The Most Dangerous Subway in America

The Most Dangerous Subway in America

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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Max Moser
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Select visuals courtesy the Boston Globe


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43 Responses

  1. @vlogbrotherdave says:

    As a Boston area lifelong resident, thanks for highlighting this! One point you didn’t touch on that I was hoping you’d discuss was the debt the MBTA was forced to take on from the Big Dig.

    • @NUMleaderNUMleader says:


    • @1987FX16 says:

      Bostonian, the word you’re looking for is Bostonian.

    • @michaelpare5997 says:

      Much of this debt is from projects that improved transit as an agreement from the Big Dig. Yes, they are from the Big Dig, but the debt is exclusively from MBTA related projects. This includes projects such as the new GLX.

    • @matthewennis3591 says:

      @@michaelpare5997crazy thing is isn’t that like one of the ONLY original mitigation projects to finally get completed other than the old colony commuter lines? I know Arborway was laughed off. Red/Blue and blue to Lynn kicked down the hall, north/south rail was also ignored. I’m actually shocked GLX ever got completed. Can’t wait to come back home and hopefully see it running

    • @dubbleplusgood says:

      It may not have been mentioned directly but he did point out 20% of the annual expense was due to debt. The specifics would probably require its own video.

  2. @staycgirlsitsgoingdown2 says:

    Fun fact! The green line extension, which cost 2 billion $ and is less than 2 years old, had to shut down because the rails were installed too wide and rather than fix it right when they found out about the issue (a year before it opened) , the T decided to ignore the problem for 2 years until trains were being slowed to under 3mph to stop trains from completely going off the tracks

    • @sextond says:

      Too narrow, but the rest of the comment is right.

    • @quadcorelatte8217 says:

      That’s not quite true. It shuts down early at night to fix the rails, not all day as implied. And the 3mph restrictions were only in place for a few days until safety was verified.

    • @staycgirlsitsgoingdown2 says:

      @@quadcorelatte8217 no, it was completely shut down for something like 2 weeks this fall. The slowdowns also definitely weren’t 3 days long, every time I take it there’s numerous sections of walking speed slowdowns

    • @k1mgy says:

      This video slid over the ineptitude, sloth and corruption that are hallmarks of this and other big-city systems. The T probably sits at the top of the heap in these departments, and it shows. They enjoy an enabling legislature, an apathetic public and media that’s in the pocket of politicians. It should have been totally re-structured in the image of the Japan Rail system, with infrastructure publicly owned and operations provided by for-profit private corporations. Get it out of the political arena and encourage it to run efficiently through competition. To do so will be to bring down one of the largest taxpayer funded job and money schemes in existence, so that idea will never fly. Instead it will collapse, with a pile of dirtbag hacks battling over the spoils.

    • @farmpunk_dan says:

      I moved out of south Medford right when they finished the line. Glad to hear I’m not missing much 😂

  3. @daviiiid.r says:

    I speak for all people from Worcester: nothing is quite possibly as bad as being stranded in Worcester for 2 hours because you missed your train

    • @perfectallycromulent says:

      you sound like a person who’s never been stuck in the NY Port Authority bus terminal at 3am.

    • @Dondeenie says:

      Jeez, and I thought we new yorkers had it bad with long time waiting in our subway system…

    • @donwald3436 says:

      At it least it gives you time to practice saying Worcester. Rooster? Worsher?

    • @foodgasm648 says:

      Lived in Worcester for 2 years back when the commuter rail was every two hours, without a car, and I concur

    • @repentandbelieveinJesusChrist1 says:

      Repent to Jesus Christ ”Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”“
      ‭‭John‬ ‭14‬:‭21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  4. @QemeH says:

    Calling Boston “almost european” is both the greatest insult and the greatest compliment you can give a city in the US on it’s transportation network and city design – it’s the recipient who chooses…

    • @longiusaescius2537 says:

      @QemeH if Boston was European no one would be against more transit since it wouldn’t act like a garbage highway

    • @tortellinifettuccine says:

      Almost European is somewhat accurate, but boston is very much more American car centricism than anything else. More European is only a positive saying. What on earth is there to be proud of from the usa that isn’t thanks to Europe? Lmao

    • @churblefurbles says:

      It wasn’t “almost”, there were a dozen black people in Boston in 1960s.

    • @suzuplaza says:

      that is in no way an insult

  5. @mepeck316 says:

    I was a student in Boston (early 2000s) and now live in Paris. Can confirm what was said about the Paris metro network, but we also have a really good bus system that fills in the gaps between the metro stations. I’ve been here for three years and have NEVER needed a car. The commuter rail goes to the airports, the rail stations service the regional trains, and plenty of delivery services exist if you want someone to bring a couch home for you from Ikea. In addition, bike share is incredibly popular with our plentiful new bike lanes, and taxis are available in a pinch.

    • @shahrukhsariarkhan says:

      to add to this, the (network manager? i don’t know the english name, but IDFM) also finances the car pooling system.
      i stopped physically using the subway/tram/bus lines in favor of car pooling as my commuter pass also pays for the car trip. much faster, more comfortable, but for the same price as public transports.. aka using the already traveling cars for commuting and reducing the load of current public transports.
      and to avoid abuse, this is only for suburb to suburb or Paris to suburbs, not paris – paris system

    • @palmetto7381 says:

      I had to listen to those first six seconds multiple times to make sure I was hearing that correctly

  6. @jrho8033 says:

    Totally agree with the “halfway” commentary. But I would go further to say America does the “bare minimum” on our infrastructure. The disaster of the MBTA is a perfect example of what happens when state politicians and the governor (Charlie Baker in this case) does the bare minimum to improve the system over decades. And now, we’re paying for it with our time, money, and sanity 😩

    • @smileyeagle1021 says:

      The “bare minimum” standard doesn’t just apply to transit. It is pretty much all of our infrastructure and it is only going to get worse. We’ve spent the last half a century (well, longer) building up sprawling cities with absolutely no plan on how we would maintain the infrastructure that was needed for those cities to function. That would be a problem for future us to figure out. Well, we are future us, and apparently we aren’t doing a very good job of figuring it out, because the answer, it turns out, was to not build entire cities with no plan to maintain them long term.

    • @CMVBrielman says:

      Baker was only governor for 8 years. The state tends to alternate between pro-MBTA and anti-MBTA governors pretty regularly.

    • @HenryElfin says:

      Idk if it’s actually American culture, but more like the commonality of democracy and authoritarian regime

    • @ska042 says:

      ​@@HenryElfin I’m not even sure what you’re trying to say there, but clearly most European democracies manage their transit systems and pretty well, and this even applies to the rest of the infrastructure to some degree.

    • @ska042 says:

      ​@@smileyeagle1021 Suburbs kind of shovel their own financial grave. They are often built with federal subsidies with an infrastructure almost like a city, but actually only provide housing for a more rural kind of density. Then 20-30 years later when significant parts of that infrastructure start to rot and need replacing (but this time without the federal subsidies), a lot of those suburbs discover they just can’t sustain that infrastructure on the tax payer base they have and go bankrupt. With the exception of areas that are full of really wealthy people, you can’t have your cake and eat it – by which I mean, have city infrastructure on rural density.

  7. @mollyroughan1154 says:

    As a Bostonian who takes the T almost every day, yes, it is seriously in bad shape, although extremely necessary for Boston citizens!

  8. @danielkeller9729 says:

    I am actually visiting my buddy in Worcester while visiting Boston from Philly. Got a kick out of the video when you mentioned the schedule. So awesome that I can get on a train in the Philly suburbs and get all the way there by train. Wish more of the US was like that.

  9. @savejeff15 says:

    These remastered videos of old Boston are incredible. It’s looks unreal how real it looks

  10. @seanbentley439 says:

    As a lifelong Bay Stater, regular Red Line/T rider, occasional commuter rail rider, and fan of your channel, I’m happy that you’re doing a video on my city! One issue that’s really bad I’m surprised that you didn’t cover is the lack of frequency of trains (particularly on the Red Line). Even during rush hour, the Red Line trains only arrive every 15-20 mins (assuming you’re riding past JFK/UMass). Just this morning, I just missed the train by 30 secs and waited on the platform for 17 mins in freezing weather. Thankfully I use an app that tracks the trains, so it’s not as bad of an issue especially in the evening. But it’s absolutely unacceptable that you have to wait that long for a train going into and out of Boston during rush hour (and forget about using it during the weekend)!

    Even the new trains have an issue, where the button for the emergency call box is too big so people will accidentally press it and that means we stop at the station for a few mins as they investigate it. That happened to me twice on one ride! With all that being said, I will say the slow zones have gotten better at least on the red line and you’re definitely right about the commuter rail being great (although it can still be delayed sometimes).

    At one point it used to be almost an hour to go from Downtown Boston to Quincy then it was 30 mins, but now it’s about 20 mins. I’ll probably still use the train for the foreseeable future, since my building is right across the street from the station and parking and traffic are terrible. Just thank heavens for hybrid work, as I only have to go into the office 3 days per week and couldn’t imagine doing 5! Apologies for the long comment, but I just feel very passionately about this. Thank you for covering this and keep up the good work!

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