plumtreeblossom: (morning person)
I just witnessed a head-on pedestrian collision between a woman carrying a baby and a blind man using a cane. It was right at the top of the stairs to the Arlington Street T stop (which is temporarily at Berkeley Street). The woman had just come up the stairs and the man was about to go down. She probably couldn't see that he was using a cane because of the baby and the baby's bulky blanket. They bammed right into each other, and the man's cane got entangled between the mother's ankles. Unfortunately, the blind man thought he was being attacked, and he reared back to defend himself. The problem was compounded by the fact that another person and I were wedged within inches of the colliding pair by the throngs going in and out of the stair entrance, who clearly couldn't be bothered to stop or stay out of the way (don't you just love people?). And we were all also within inches of the top of the stairs.

When I saw the cane tangled between the mother's ankles, my body/brain instinctively dropped the totebag and Metro newspaper in my hands and my arms readied to catch the baby if the woman fell. There was no conscious thinking involved; it was all animal instinct and transpired in under a second, which is a weird and frightening feeling. (Under normal circumstances I would never dream of touching someone else's infant without asking). There was a flash of eye contact between me and the other person wedged in by the crowd, and his hand reached behind the mother's back to spot her while I stepped a pace back to let her and the blind man disentangle. Not a word was exchanged between them except a quick "excuse me" from the mother as she hurried away with baby-in-arms. No one got hurt and the whole thing happened in about 7 seconds.

That could have been so much worse. Top of the stairs, baby, blind guy, oblivious crowds. Holy crow. Fate was kind this time.

Well, prior to that I had a lovely weekend, much of it spent with [livejournal.com profile] beowabbit. More on that later. I need juice (not coffee -- I'm jangled enough, thanks).

LinkPass

Jan. 3rd, 2007 10:45 am
plumtreeblossom: (MBTA OMFG)
The MBTA clearly hopes you don't know that they sell a pass that offers unlimit rides to and from every stop on the subway as well as local bus routes for only $59 a month. They hope you don't know about the LinkPass, because if you don't know, they can extract significantly more money from you on the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket programs -- twice that amount or even more for very frequent riders.

I bought my first LinkPass yesterday, in place of the defunct Subway Only passes I'd been using for more than a decade. It's $15 more per month than what I'd been paying, but for service that covers virtually 100% of my local transportation needs, $59 a month is still a fair and square deal in my book. True, it includes the non-optional purchase of local bus service which I almost never use, but screw it, I'll just have to go investigate some of the bus-only neighborhoods I used to ignore, since I've already paid to do so. $59 is a perfectly reasonable monthly package for daily riders like me.

But I could be paying much more, and the MBTA demonstrates on its website that they wish I would. I did some maf:

I ride the T an average of 16 times per week (that's 8 round-trips in an average week). Over a typical month that's 64 T rides. On the $59 pass, I'm paying only 92-cents per ride. Sweet.

But lets say I didn't know the LinkPass existed. Lets say I thought I had to do what the MBTA is pushing and uber-hyper-promoting, which is to get a CharlieCard and load it up with fares at $1.70 each. Or even better, buy individual CharlieTickets for $2.00 per ride. Here's what I would pay for my 64 rides on all three programs:

LinkPass: 64 rides (or more) -- $59
CharlieCard: 64 rides -- $108.80
CharlieTickets: 64 rides -- $128.00

If you ride only 10 times per week (40 times per month) you're still only paying $1.48 per ride on the LinkPass, as opposed to $1.70 or $2.00 the other ways. Only less-frequent riders save money using the celebrated CharlieCard. Daily commuters should be ushered into the LinkPass line, and would be by a more ethical enterprise.

You would think that the monthly LinkPass would be given a splash page, and posters, and dancing clowns with leaflets. They should be saying "Hey all you daily commuters and car-free hippie nuts, the LinkPass is your best value! Buy one now!" But that is so very not the case. Read the FAQ and find your way to the very brief, mumbled mentions of the LinkPass. It will take you several minutes to find it. It doesn't have it's own heading, and is so easily missed that you probably will miss it, amidst the relentless pimping of TEH CHARLIECARD.

It's so transparent what they're doing. Underpromoting the cost-saving LinkPass, in hopes that its sales will be poor, thus enabling them at the end of FY07 to say "The LinkPass was a complete and utter failure, nobody bought them. Hence we feel justified in discontinuing it." Same as how they use under-promotion and consumer misunderstanding to kill off any consumer-demanded services that they don't really want to be providing, like the Night Owl buses. Just you wait, and don't say Mama didn't told you so.

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