My kids spent a week attending camp in town, where you can’t just abandon your car along the roadside for hours on end. The right to abandon your car and proceed on a bike is only extended to actual residents of that neighborhood. I work in Cambridge where you also can’t abandon your car without paying high fees or renting an apartment (also expensive). Go ahead and test my claim; you’ll likely get an expensive ticket for your trouble.
How, then, would I get my kids into their expensive summer day camp and proceed into the office, where I don’t have parking? The train, of course. The perfect solution!
As it turns out, the train is expensive as well. I live in “zone 1,” meaning the least distant from downtown Boston, which nevertheless costs $11.50 round trip. We embarked from the raised platform to enter the last car, where my kids had been taught during previous midday rides to get on the train. Once aboard, my six year old and I proceeded to chatter away, as a good Dad is meant to do with his young daughter, pointing out playgrounds and windblown piles of garbage as we passed through Roslindale and JP. Then came the conductor, who was less interested in seeing my expensive ticket than in alerting me that if we wanted to talk (as we were in the quiet car) we needed to leave and go into one of the loud cars. (Our meditating fellow riders thanked him wordlessly.)
The trips home were equally just so-so. 5:25 p.m. is the heart of rush hour and the crush of passengers meant we wouldn’t get a seat, especially when row after row of 3-seat benches were filled with pairs separated by an uninhabitable middle seat. We did find one car that was practically empty on our first day. “No air conditioning,” the conductor told us. Alas! We sat there anyway and sweltered.
On the up side, my kids were introduced to the concept of aging panhandlers, homeless youths, exiting only at the front and back of the train, and minding the gap.