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Boston Subway System

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Boston Subway System

“One of the biggest plans unveiled by Governor Patrick is a $1.3 billion project by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to replace and increase the capacity of the 44-year-old Red Line subway cars and the 32-year-old Orange Line cars.”It was reported by the Associated Press in the news “Patrick announces major transportation projects” on the website “” on October 22, 2013. We take trains frequently in our daily life in Boston. It’s good news for the people living here. The subway system is an important part of Boston transportation, which has a long history of over one hundred year. But it is too antiqued for the contemporary people, so there are many suggestions and projects to improve the subway system. Compared with the Wuhan subway system, I think some suggestions and projects are impractical for the improvement of Boston subway system, therefore I want to oppose them.

Most of the people in Boston thought that the subway system lacks late-night or overnight service. People want to extend the service hours.(Annear) But from my point of view, the Boston subway system’s service hours should be reduced. First, I often ride the orange line at night when I go to the school gym to do some exercise after supper and stay very late. So I can know that very few people ride trains after 10:00 p.m; there are usually less than ten people inside every subway car. It is obvious that the extension of service hours is a waste of resources, because the costs of vehicle fuel, power, operator hours, supervision, custodial hours, additional customer service ambassador and MBTA Transit Police will increase very much. The service hours should be reduced to save operation costs and it will not make a big difference for people’s transportation because the buses will still work. The operation costs of buses are much lower than for the subway. I think, to develop the bus system to decrease the costs of subway operation at night is a good solution.

The cash-strapped MBTA could soon try selling naming rights to 11 prominent subway stations in Boston and Cambridge. According to the Boston Globe, the T “could garner $18.4 million total a year if the 11 stations found suitors. Over eight years, that would translate into $147 million (MBTA Considers Selling Station Names).”It sounds like a good method to gain some investments for the subway system, actually it is not a good idea for the development of Boston subway system. The Line 2 of Wuhan subway system began its service on December 28, 2012, and then some stations’ name rights were sold for raising funds. As a result, these stations’s new names were very strange and many people debated it. After this case, the government held public votes for the names of new subway stations and received a positive response from the public (After the name right case “Zhou Heiya”, the Wuhan subway stations invite citizens to vote it names). The new stations named after the well known street names or famous buildings nearby, not named by the companies which invested for the construction of Wuhan subway system. The station names relates to the local culture, which has a very important significance. The Boston subway system have a long history, the station names also have. We should not change the well-known names.

In the news I mentioned in the beginning, the governor De val Patrick announced some projects to improve the Boston transportation, especially the Red Line subway and Orange Line subway. I think the MBTA should improve the Green Line first, not the Red Line or Orange Line. Many friends told me during the station Copley and Lechmere, because four Green lines run together into one line, the congestion became very obvious. For going to my friend’s home in Fenway last month, I waited for the D Line, which is one of the four Green Lines, for almost one hour. Before I aboard the train, I have missed three D Line trains, because there were so many people that I could not crowded into the train.

In conclusion, the extension of service hours, selling of name right and the investment on Red Line and Orange Line should be re-considered and evaluated. And the MBTA can learn some lessons of Wuhan subway system’s development.

1.Annear, Steve. Group's Survey Asks Riders How Much They Want Late-Night MBTA Service. BostInno. February 27th 2013.

2.MBTA Considers Selling Station Names.

3.After the name right case “Zhou Heiya”, the Wuhan subway stations invite citizens to vote it names. Xinhua News. April 15, 2013.

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