Monday, June 06, 2005

SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY

The signs explaining bus service at Logan International Airport show the usual care and exactitude of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

Outside terminal C, where JetBlue flies, “Commuter rail” is twice misspelled “commnuter”; MBTA police have the unique and impossible “6117” area code; riders are told “exact change [is] required” but not what the ride costs; and there’s no posted schedule.

Anyone arriving on a redeye and expecting to take the new silver line service to South Station should know they’ve got a wait ahead. The service starts at 5:35 a.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 6:17 a.m. on Sundays. Today it arrived at terminal C at 5:48 a.m. and left a minute later, meaning a half-hour wait for the several travelers disgorged from JetBlue’s flight 488 and longer for a miserable group who’d landed before.

Anyone wondering for a half-hour when they can sit down and head home shouldn’t look for guidance from the phone numbers beneath the hope-inspiring MBTA map: There’s no operator to tell them when the silver line starts running, and the only recorded information is to note that operators start working at 6:30 a.m. So much for your basic cell phone. But mbta.com is up and running, the recording says, for all those wise enough to be waiting with an Internet-enabled cell phone or a laptop and portable wireless Internet connection.

On the bright side, the trip from the airport to South Station took roughly the advertised 18 minutes (at least from terminal C), despite useless stops at Silver Line Way and the courthouse and World Trade Center stations — as though anyone wanted on or off at these places at 6 a.m. — and frustrating stops in traffic necessary for a bus and unnecessary for what the silver line should have been (trains).

Perhaps the authority could add “roughly on time” to the Logan service ads plastered inanely around the buses serving Logan. (Why sell people on a service they’re already using?)

Cuurent ads say only that “Silver Line Waterfront offers speed and comfort from South Station to Logan Airport, with air conditioning, luggage storage and automated terminal announcements.”

All good points. It’s easy to scoff at speed, comfort, air conditioning and luggage space — as well as proper spelling, phone numbers that work or even the providing of reassuring and necessary information. But, as the authority knows, no one can resist automated terminal announcements.

2 comments:

wrecking_ball said...

I suspect you took the plane trip just so you could try the Silver Line/Red Line connection. Aside from the things you comment on, did you feel it was a better commute than the usual Red-Green-Blue trip?

On the subject of sign misspellings: There's a new alley-like access road off of Stuart St. behind the Four Seasons hotel that's had a street sign reading "Park Plaice" for months now. I always wonder in such cases if there's any kind of sign-approval process. And, last week I noticed that the sign now says "Broadway". Curious. (And what a misnomer -- it's about the least Broadway-like street in the city.)

Scape7 said...

I may agree with the implicit thinking: Better to have a correctly spelled sign in the wrong place than a misspelled sign in the right place. But that may be insane.

As to red line to silver line to Logan versus red line to green line to blue line to Logan, I'm going to have to land on the side of the silver line. It's two chances to wait instead of three, and that alone may make it faster (and a third less risky).