Talk:Boston

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This article was the Collaboration of the week between 23 April 2008 and 29 April 2008.

Regarding the scary safety section, I think it would be more accurate to say that Boston suffers from more uncomfortable and sometimes explosive racial tension than many other American cities. It is important to note that the "dangerous" neighborhoods mentioned are pretty far off the beaten tourist tracks. This is not to imply that Wikitravel readers will not explore beyond the typical, but you're also not likely to find trouble on a casual visit to Boston.



Stay safe elided[edit]

Crime and other hazards in Boston are fairly typical for a large American city. For this very reason, we don't need to have the detailed safety info (e.g., have your keys out as you approach you car) that's pretty common for almost all cities. If there's something that's particular for the United States of America, it should be put there.

I'm sorry to take out work that obviously took some time, but it was pretty long. --Evan 02:26, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)

Good call; I (the author of that section) was about to move that safety stuff to its own page, for just that reason.

After having lived in Boston for five years and occasionally making return visits, I find it more racially harmonious than San Francisco/Berkeley/Oakland, where I've been living since 2001. I'm not sure what you mean by raciail uncomfortableness or explosiveness...these are not words that leap to mind when I think of either place. Did you have a particular experience or experiences in mind, or were you thinking of the racial history of the city (revolving around, e.g. school desegregation)?

In the 1990s, there have been actual race riots in Cincinnati and Los Angeles, but certainly not Boston. Certainly I would expect it that it is a lot more tolerant in many ways when compared to, say, many Southern cities - especially smaller ones.

--Beland Mon Jan 26 06:28:46 PST 2004

I didn't say that stuff about race. The person who left that comment didn't read about using talk pages. My personal experience in Boston and the surrounding area is actually limited to about a week in total over my life, and I don't have any particular remembrances of its racial tensions. --Evan 12:21, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)
I said that stuff about race. I hadn't read using talk pages. I grew up in the Boston area, and I think most talk of dangerous neighborhoods there is racially inflected. E.g., it's not dangerous for white people to go to Southie, but for people of color, it could be. Roxbury has many aspects of being a vibrant black community, but white people maybe shouldn't go there at night. Maybe "racial issues" is just something that applies to the United States, or the world, and shouldn't even be talked about here. Maybe it's just common sense. I wasn't really trying to single Boston out as compared to other places; I was just noticing the ways we define specific neighborhoods as dangerous or not, and how that can be a type of code. EmilyHegarty 13:20, 21 Feb 2004 (EST)
Well, thanks for piping up. Yes, especially in the United States, there's a common use of "bad neighborhood" as code for "black neighborhood", "latino neighborhood", or just plain "poor neighborhood."
I think it's probably best for Wikitravel to just tell it like it is. For example, Walnut Creek mentions that people of color can expect police harassment there. Maybe covering some of the "dangerous" neighborhoods in Boston, for both white and non-white travellers. --Evan 08:03, 22 Feb 2004 (EST)
When I lived in Boston in 1971-2 there was lots of racial tension. I sure hope it has gotten better, but that would be a surprise (however pleasant). It seems the city has a long history of being unwelcoming to the latest wave of immigrants. WASPs treated Irish and Italian immigrants badly, who in their turn did the same to people of color. A classic pecking order. Louise Day Hicks -- the local version of George Wallace -- fought integration via busing and had a big constituency. Jonathan Kozol wrote about the condition of Boston's segregated schools in "Death at an Early Age" What was left of the old WASP elites deplored this situation, but didn't actually do much about it. LADave 22:13, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

Help Bostonians![edit]

OK, so, we really need to figure out what to do with this huge list of neighborhoods, districts, suburbs, and what have you. I'm wondering if it'd be possible to do some refactoring. An idea:

A city located just outside of Boston and Cambridge. Somerville is well-known for Davis Square, an intellectual gay-friendly area on the Red Line, which has become a hot spot for young people and representative of spreading gentrification into the city. Tufts University has its undergraduate school spread out over the border of Somerville and Medford. Somerville has a very ethnically diverse population with prominent numbers of Brazilians, Salvadorans, and Haitians. Boston area cult-favorite restaurants Red Bones and Vinny's At Night are both located in Somerville.


Will this actually work? --Evan 02:15, 6 Apr 2004 (EDT)

"Greater Boston" is pretty much equivalent to New_York_(city); following the convention there, which is what I think you are describin, is probably the right thing to do. Though it would be nice to note in the See, Eat, etc. sections on the Greater Boston/NYC pages that more attractions can be found on the specific city/neighborhood pages. The higher-level pages presumably just list the "best of" sites, which should probably also be listed on the low-level pages. -- Beland 02:52, 25 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I disagree; unlike New York, Greater Boston is not a single political entity. I think Greater Boston is probably a lot more a region, like Southern California. --Evan 02:52, 7 Aug 2004 (EDT)
Well, there's the T-accessible urban core of Boston-Brookline-Cambridge-Somerville which you might consider "Greater Boston" and on a getting-around-town level you might consider equivalent to three or more of NYC's five boroughs, and then there's everything out to 128 or 495, which could also be "Greater Boston". I think the census has a Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes that outer layer, and bigger ones that include parts of New Hampshire and Rhode Island. It seems excessive to have three levels of detail through this range, so a 495-scale Greater Boston article and a strictly City of Boston article (with links to other municipalities) makes sense, and that's what we have. But this scoping makes it a little weird to have things like, say, MBTA information in the municipal Boston article, because they apply to multiple municipalities in Greater Boston. Certainly having subarticles for neighborhoods of each municipality is sensible. -- Beland 11:29, 23 August 2006 (EDT)
As someone who lives in Brookline, I agree that Boston-Brookline-Cambridge-Somerville all function together as a city in the way that Newton and Arlington just don't. "Greater Boston" could refer to this "T-accessible urban core" but it is more often used by people who live here to refer to the area inside 95/128, where as most people just say "Boston" even when they mean Cambridge. I'd just call things on the T Boston, treat the areas as Boston areas (Central, Davis, etc.) the note in the description that these places are n separate municipalities. --non-user 21:35, 31 August 2012 (EDT)
I used to live in Boston so i added a bunch of stuff especially restaurants and hotels (no one thought of the triplets at Copley/Pru?) I lived in Back Bay and went to BU. As for the neighborhoods, i support the "greater Boston" concept because once you step outside the central Boston area the number of attractions decrease considerably so its best to group the attractions into a single artile.--Bud001 04:15, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure with what you are agreeing. We certainly do not want to add attractions from the surrounding towns to the Boston article. Too often the large city articles get bogged down with details of everything (much of which should be moved to the districts). Greater Boston is the logical place to point to attractions in the surrounding area cities and towns with just a link such as "Attraction in Someplace. Cool because blah blah.". There's no reason the traveller can't go the extra click and find out about Someplace. It also provides a clearer view of the region IMHO, especially when the region article is filled out properly. There's absolutely no reason to bring Cambridge and Somerville entries into Boston, if that's your suggestion. OldPine 10:34, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
what i mean is to group several of the towns and neighborhoods that has relatively few attractions under the "greater boston" article and leave the longer articles in its location and provide links from the Greater boston page. E.g. Brookline, Brighton, JP, and Chestnut Hill/Newton for example has no real reason to have their own thread. I imagine them to be better daydrip/drive destinations for those visitors who are staying in Boston than destinations by themselves. --Bud001 05:34, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Personally, I think it gets confusing if you start moving links to Boston district articles to Greater Boston. Part of Boston is what its neighborhoods or districts are. They probably don't all need links (some don't have articles now). Those that are just residential can probably be lumped together in one line with that explanation (although businesses there might not agree). Still, I disagree that someplace has to be a destination before it should have an article. If all that Boston/Allston-Brighton or Newton does is give a feel for the area and mention a couple of unique shops, to me it is worthwhile--even if it isn't worth a daytrip (to you).

What's more at issue in this article is that all the listings in Boston need to be moved out to the districts. Then the Boston article would indicate which districts have what types of dining and accommodation. This is the pattern in successfully revamped big city articles for other cities. OldPine 16:00, 9 September 2007 (EDT)

Still a stub[edit]

I re-added the stub message to the end of the page. I think it's important to remember that we have a different standard for stubbiness than, say, Wikipedia. For us, an article has to cover its subject completely, and especially for destination guides, it should provide enough information for a visitor to use as a sole source of information.

We have no hotel or hostel listings for Boston, and most of the restaurant and bar listings lack addresses, phone numbers, or much of a description. In addition, we have a huge list of neighborhoods with no context, descriptions, or district guides.

I'm not trying to knock the great work that's gone into this guide, but I wouldn't recommend it (yet) as the sole source of information for someone travelling to Boston. Would you? --Evan 02:50, 7 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Yeah I debated this myself. What I eventually did was use the test found in Wikitravel:Stub articles, "Would the article be useful if someone was trying to visit the city or country it covers?" I feel that the Boston article, though not complete, passes this test as it is certainly useful to someone travelling to Boston. And size-wise it's the 9th largest city article on Wikitravel.
About not having hotel or hostel listings, we actually do (I added one last week), but they're in the proper district section now (Boston/Allston-Brighton#Sleep). This should obviously be mentioned under the main Boston#Sleep section. And I've just started work on reorganizing the districts ... I've also begun looking up restaurant addresses and info. -Nickpest 03:57, 7 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Been Here[edit]

I have been here. Rspga49 (talk) 15:58 September 28, 2004 (EDT)

Maybe you should put a list of places you've been on your user page, rather than adding notes to the talk page for each one. --Evan 17:21, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

External Links that were removed[edit]

The below External Links were removed. Some links should be placed into the article, other do not work within the Wikitravel:External links policy and their content should be integrated into the article. -- Ilkirk 12:41, 29 Nov 2005 (EST)

  • Fodor's online mini-guide to Boston area "
  • Logan Airport (Info about flights, etc.) [1]
  • Getting to Boston/Cambridge from Logan Airport [2]
  • Amtrak (US national passenger railway) [3]
  • MBTA (Boston/Cambridge buses, subway, etc.) [4] Note: Boston refers to its subway as "the T."

Phone Numbers[edit]

This area, and all of eastern Massachusetts, now (since 2001) must dial 10 digits. According to MoS (and the huge boondoggle of a discussion there), isn't the format +1 617-XXX-YYYY (area code not italicized) ? I'd be happy to do the edits. OldPine 07:27, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

Looking at Wikitravel:Phone numbers, I believe you are correct. My reformating of phone numbers has always been to put the +1 and area code in italics, but the standard is clear that you do not put anything in italics that is required to dial local. As you may have seen there is an ongoing discussion on phone number formating. Feel free to join in that conversation. It is possible that the standard could be changed at some point. From what I have seen formatting is all over the board right now. Thanks for your efforts. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 08:26, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
No, that seems correct. Good eye! --Evan 08:50, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

Style Notice[edit]

This page has a style warning at the top. I've been trying to chip away at the formatting, but could use some comment as to what lacks. One thing I do see is a lack of detail in the "Do" and "See" sections. OldPine 17:20, 18 June 2006 (EDT)

That notice must be real old. It needs to be taken off. This article should also be "Usable" at least. Feel free to take off the style warning and add "Usable". -- Tom Holland (xltel) 17:25, 18 June 2006 (EDT)

Map comments[edit]

Sapphire requested that I comment on the map. Some info that might be helpful to clarify:

  • The two parts of the Silver Line don't connect. The Dudley-Downtown half is "Silver Line Washington Street", and the other part is "Silver Line Waterfront" and the fares are different. The Waterfront has three different lines (SL1, SL2, and SL3), one for each outbound terminus. I would recommend adding the designations.
  • I would recommend adding the designations for the B, C, D, and E branches of the Green Line.
  • There is an underground walkway in the paid area between Park Street and Downtown Crossing, for direct Green-Orange transfers.
  • Bowdoin Station has restricted hours, but is within walking distance of Government Center. (What's up with the font on that label, BTW?)

Obviously there are some missing features - station names, wheelchair accessibility, commuter rail, etc. But this is a great start! If tweaking, I would recommend expanding the crowded downtown portion so the labels on the Orange Line don't get confused with the Green-E and Silver Line and Red Line labels, and so you can write more of them horizontally.

Purely schematic maps like this one are certainly useful for navigating the system, but I find maps that show where subway stops are on the street grid, to be even more useful. The T has such a map for its entire system on its site. It doesn't make much sense to me to try to recreate it; there's a pretty good chance the T would agree to release its maps under an acceptable license if they were asked. Actually I wonder whether works of this agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are automatically in the public domain, or if some private entity holds the copyright. -- Beland 11:12, 23 August 2006 (EDT)

If you could ask the T agency about relicensing the maps under CC-by-SA 1.0 that would be awesome, but you don't have to. Which, lines are B, C, D, and E? I didn't add the all the station names to the green lines, because the maps that I was using to create that map actually left most of them off for the Green lines. The Bowdoin font is the result of me getting pissed off at the different layers of the maps and I finally left the station name as-is because it was turning into a hassle, but it can be changed. As for the station hours I'd like to have that information in the get around section. I'll look into adding handicap accessible info to the map. Thanks. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 14:41, 23 August 2006 (EDT)

Need better pictures[edit]

Crappy pictures... we need better pictures of boston.. the current picture makes boston look like a tiny nondescript city

Driver's question[edit]

When i used to live in Boston, i heard that (i never knew for sure) that by law Drivers are ALWAYS at fault when they hit a pedestrian even if the person is jaywalking. Is it true? --Bud001 04:01, 26 February 2008 (EST)

I'm not a lawyer, but if you're a driver, those are words to live by. "Always" is a dangerous modifier of course, and there are no doubt situations where the pedestrian's actions would mitigate the driver's negligence. Presumption of fault would be with the driver just as it would be with someone rear-ending a car. -- OldPine 07:33, 26 February 2008 (EST)

DISTRICTS (again)[edit]

(See also: Help Bostonians! above) OK, I've started moving listings from the main Boston article to the districts and will continue until it's done. I know Boston reasonably well, but an having trouble with the defining lines for the districts. Clearly a map will be a necessity to a good article anyways.

CURRENT (7/27/08) DISTRICTS:

  • Allston and Brighton (Allston-Brighton, All-Bright) are to the west of Boston proper. Brighton, in particular, has a large number of apartments housing students.
  • Back Bay - the upscale area of Boston with fine shops, fine dining and great location.
  • Bay Village
  • Beacon Hill was once the neighborhood of Boston's "Brahmin" upper crust.
  • Charlestown is across the Charles River to the north. It is where you will find the Bunker Hill Monument.
  • Chinatown - Great Asian food, great herbalists and next to downtown and the theatre district.
  • Dorchester (Dot) - Pretty much a troubled area which tourists should avoid.
  • Downtown - The hub of tourist activity with Faneuil Hall, the Freedom Trail, Boston Gardens, Boston Common. Also the center of government and business.
  • East Boston (Eastie) is on a peninsula across Boston Harbor from the main bulk of the city. Logan Airport is in East Boston. Several underwater tunnels connect East Boston to the rest of the city.
  • Fenway-Kenmore (The Fens, Kenmore Square)
  • Hyde Park (HP)
  • Jamaica Plain (JP)
  • Mattapan
  • Mission Hill
  • North End is the city's Italian neighborhood with excellent restaurants. It is also the location of the Old North Church.
  • Roslindale (Rozzie)
  • Roxbury (The Bury)
  • South Boston (Southie) A proud residential neighborhood with a waterfront district on its north side.
  • South End
  • West End
  • West Roxbury (Westie, West Rox, WR)

That's 21 districts (what the article calls "neighborhoods"), and I see no overlap. To me that means we don't want to add many districts. Just as a reference Chicago (star article) has 10 map areas encompassing 20 districts, San Francisco has 14 districts. There are also some other Boston "districts" such as the Financial District, Waterfront, and the Theatre District commonly in use in the city. These could potentially be sub-districts.

A problem, not uncommon I'm sure, is where to draw the lines. 1. Should the North Station area be included in Boston/North End? 2. Is the Theatre District in Boston/Bay Village (which I'd never heard of before) or Boston/South End or even Boston/Chinatown. 3. Where, on its south border does Boston/Back Bay end?

Comments of any nature welcome. OldPine 12:37, 27 July 2008 (EDT)

I haven't been to Boston, unfortunately, so I can't comment on the proposed divisions. My counsel from the Chicago process, though, is that it's best to start small and divide further as the articles grow — say, once they hit 'guide' and there's still plenty more to add. Chicago has 22 articles now (not counting the main article or itineraries/topics), but we started with ten and didn't arrive at the current set for quite a while. Chicago/Bridgeport-Chinatown is a good example of two smaller districts that are thematically distinct but work together nicely for a traveler's purposes. Gorilla Jones 20:47, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Bay village should be merged to South end or Theatre district. Its too small to warrant a full article and most people wont even know they are in Bay village (they either think they are in Theatre dist/ Chinatown or South End). I havent heard of a "West End" of Boston (London, sure). Most people refer to North end of South end, but East Boston. Merging Allston-Brighton is the right call. Other distrcts that people might mistake for Boston is Brookline. --Bud001 03:42, 30 July 2008 (EDT)
I agree with the previous poster: get rid of the West End section. It hasn't really existed for almost 50 years now: I doubt most Wikitravel readers will care much about it, save for diehard historians. As for North Station, I'd put it in Boston/Downtown: to me, a building isn't in the North End unless it's on the other side of the former Central Artery route (Cross St. or Surface Road now, I think). To me, the Back Bay's southern border is Columbus Ave., but you could probably make a case for Tremont St. as well. --Jimby 16:58, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
OK, Bay Village is redirected to South End. West End redirected to Allston-Brighton. Need to find a map now and delineate the areas. OldPine 11:08, 31 August 2008 (EDT)
Ack, the West end is a substantial neighborhood between Charles/MGH and North Station, and is quite far from Allston-Brighton! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_End,_Boston -- Beland 20:59, 30 September 2012 (EDT)

Faneuil Hall[edit]

I just noticed that the Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of the top 5 most-visited locations in the U.S. this year. Feeling ignorant, I checked the Wikitravel pages, but there's no description of what exactly this thing is! Neither on this page nor Boston/Downtown. Pls help! --Peter Talk 22:08, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Charlestown[edit]

In the stay safe section of the Boston article saids the following. Some neighborhoods (Roxbury, Mattapan, and parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Charlestown - all of which are off the main tourist path)

Charlestown would be a main tourist attraction. First the Bunker Hill Monument, Old Ironsides (Navy Yard), and the Freedom Trail all end up going through Charlestown. Charlestown is also so close to everything in Downtown Boston that you could easily walk into it from Downtown Boston without even knowing it. Not much in tourism in the other parts listed but significant history happened in all those neighborhoods, and are places were a lot of out of town college students reside.

I think the writer meant that the dangerous areas of those neighborhoods are off the main tourist path. OldPine 21:01, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

Why is BOSTON a guide article?[edit]

Why is Boston a guide article when there are districts that are still OUTLINES???? Every district needs to be usable, regardless of how good the main article is! I won't change it, because I want a good reason! Keep smiling, Edmontonenthusiast 11:07, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

NYC subway riders, Critical Mass, Bostonians[edit]

As a resident of NYC for about 20 years, I can assure you that it is common practice for those wishing to enter the train to defer to those leaving the train. Chicago is more hit or miss. I think it is kind of cheap for a Wikitravel article to be taking a dig at another city like that, especially when it is not true.

I do not think Wikitravel should be encouraging its visitors to go to Boston and break its laws by participating in Critical Mass. There have been incidents with motorists, police, and other cyclists at these events and it is not a good idea for a tourist (especially international) to risk getting injured or in legal trouble. Not to mention it is incredibly rude to the pedestrians, motorists, and law enforcement. I even find it hypocritical because later on the article advises the reader not to get involved in protests.

I think there should be a section about the character of Bostonians toward outsiders, like many other articles do (including NYC). In several visits, I have found them to be very cold and provincial (though I would not say hostile). This is less pronounced in the college areas, where there are a lot of outsiders living there. Kuvopolis 13:47, 30 April 2009 (EDT)

Way too many neighbourghood subsection without a good outline[edit]

I think there are now too many neighbourghood subsection without a decent outline - or a visual of the 'important' areas. If an area is listed an then regarded as "a residential neighbourhood", does it really need to be there? I'm about to visit Boston for the first time in a few days, and I'm quite confused – the main article is split in so many subsections that I wouldn't know where to start. This is especially true when all the attractions are being treated as 'equal' in the main article – in other words, Wikitravel doesn't recommend anything over another thing. Knowing very little about the city, I have to look outside Wikitravel to first find out the so-called main attractions. Just my opinion, but anyway. -Antti Taehtinen

It is an issue that comes up often, how to cover the detail and hidden gems in the districts, without losing focus on the main attractions in the main article. The way we try to make it work, is to highlight the main attractions in the top level article, with pointers to the district articles which may contain many more attractions and detail. So, the "good outline", does belong in the Boston article. Perhaps you would consider improving it after your visit. --inas 19:19, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

Climate > also in degree celsius[edit]

lots of this 16 million visitors a year are most likely from a place where they use degree celsius instead of fahrenheit to measure the temperature. therefore i and probably many more would appreciate if this can be added. thx --91.43.125.157 16:13, 15 September 2010 (EDT)

Wikitravel:Plunge forward. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:06, 15 September 2010 (EDT)

District Map[edit]

I'm think we should create a district map for Boston but we need to decide:

  • Are Faneuil Hall and the Old State House in Downtown or Financial District? They are currently listed under both.
  • Is West End supposed to be combined into Downtown? If yes, then Downtown would be U-shaped which I think would look awkward.

Sumone10154 23:15, 28 January 2011 (EST)

Statuses[edit]

These are all the statuses for Boston and its neighborhoods:

Boston

Article Status
Main Article Usable
Allston-Brighton Usable
Back Bay Usable
Beacon Hill Usable
Charlestown Usable
Chinatown Usable
Dorchester Usable
Downtown Guide
East Boston Usable
Fenway-Kenmore Usable
Financial District Usable
Jamaica Plain Usable
Mission Hill Outline
North End Usable
Roxbury Outline
South Boston Usable
South End Usable

–sumone10154 14:38, 9 February 2011 (EST)

That is a lot of districts for a compact city like Boston. Might we be better off condensing many of them together? (I can't see why we need both Roxbury and West Roxbury at this stage, for one, and the Financial District could easily merge into one of its neighbors.) -- D. Guillaime 20:20, 12 February 2011 (EST)
We could do that. Financial District could be merged into Downtown. Hyde Park and Mattapan were originally part of Dorchester before becoming separate neighborhoods, so they could be merged there. Same thing for West Roxbury, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain into Roxbury. That would bring the number of districts down from 20 to 14. Does anyone else agree with this proposal? –sumone10154 22:08, 12 February 2011 (EST)
I agree. I was just in Boston last week, and with so many districts listed, I had no idea where one ended and another began. When you're done, can someone make a map to clear things up, so travelers don't have to go by textual descriptions alone? --BigPeteB 11:24, 15 May 2011 (EDT)

Pronunciation of Faneuil[edit]

How do you say this word? I usually just mumble and hope people understand what I said. Maybe a pronunciation could be added to the guides? BigPeteB 10:14, 2 September 2011 (EDT)

I think it's usually pronounced "FAN-yull" (rhymes with Daniel) or "FAN-you-ull" (rhymes with manual). Eco84 19:49, 27 October 2011 (EDT)

Boston accent[edit]

BOSTON ACCENT!!! - I'm astonished to find no mention of the world famous Boston accent and dialect here! No travel guide could possibly be complete without any mention of this! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 108.49.23.18 (talkcontribs)

Drink Tweaks[edit]

I tweaked two small things in the drink section. First, I clarified that the public transit shuts down before the pubs do except on Saturday and Sunday. Boston has recently moved to having the public transit open until 3AM on Friday and Saturday, with most bars closing by 2AM. So, you are not going to get stranded unless it is a work night. As a Bostonian resident, let me say, this is awesome. Yeah new mayor! Additionally, I clarified that not only are most places 21+, but that THEY WILL ID YOU. Lots of visitors, especially visitors from outside of the US, get a nasty surprise when they find out that despite the fact that they are obviously 30+, they can't get into a bar without an ID. Boston cards for 21+ places compulsively. It doesn't matter how old you obviously look, bring an ID (US license or passport). Seriously. -A Bostonian —The preceding comment was added by 209.6.42.124 (talkcontribs)

MBTA Subway - Customs and courtesies[edit]

As someone who is relatively new to public transportation, I'm constantly checking wikitravel in new cities so that I am better prepared to integrate seamlessly with the crowd. However, when I arrived in Boston I encountered several things that were not addressed here:

1) When the T is at street level (above ground, i.e. on Comm Ave), sometimes all the doors open to allow passengers off, but that also gives onboarding passengers a chance to sneak on without paying the fare which is located with the driver at the front and back. Only once during my 20-min trip did I hear the driver say over the loudspeaker "If you got on in the middle, please come up and pay your fare." Obviously, this is impossible to enforce and it seems like it's on the honor system, which was confirmed by a couple locals when I asked. I eventually made my way to the front, squeezing past dozens of people and moving only when we were stopped, and paid my fare when I exited, but in reality it was a lot of trouble to go to just to pay $2.10. The whole ordeal was confusing and uncomfortable since I didn't have any heads up about this. Recommendation: does anyone have input or instructions for visitors, i.e. wait for the T at the sign that says "first car stops here", or some insight on what happens if you get caught riding free, or the attitude of riders who perceive you as a freeloader?

2) This guide mentions using the stop tape, however, I had never had experience with stop tapes, only the cables that you pull, and so I had to figure it out on the fly just by watching other people. What I found is that the stop tape can be located in some odd places, and on a busy day you may find yourself not within reach of one due to crowding. Also, there are some seats/standing spots on the subway where a stop tape is not even visible, and that's because it's around the corner or being blocked by a person. In this case, I suggest that visitors consult their smart phones or else memorize the names of the two or three stops before their final destination, so they have time to make their way to a stop tape if necessary.

3) Why even mention Charlie Tickets at all? It's a more expensive fare, it's paper you have to pull out each time (and be careful not to fold or damage), and it's going to expire at the end of the day or week anyway. The Charlie Card costs nothing to obtain, is contactless, is reloadable, and offers a discounted fare. This seems like a no-brainer to me, and additionally it was just confusing that the MBTA website and their employees tried to sell me on one or the other based on what kind of traveling I would be doing during my stay. No, just no. The card is the best way to go no matter how long you're staying or how often you ride.

4) The only complaints I have about the Charlie Card (and they're huge ones) is that you can't check your balance online, and you have to wait until the following day to use credit you've added from the website. I've been all over the MBTA website and Charlie Card management page, and I assure you that as of November 2014, there is no option to check the balance of a registered Charlie Card. You can add/remove cards, or add money to one, but you can't see how much you have left unless you tap it to a kiosk or vending machine in person. Also, if you add value from the website, you have to wait until 5am the following day before you can tap it to a reader and use the money. This was frustrating when I needed to add value at 10pm, which I would use to get to the airport before 5am the following day, without having to walk several hours to the nearest station for a CharlieCard vending machine.

5) Getting on the subway is a rushed process because there is normally a lot of people waiting to get off and get on, and the driver wants to get out of there as quickly as possible to stay on schedule. This means that you get in line, and you watch people in front of you quickly tap their card to the reader, or jam some change into the machine and move on, and there are people waiting anxiously behind you (sometimes in the cold, depending on the season). So naturally, I never got a chance to study the machine when I tapped my card in order to understand all the information it was giving me. I assume that it's the cost that's being deducted from my card, and maybe it shows the balance remaining? That would be really helpful, so that I know if I have enough money on the card for the return trip home or if I need to stop at a kiosk (see #4 above). But I can imagine the looks I would get if I stood over the machine for 10 seconds watching the screen like an idiot while people are waiting to get on with their daily commute. Kjekk (talk) 14:12, 21 December 2014 (EST)