A Complete and Resourceful Guide to Riding the T in Boston

By Kara B., Age 17

Have you ever been to a Red Sox game? If not, then I think that the time has probably come. The Boston Red Sox are one of the most popular attractions the city has to offer, so unless you are an avid Yankees fan, why not join us for a game? There’s only one catch—it’s basically impossible to drive a car through Boston when there’s a game in town. So unless you’re prepared to walk or bike, the best alternative to driving is what we Bostonians call “The T”—or in other words, the subway. As a tourist, you may be tempted to buy a “T” shirt to help you navigate the underground—however, this is not recommended. While wearing this particular shirt, which displays a map of the MBTA system along with the words “In Boston, This is a “T” Shirt”, tourists may note that they are being skipped over in line at the Dunkin Donuts, their luggage is approximately 12.2 times more likely to be stolen, and people are constantly tripping them in the streets. DO NOT expose yourself and your loved ones to this rather unfortunate treatment! When visiting Boston, it’s best to forget the “T” shirt. Navigating the underground is not actually very difficult, and I am about to make it all much easier. The first thing that you must do when driving in to town is to find a subway station at which to park your vehicle. Usually the stations with parking garages are at the end of the lines, at places such as Alewife, Oak Grove, and Lechmere. There are five different color lines (red, blue, orange, green, and silver) as well as the commuter rail. If you are flying in to Boston, you are probably going to use the Silver Line, which runs right through the Logan Airport. It does not really matter which line you are using, for the procedure at this point is the same. After parking your car, follow the people dressed all in Red Sox paraphernalia down the escalators and up to the token window. You will probably have to wait in line for at least twenty minutes to buy tokens on a game day, but the wait doesn’t seem so long after you’ve purchased a large Turbo coffee from the underground Dunkin Donuts (don’t worry—the service should be fine as long as you are wearing a normal shirt). Be sure to heed the big green leprechaun sign left over from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which states “Purchase yer return trip tokens now, and save time later!” Once you’ve obtained your tokens, insert one into the slot in the nearest turnstile and immediately push your way through (before someone else does). DO NOT attempt to outsmart the turnstiles—they are a lot more intelligent than they appear. Once you’ve made it through, take a deep breath before heading down the stairs or escalators to the trains. (If at Porter station, be sure to use the escalators…people have been known to die horrible deaths while attempting to tackle the Escher-like staircase.) Your adventure with the “T” begins here. As soon as you have made it down to where the trains arrive, quickly locate a map of the MBTA system. If you are using the red, blue, orange, or silver line, you will need to board the next inbound train, which will take you to a station at which you can change to the green line. If you are using the red line, that station will be Park Street, blue line is Government Center, orange line is North Station, and if you’re on the silver line, you must first connect to the red line at South Station before transferring to the green line at Park Street. If attempting to read the map is causing you to experience minor heart palpitations and difficulty breathing, don’t panic! It happens to everyone (or, er, well, at least I think it does). In such cases, it is best to locate someone who is NOT wearing everything Red Sox—just some poor, annoyed Boston native who is probably attempting to get into work amid the chaos of an impending game—and ask him to tell you the way to the green line. DO NOT inquire as to how to get to Fenway Park, because in rare cases said businessman will actually misdirect an unfortunate tourist or two, in a bout of extreme jealousy. After all, you do get to go see a Red Sox game, while he still has to go to work. Try not to rub it in. do Once you are relatively sure of where you ’re going, board the next train inbound, and cram yourself into the nearest subway car sardine-style. Please try your hardest not to cough or sneeze. Be sure to hold on tightly to the handrails—you may experience sudden acceleration and crazy hairpin turns during your ride. After all, the conductors are the kind of people who say “Haavad” instead of “Harvard”. Be prepared for anything. Don’t forget to watch and listen for your stop! Before the train has come to a complete halt, gather up all of your belongings, and head towards the doors. Wait anxiously for the little bell that announces that the doors will open and then—sprint! In a place where the people are always late and in a huge hurry to get somewhere, the train doors don’t stay open for very long. Just for the record, it is highly unpleasant (and not to mention embarrassing) to become lodged in the doors of the train. Besides, the conductor will probably add to your embarrassment by yelling, “Stand CLEAH of the DOOAHS!” This is probably not something you want to experience the first time you ever ride the “T. Almost there! Once you’ve safely exited the train, look for the green tape leading to the green line, and head that-a-way! Make sure that you board the Riverside bound train—which, again, can be kind of confusing. Not all of the green line trains will stop at Fenway, in fact, ONLY the Riverside bound train will take you to the park. Once again, consult a map before boarding—consulting a businessman at this point is not recommended. Chances are that he is in the process of ditching work to go to the game, and his guilty conscience is probably wearing down hard on him. Try not to add to the poor guy’s mental anguish. Locate a Riverside train, and when it finally does come, board with caution. If available, you may want to don your oxygen mask at this time, because chances are that the car will be so crowded that the air has been depleted. Once again, don’t panic. There are only ten stops to go! Stumble off the train at Fenway, and fight your way back up the stairs and into the light of day. There! You’re acting like a true Bostonian now! You’ve just spent half your morning more than six feet under, and made it out alive! Now it’s time to breathe deeply, relax, buy a hot dog, and enjoy the game. After all, you did remember to purchase your return trip tokens—right?