Boston Globe 11/23/19
In my wild imagination, the headline “Governor Charlie Baker says he doesn’t need to ride the T” evokes the image of a nobleman being brought in a horse-drawn carriage while the rest of the people under his jurisdiction ride donkeys. The governor thinks he’s too good for the train? That’s not the case. Charlie isn’t above riding public transit – according to this Globe article, he rode the Tube when he was in England. Charlie Baker is actually too good for the MBTA, AKA the T, AKA one of the shoddiest public transportation systems in modern history. A league of rickshaw drivers is more reliable than the T… If the T were an animal, it would be a tortoise… I could keep going, but for the sake of article analysis, I won’t. Here’s the main issue presented by the author of this piece: If the state you govern had a public transportation system that sucked so much that YOU wouldn’t even ride it, there’s a problem.
This piece is written with a strong, opinionated, critical voice. Facts and quotes are presented and subsequently analyzed by the author. Reasons for driving – like, the fact that you might not even be able to access your destination without a car, or the fact driving is incentivized through free parking garages or parking rates that compete significantly with the cost of taking two or three trains per day – are laid out for the reader. The piece does not necessarily demonize Baker, but instead names him as an active character in a very broken system. Baker won’t ride the T. What could he be doing, as the person in charge, to make it into something he’d use?
If you ask me, the big issue with the T is crappy access outside of the city and high costs for anyone taking over one form of transit. I live in a city 25-30 minutes away from my school, and I drive any time I have class. This is because the closest bus stop to my house is a 25-minute walk, which is then a 45-minute bus ride to the train station, which is then 45 minutes to an hour of train travel (I make a transfer from the red to the green line) and then a ten-minute walk to school. Add it up, and the quickest I may make it to school is about 2 hours and 5 minutes, costing me approximately $11 round trip. With bad traffic in the morning, I can make it to school in around an hour and fifteen minutes. My school garage is $350 for a three-month semester. 15 days per month rounds out to about $7 per day to park. Sure, gas costs money, but for a shorter and cheaper commute? The T has to compete. If it can’t, Charlie Baker won’t be riding it, and neither will I.