Things Are Looking Up For the MBTA

There are plenty of reasons to feel down about the daily commute on the T. Especially with the impending closing of the Government Center stop for two years beginning on March 22, it may be hard to stay optimistic about the T.

A string of news stories, however, leave ample reason to believe that the T-riding experience of the future may be better than that of the present.

The average commute on the Red Line. Photo courtesy of PolitenessPts/Twitter

The average commute on the Red Line.
Photo courtesy of PolitenessPts/Twitter

Bill Durkin, a daily commuter, has been handing out “Politness Points” for good deeds done by other passengers since last fall.  The cards, which usually surprise the recipient, are small, white and read “One Politeness Point: Thanks for being polite today.” Durkin even runs the Twitter account @PolitenessPts to help encourage the movement.

“At first it took courage to go up and hand someone a business card out of nowhere, but I got over that pretty fast,” Durkin said to Boston Magazine. “People are usually kind of confused and they will just take it, then they took a look at it, and I would say 100 percent every time you see a big grin on someone’s face.”

So, how can Boston College students score a Politeness Point? Helping an elderly person or giving up one's seat are potential reasons to score. Any "unselfish" act, Durkin says, should be rewarded.

In other news, the MBTA’s ongoing budgetary constraints may soon be alleviated by federal funds. President Obama set aside $1.3 billion in the federal budget to aid the Green Line Extension Project.

Anthony Golden/Gavel Media

Anthony Golden/Gavel Media

The project will include six new stations, a maintenance facility, bridge work and other technical improvements in expanding the Green Line to Somerville and Medford stops.

Finally, Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics continues to draw speculation. A report released in February by the Special Commission Relative to the Feasibility of Hosting the Summer Olympics in the Commonwealth concluded that Boston “fares relatively well” in the pursuit.

Photo courtesy of Boston 2024 Organizing Committee/Facebook

Photo courtesy of Boston 2024 Organizing Committee/Facebook

“It would be feasible to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games,” the report said. “However, should the region move forward with a bid, it must be noted that it is a monumental task that is not to be taken lightly.”

If Boston were to score the Olympic stage, proponents argue that the associated transportation concerns, including the MBTA, would provide officials the means and time to make much-needed improvements.

Next time you are in despair on the T, try to remember that there are plenty of reasons to have faith in the MBTA…just maybe don’t wear a skirt.

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