WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

Highlights from Yelp Reviews of MBTA Stations

By Danielle Dreilinger

Second in a series

red line

South Station. (ockam/Flickr)

May 18, 2012
BOSTON — Yelp isn't just for retail establishments and restaurants: Some people use the open review site as a home for their musings and warnings about Greater Boston's public transit.  First we looked at bus routes you might never have heard of. Now we turn to six stations you almost definitely know.

N.B.: Opinions are those of the Yelper and do not necessarily reflect the views of WGBH, WGBH News or anyone who isn't running late and fed up.

1. Porter Square

(35 reviews, 4 stars)
Brian D., Roxbury: You know that scene from "28 Days Later" when the army lady and those 2 kids have to get down the broken escalator to escape certain death by starving zombies? Yeah, they could have filmed that at the Porter Square T Station. ...


Vertigo. (3 stars)
Leighann F., Astoria, N.Y.: Things I can accomplish while riding the escalators down into the depths of the Porter Square T Station:


2. Reply to at least three emails.
3. Check-in on my Yelp App.
4. Read a couple of pages in a paperback book.
5. Listen to half of Beck's "Hell Yes" from the Guero album.
6. Stop at the half-way point of the decent, where there is a conveniently located Citibank ATM, and grab cash.

See, the stairs aren't so bad. It's all about multi-tasking. (4 stars)
Chris M., Medford: I was expecting to be greeted by angels when I finally got to the top, but there were only gangsters, who I am under the strong impression based on their yelling, that they were in fact, crunk. (3 stars)

2. Sullivan Square

(15 reviews, 3.5 stars)
Elizabeth G., Somerville: This place could be a film set for a movie about nuclear war. You know, the scene where they show what disaster hath been wrought on the planet.

One might come here for a pleasant morning stroll amid concrete flyovers. A stroll in which there are no crosswalks and no sidewalks. … The best part of Sullivan Square is the Schrafft building, with its neon-pink sign, the headquarters of a New England candy company of days gone by. To express your reverence, say it 3x fast, in a teenage-boy Beavis & Butthead tone of voice: "Schraaaaafft..."

One might also come here for the adventure of navigating an 8-way intersection in which approximately only 50% of the streets are labeled. It would be a great starting point for the Amazing Race — drop them here and see if they can figure out what country (decade, universe) they are in! (2 stars)
Jeffrey H., Washington, D.C.: Oh, and why else do I love Sully? Well there's a Dunkins and a convenience store inside. I never fail to laugh whenever I see the old crazy blonde woman behind the Dunkins counter scream, "GET OUTTAH HEYAH" when a pigeon flies in through her window and perches itself on a maple frosted coffee roll. Watching a crazy woman scream and throw cups at a bird-rat? Priceless. And hey, I thoroughly enjoy stepping over to the convenience store to buy some diet cokes and pop tarts whilst I watch the scum of Slummaville spend their paychecks on scratch tickets, megabucks, and Chiclets. (2 stars)
Dan W., Charlestown: Sullivan Square ain't pretty, but neithah's ya motha, kehd. (3 stars)  


3. Courthouse Station

(4 reviews, 3.5 stars)
Nathan R., Waltham: Buckminster Fuller's dream has come true at last! If you desire a glimpse of the shimmering neon space-transit of tomorrow, take a stroll down its gleaming center runway. Let it wash you in its soothing purple glow. 

Courthouse Station is a true testament to human folly, an astounding mixture of architectural brilliance and decadent waste that looks like the foyer of an interplanetary discotheque. It's the most inexplicably bizarre site in the entire MBTA service web.

Nobody's ever there, so bring friends and make love in it. (5 stars)  

4. Airport Station

(7 reviews, 4 stars)
The only non-tourist review:
Andrew H., Somerville: It's on the blue line. The blue line is the most unfortunate line of all the MBTA lines. The only reason that more people hate the green line than the blue line is because not many people ever take the blue line consistently enough to realize how truly miserable it is. … I lived a few blocks from this station for six months and learned its mysterious ways. 

The positive: 
1) Through the park, as you come up on the station, you can see the inbound trains approaching. If you feel like running, you can sometimes catch the train. 
2) It's a very pretty station.
3) The brand new parks on either side of the station are some of the best maintained parks in all of Boston and you can have a great time there. 
4) You can learn about Amelia Earhart on the walls. 
5) There are trains here that can take you away from Airport Station. 

The negative: 
1) You're on the blue line.
2) You live near the airport in a terrible neighborhood.
3) This place is PACKED with tourists.
4) You have to cross some crazy bridge to get to the non-airport side of the neighborhood if you just got off an outbound train here.
5) You're on the blue line.

I guess as I wrote this review I realized more that the Airport station itself isn't terrible, it's just the fact that you're on the blue line and in East Boston that's so terrible. Airport Station is an overall well designed place that the MBTA actually should have spent money on and did successfully. (3 stars)


5. Andrew Station

(6 reviews, 3 stars)
Chris W., Boston: Riding the T when we were younger the voice recording would say "entering Andrew" and the kids on the train always seem to find that funny and laugh. 

6. Copley Square

(4 reviews, 3.5 stars)
James B., Boston: This is a subway station. Subway cars arrive intermittently and take you from here to your destination, or at least somewhat closer to it. The station does this job well, unless of course the cars are delayed. However, this is not the fault of the station. (3 stars)


About WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

Love it, like it or lump it, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority touches nearly everyone's lives in eastern Mass. And it's in financial crisis, with newly announced fare hikes not enough to cover next year's projected $100 million budget deficit. WGBH News features special focus coverage of the tracks and troubles of our public transit system.

About the Author
Danielle Dreilinger Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger is an author and news producer for WGBH.org.

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