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Tempers flare during wait for overcrowded MBTA trains

Blue Line tracks in East Boston saw plenty of snow over the weekend.Getty Images/File

Stacy Cohen arrived at the Maverick MBTA station in East Boston around 9:10 a.m. Wednesday only to find the key Blue Line station was already awash with people, some of whom had very short tempers.

When it took more than 20 minutes for a Bowdoin-bound train to arrive, the mood among people on the platform changed - for the worse.

“People were fighting to get in, pushing and cutting each other to get onto a packed car,” she said. “It was like chaos.”

Transit Police spokesman Lieutenant Detective Richard Sullivan said police have seen postings on social media where people point to turmoil on subway platforms, but no one has yet called for officers to step in and break up a serious act of violence.


“We are not getting calls from someone saying that people are engaging in assaultive behavor or a fist fight relative to this situation that we all are enduring,’’ he said. “And I don’t want to say experiencing any more — it’s enduring.’’

Sullivan said Transit Police are operating under an “all hands on deck’’ plan where officers are deployed to subway stations where riders can normally get on a subway car, but now find themselves clambering onto a shuttle bus.

“We have directed patrols at stations that are experiencing overcrowding conditions’’ because shuttle bus service is replacing subway trains, he said. Among those seeing Transit Police officers are the Red Line’s JFK/UMass, for example, where buses are replacing the Braintree line, and in Malden, where buses are in use for Orange Line service, he said.

Sullivan said his department did not get a call to respond to the Maverick station, but his department will check out the information and if need be, reassign officers there.

At the Maverick station Wednesday, Shane Manning said he had been waiting for an outbound Blue Line train for 20 minutes even though a prediction board had said it would only take 5 minutes.


His commute from his East Boston neighborhood to a restaurant in Winthrop using the Blue Line and two buses usually takes about half an hour, he said. On Wednesday, it was approaching two hours.

He said he left at 9 a.m. to get to work at 11 a.m., but he was still going to be late. On the 117 bus on the way to Maverick, the vehicle was so packed that someone fell on top of him.

“There is no leaving early these days,” he said.

He hopes service improves quickly because people rely on it, he said.

“The weather has definitely been getting better, but the service hasn’t,” he said. “I feel like they are trying the best they can, but people need to get to work.’’

Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.