Alrighty, the newest rapid transit station on the MBTA (for now, that is!). So, with that in mind, surely this can’t be that bad, right? Right???
The track layout is pretty easy. You have an island platform, where Green Line trains terminate. The design doesn’t render any extensions (e.g. to Porter Square) too terribly difficult, however currently the operator has to get out, change to the other side of the train, and start driving on the other side. You also have the Fitchburg Line running parallel to the station (future Commuter Rail platform, anyone?) as well. It’s also nice that the entire platform is under a canopy of sorts, especially on a searingly hot summer day.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good stuff ends, is with the platforms and nearby transit-oriented development. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. So, the farebox is on the other side of the train or ALL the doors are open (maybe both!), so getting to the farebox isn’t always practical. However, there’s also no turnstiles. So, how does the T handle their laziness? Let me explain.
You gotta go to a CharlieCard machine (like you’re adding value or buying a day/week pass). Then, you gotta tap your CharlieCard and then tap “Validate Fare”. However, that isn’t enough, as you also gotta tap it AGAIN. Finally, it’ll beget a receipt. A FREAKIN’ RECEIPT.
And do the operators check it? Nope! Does anyone check it? I’m not even sure. Maybe at rush hour, but I likely won’t know as I don’t intend on returning here, and I came here on a Sunday. So, in essence, fare validation is the honor system.
Now, let me ask this.
WHY IN THE HOLY NAME OF BILL WELD, DID THE MBTA THINK THAT IMPLEMENTING A SYSTEM THAT MAKES FARE EVASION EASIER WAS A GOOD IDEA?! WHAT KIND OF CRACK WERE THEY ON?! WHY WOULD ANY TRANSIT AGENCY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND THINK THAT GIVING PEOPLE RECEIPTS AND USING THE HONOR SYSTEM EVEN BE A GOOD IDEA AS A FORM OF FARE CONTROL, WHEN TURNSTILES ARE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE?! Sure, you can hop the turnstiles, but for someone who’s, say, pudgy like I am, it takes hella more effort than just simply ignoring the validation machine and not getting a receipt, then getting on the back door of a D branch train. Like, this station was an idea for over 100 years, and actually in the works since the beginning of the last decade (the 2010s), and this was how they did it?
The good: It’s been a long time coming! It’s a direct link between the area around Union Square in Somerville to downtown Boston and the other Green Line branches. It’s also near some transit-oriented development, as well as a Target!
The bad: WHY DO WE EVEN NEED THE HONOR SYSTEM?! LIKE, HOW MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE COULD IT HAVE BEEN TO INSTALL TURNSTILES LIKE A NORMAL RAPID TRANSIT STATION?! And no, noone checks the receipts to actually prove you paid. They may as well not have the CharlieCard machines.
Nearby points of interest: There’s a Target nearby! Also, the neighborhood of Union Square, it’s quite nice actually.
Transit connections: Green Line (E branch as of current, D branch in the future with E branch being rerouted), MBTA bus (85, 86, 87, 91, CT2)
Overall, this station would’ve been great. It could’ve easily been an 8 or even a 9, if it weren’t for the lack of fare control. And, whatever kind of drugs they were on when they decided on the vending machines over turnstiles, I’d like to know.
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