Riding the T for free

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
6,059
Location
Baltimore. MD
My daughter and I are up in Boston, taking care of some business. We rode up on a Northeast Regional which was fine, except that it was slow compared to the Acela. When we got to South Station, we went down to the T and bought aa few subway rides for each of us. The plan was to ride to Park St. on the Red Line, then transfer to the Green Line to Copley where our hotel was located. We got off on the wrong platform and Park St., and had to climb a set of staiirs with out bags instead of using the elevators. When We got up to the Green Line, lo and behold, we found the Green Line wasn't running. This was the last day of the service disruption, and the nice T employee on the platform assured us that it will be running tomorrow, which is good, as we need to ride it for our appointment. Now, why they couldn't have strung some tape across the stairs with big sign alerting us not to bother to drag our bags up, I don't know.

When we got back to the Red Line Platform to ride back to Downton Crossing, we heard an announcement about the Green line closure. The alternative was to ride the Orange Line to Back Bay. Well, we could have just gotten off the Northeast Regional at Back Bay and saved ourselves the trouble. I had decided to use the South Station and the Red/Green Line because the Capley station is closer to our hotel than Back Bay, but in the end, we had to make the walk in the rain, anyway, not that it was really all that bad. The transfer from the Red Line to the Forest Hill Orange Line train is not one you want to do with a suitcase. For those who remember watching the Lord of the Rings movies, there's a scene where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum climb up secret stairs to bypass Minas Morgul. Seemingly endless steep stairs. That's about what that staircase up to the Forest Hill platform was like, at least when dragging up a rollerbag. At least Park St. Has an elevator, if you remember to get off on the center platform.

For dinner, we decided to go the North End and get some Italian food. So we hiked back to Back Bay, and lo and behold, the faregates were open. Someone tried using their Charlie Car, and it didn't register, so it was a free ride for us. The platform was really crowded, I thought maybe they need to run more frequently than the 10-15 minute headways they're displaying, even if it is a Sunday. Then Irealized that the closure of the Green Line might have something to do with it, as they're routing people from North Station on the Orange line and running shuttle from there. But the Red Line also had decent ridership, and perhaps, as I heard at the TRB earlier this month, commuter agencies need to think beyond the idea of M-F "peak hours."

After a nice dinner, some espresso, grappa, canolli and a "lobster tail," we headed home, and found that the faregates a Haymarket were also open and the T attendant verified that the ride was free. All three of our Orange Line rides were on the new Chinese cars, and they seemed to be running fine.

Well, it was fun while it lasted, I expect that we'll have to pay tomorrow, but at least the Green Line will be running.
 
Growing up, my mother call the Green Line stop Park Street and the Red Line Station Park Street Under, it is still odd for me to hear both called Park Street. I think if there were a street elevator, I might have just gone to the street and walked the couple of blocks to Washington St, which is the old name for Downtown Crossing. That area has a few stations that are fairly close together.
 
Growing up, my mother call the Green Line stop Park Street and the Red Line Station Park Street Under, it is still odd for me to hear both called Park Street. I think if there were a street elevator, I might have just gone to the street and walked the couple of blocks to Washington St, which is the old name for Downtown Crossing. That area has a few stations that are fairly close together.
Actually back in the day (until the late 1960s when MBTA renamed everything) what is now Downtown Crossing was Washington St on the Cambridge Dorchester Line (Red Line), Winter St. on the southbound (towards Forest Hills) Main Line Elevated (Orange Line), and Summer St. on the Northbound OL (in those days towards Everett). The Summer St. station had a large underground concourse with a coffee shop, bank branch and other retail outlets, as well as a direct entrance into Filene's Basement. I would sometimes fetch coffee from the coffee shop for the ladies that worked in the Union News stand in the Washington St. station, for which they would tip me, and I would then spend it at their stand on candy :)

Most of the stations in the Washington St. tunnel had different names in the 2 directions, due to staggered platforms as a result of building under the narrow street.

Besides Park Street Under, there was also South Station Under, which referred to the subway station being under not the train station, but South Station on the Atlantic Avenue Elevated that was abandoned in the late 1930s. There were many such quirky namings by the Boston Elevated which apparently did not like station platforms on different lines with the same name.
 
I was just watching a video about the Blue line that showed Scollay Under (Now GovernmentCenter).I was born in 1970 and had always heard that the colors were to make it easier on the anticipated hordes of tourists coming in for the Bicentennial (When I was 6). Based on the description of the Washington Street tunnel, I know I was there because I remember going into Filene's Basement. My mother wasn't a train buff by any means but that was the sort of thing she found interesting and would take us through such a door. That and riding "the square".
 
I was just watching a video about the Blue line that showed Scollay Under (Now GovernmentCenter).I was born in 1970 and had always heard that the colors were to make it easier on the anticipated hordes of tourists coming in for the Bicentennial (When I was 6). Based on the description of the Washington Street tunnel, I know I was there because I remember going into Filene's Basement. My mother wasn't a train buff by any means but that was the sort of thing she found interesting and would take us through such a door. That and riding "the square".
IIRC, one could get into both Filene's and Jordan Marsh from Washington/Summer-Winter
 
If only Charlie had been so lucky!!!!!! haha.
In my lifetime, only the Green Line collected fares onboard and only the Green Line had the "pay when you get off" scheme in effect. Charlie was stuck on a Green Line train (which wasn't called the Green Line at the time, but the same old PCC cars with a farebox next to the driver.) Charlies problem wasn't that he couldn't exit the station, but that he couldn't exit the train.

The trolleys didn't run through Washington St station (now Downtown Crossing), where Filene's and Jordan Marsh were located, so even if he could get onto the platform, exiting through either store wasn't an option. (On the other hand, there is a pedestrian tunnel connecting Park St station, where the Green Line trolley service does run, to Washington St, but the same issues apply.)

The song is a joke; obviously, if his wife could hand him is lunch from a platform as he passed, she could have handed him a dime (or whatever he owed) instead and he got have gotten off at his destination. Maybe his wife preferred him being stuck on the train. Or the extra fare was only required when boarding at one of the inner stations and departing at one of the outer stations (i.e. it was a multi-zone fare); he could have stayed on the train until it returned to an inner station and gotten off there for no additional fare. Just goes to prove logic breaks jokes. Still a great song, though, right up there with the LA-based Standells' "Dirty Water".
 
Funny sot of connection to Charlie...He was riding when the fare went up to a dime. As a kid my mother wouldn't take us on the subway until after rush hour when "dime time" started and the price went down to a dime.
 
In my lifetime, only the Green Line collected fares onboard and only the Green Line had the "pay when you get off" scheme in effect. Charlie was stuck on a Green Line train (which wasn't called the Green Line at the time, but the same old PCC cars with a farebox next to the driver.) Charlies problem wasn't that he couldn't exit the station, but that he couldn't exit the train.
I never picked up on that little detail! how fun!!! Does Boston still run PCC cars!?
 
Last edited:
Back
Top