Growing up in Los Angeles and still not having my driver’s license at 20 was an interesting way to live.
Every time someone finds out that I do not have my license, their jaw hits the floor. Fortunately, I had friends who were willing to drive me around. Uber and Lyft also became my most used apps.
When I decided to go to college in Boston, everyone told me how lucky I was to have such a great public transit system. In my freshman year, we were given free, unlimited Charlie Cards for the semester.
I vividly remember my first time trying to get on the T. I got on the wrong way and was so freaked out that I ended up walking to my destination.
The good news is that the Green Line conveniently runs directly through BU’s campus. Even when I miss the BU bus, I can hop on the T and still make it to class on time. At times, it feels like the T is just an extension of the BU bus.
However, what is still such a learning curve, even after two years in Boston, is not having my Charlie Card on my phone.
I know in Northern California, your Clipper card can be put on your Apple wallet, so you can tap to pay and add fares from your phone. Not having this feature makes hopping on through one of the T’s back doors much more appealing (for legal reasons, I am joking).
I know this is common among my peers. Making it difficult to access and tap the payment kiosk deters people from paying for or even taking the T, never mind the fact that the only places you can buy individual tickets are the underground stations. Every Green Line stop on BU’s campus is above-ground.
This perpetuates my main problem with the T: it is not properly maintained or equipped to deal with the amount of commuters it gets.
Commuters don’t pay because it isn’t well maintained, and because they don’t pay, it doesn’t get better. It is a vicious cycle.
However, I am optimistic. I am hopeful that if we push for legislative action, we can bring the T to be the best it can be.
Overall, it can be hard to figure out how to use public transit. But once you get the hang of it, you won’t go back!