… but only if traffic is light and you don’t spend too much time actually WAITING for either of them to show up in the first place.

Walking relieves some of the stress of public transport. No waiting, no crowding, no worrying that your bus will lose power or your train will go express or your driver is perhaps intoxicated.

And it’s free!

However, walking can be too hot, leaving you sweaty for work. Or too cold, leaving your extremities frostbitten and your clothing soaking wet because you had to trudge through snow banks and you slipped on the ice. And sometimes, you are just too lazy to bother. Or lack a desire to get soaked when it’s raining. Additionally, you can’t walk a mile and a half in Payless flats. Just believe me. Don’t do it. Either you must wear orthopedic granny shoes or wear sneakers with your work clothing and change once you get to work. Also, you must carry all the things you need for the day. I can’t bring my laptop with me if I walk, and even a few books can give me a sore shoulder. And while I usually feel perfectly safe in my day to day activities around Boston, a 1.5 mile walk home, alone, in the dark makes me edgy. If the sun is down, I feel better on the bus.


No thank you. Not NEARLY brave enough to ride a bike in Boston!


So my summer solution is some boring combination of all three. I think, of the choices, I prefer walking. When it’s nice out. And not dark and creepy. And I don’t need my laptop. And I have something good to listen to on my iPod. And I don’t have a headache.

And there’s not a bus waiting for me at my stop.