fb-pixel Skip to main content

We’ve gotten used to shoddy T experience — we shouldn’t have to

Re “MBTA facilities inventory finds transit system in poor repair” (Page A1, Sept. 10): Kudos to Adam Vaccaro and the Globe for highlighting the decrepit conditions at many of our MBTA stations and the urgent need for action.

We may have come to accept tripping hazards, broken escalators, dirty bathrooms, oozing ceilings, corroded light fixtures, visual chaos, and random wiring and piping snaking along every available surface as an inevitable part of the transit experience. But a visit to any of our competitor cities shows how far we have fallen behind the global standard in this respect.

Around the world, cities are recognizing that, just as in any other sector, the transit user experience begins the moment passengers enter a station, and that attractive spaces are not only possible but essential to fully realizing the social and economic goals public transportation is intended to serve. Visitors to Boston are often appalled by what they find here, even if they are too polite to say so.


The architecture historian Vincent Scully once said of Penn Station, “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.” It’s time to stop scuttling. If we are serious about tackling congestion, then the transit experience has to become more inviting as well as more reliable.

Jan Devereux

Vice mayor

City of Cambridge

Brad Bellows


The Association for Public Transportation