SoS Boston: Behind the Wall
Boston Public Transportation
A key part of Boston’s evolution has always been moving things in, out, and through the city. Boston had a great public transit system connecting the whole region, not just local. The MBTA, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority—“T” to locals—can get you pretty much anywhere in the Metroplex in relative safety. The only major exception—and it is major—is the Rox. No one is safe there. The T operates all the major rail lines, subways and bus routes in the city and surrounding area. This means they coordinate everything to operate with maximum efficiency. I’m not saying this because of all the stock I own in MBTA, which I really don’t, or because I like braggin’ on Boston, I’m saying it because someone got it right and made sure to set up schedules that made for smooth travel pretty much anywhere you’re going.
The T operates the high-speed rails that ran commuters to Boston from down in Rhode Island and up to southern Maine, there’re even New York and Bangor runs. But the high-speeds still take almost two hours, which means it’s easier to get there on the Grid. The trains rock along at over 240 kph so no old cowboy-movie plays here without a nice copter. And that sort of thing is batshit crazy, even to a Southie.
Sticking to the topic of trains, we can discuss the subways. All routes lead to the Hub. Outstations for the different lines are all over the Boston ’plex. Most of them are still inside the QZ, but a few of the stops are outside. From what I’ve heard those are locked down tight.
Before the QZ, the trains ran smooth and round the clock, had solid security, contracted through Minuteman, and made life pretty easy for commuters and tourists. Stations are well guarded at all times, but security is more lax in the tunnels. I’ve had Johnsons hold meets in secluded alcoves off the main line, and the tunnels’re where you’ll find some of the best access points for the Catacombs. More on all that in my View From the Ground Up section. At one point in history, not sure when, some of the subway rails were above ground. Don’t ask me, I don’t get it either. But now, the majority of the rail lines run below ground and have all sorts of little substations and pull off tunnels to play in.
- Actually, most mass transit rail systems have aboveground, underground, and elevated sections. Boston’s T was much the same at one point. Guess the corps found it easier to stick the commuters underground and move them around. Hate for them to see daylight and know what they’re missing.
- Traveler Jones
An often-overlooked but important part of Boston’s public transportation is the ferry system. Ferries criss-cross the harbor, with some routes going up the rivers farther than you might think. Major routes run down to Quincy, up to Nahant and Marblehead, and over to most of the islands in the harbor. They have three types: vehicle ferries, people ferries, and high-speed ferries. The
vehicle ferries are like long barges with a small passenger area, loaded using the GridGuide system to maximize efficiency. People ferries are usually triple-deckers, can fit about 1,500 people, and are run by HarborGuide. The high-speed ferries run to Manhattan (3.5 hours), Cape Cod (45 minutes), Portland (1.5 hours), Saint John (4 hours), Yarmouth (3 hours), and Halifax (4.5 hours), with passenger berths ranging from 1,250 on the longer runs to 1,500 on the shorter routes. These craft aren’t built for luxury, but they provide a nice, undisturbed ride, and every type of ferry has several private areas—or areas that can be made private—for long meetings.
The last, and probably biggest, part of the T in Boston is the buses. Running off the most updated GridGuide system in the world (some good things come from getting EMP’d), the bus fleet for the MBTA is ninety-nine percent automated, but every bus still has a driver to provide a metahuman backup and friendly face (ha!) for the riders. The one percent that are not automated operate routes that go through rough neighborhoods, and the driver really only drives the bus when it’s in areas where GridGuide can’t seem to stay functional. Buses are a cheap and easy way to get around Boston. They are also the transportation mode of choice for fans of my next topic, sports.