BOSTON – We've written a lot about anything to do with transportation in Boston. We've talked about how bad the traffic is, we've talked about the Green Line & Red Line derailing. We've talked about MBTA fare hikes and train cars breaking and much more. All these stories seem to follow a similar theme: getting around Boston is a mess. Which is why this recent article caught our eye.
The MBTA is the second best public transportation system in the country? Either all other systems are awful, or something weird is going on. Let's take a look...
So, the first two metrics that are worth sharing share the same idea: which cities is it better to take public transportation than drive? Boston did very well, ranking 4th in longest auto commute to work and 5th in most annual hours spent in a car.
Basically what this says is: driving in a car in Boston sucks, so the T is great! Let's see if this trend continues.
Our highest rank was in "Accessibility and Convenience," where we came out as second in the country. Some of the metrics used here followed the theme from before (car bad so T good) with sections like: Share of Commuters who Prefer Public Transport, or Average Car Commute Time as Share of Average Public Transport Commute Time.
However, there were some other ones that didn't have to do with that: Average Commute Time for Transit Users, and Annual Public Transport Cost as Share of Median Annual Household Income, and Airport Accessibility by Public Transit, and Jobs Accessible Within a 30 Minute Transit Commute per 100 Civilian Employed Residents.
To break those down, they're saying:
-We have short commute times
-We have ample jobs within that short commute time
-We make decent money and the T is relatively inexpensive
-AND the airport is easily accessible.
Let's start with probably the only one I think is vaild: how easy it is to get to Logn airport. I've been to many many cities, and the accessibility to the airport in Boston is undeniably fantastic. The Silver Line is easy to transfer to, the Blue Line as well, and there's even a free shuttle that stops at Hynes and Copley (but don't tell anyone!). Okay, fine, our airport is super easy to get to. That helps me maybe twice a year.
The rest is fundamentally flawed. Essentially, Boston is small for a "big city." It really is. We don't spend longer than 30 minutes on the T getting to work because our city isn't that big. But what this ignores is the fact that our T tends to move at the pace of a snail to get somewhere that should take 15 minutes.
I appreciate the shout out, but Boston has a ways to go to even get in the top 10. Just because our car traffic is terrible and we're relatively small does not mean the T is good.