Every T Line in Boston, Ranked From Worst to Most Acceptable (but Still Pretty Bad)

The MBTA is a weird entity. Occasionally gratifying, yes, on those rare days when it manages to get you from point A to point B on time and with little ballyhoo. But more often than not, the T is, in fact, the worst. But that doesn’t mean all MBTA lines are made equally. To prove that, we’ve ranked every Boston T line from most unfavorable to, well... least unfavorable.

The Green Line in Boston
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

5. Green Line

The city’s oldest subway line is also its most maddening. How so? Let us count the ways:

  • You can sit on the B line and watch as cars, bikers, and pedestrians all reach their destinations quicker than you.
  • During the school year, the BU populace that clogs every last car makes you crave the confines of a gas-guzzling SUV.
  • During the summer, Sox fans evoke similar ennui.
  • A co-worker once showed up half an hour late to a meeting explaining that her Green Line train had caught fire, and none of us blinked.
  • Boylston might be the stupidest stop in the entire city, being that it’s about 100ft away from Park St.
  • But that's only trumped by the unending BU pauses (they're literally a block apart in some cases).
  • And why even talk about its snow woes at this point...
The Silver Line in Boston
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

4. Silver Line

Because first off, it’s a bus. A double-long bus, sure, but a bus nonetheless. Which means you’re at the mercy of the city’s insoluble traffic patterns. And while it serves large swaths of the South End and the Seaport, it really handles itself like an airport shuttle. Which means schedules get aborted all the time. Then there’s the fact that you’re waiting outside at every single stop (see: it’s a bus). And why do people seem to eat on the Silver Line more than any other transit line? Do the narrow confines somehow encourage appetite? Honestly, we’re genuinely happy the city now provides public transport to previously neglected parts of Boston, but come on... it’s a bus.

Forest Hills Station in Boston
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

3. Orange Line

Yes, it can be dirty and cramped and loud. And yes, its on-time record is abysmal. But here's something else to think about: as we write this, an Orange Line train caught fire 24 hours ago. Also, a passenger was arrested a couple of weeks ago for a "lewd act" towards another passenger. Also also, there was that famous blow job seen ‘round the world (or at least in the New York media): a BJ performed on the State Street platform... at 2:30pm... that was photographed.

All that said, we think the Orange Line gets an unfair rap. It’s no more or less dangerous than any other system, and it meets up with every line in the city. So it’s like the MBTA connector.

The Blue Line in Boston
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

2. Blue Line

Honestly, it’s all about the escalators for us. Those horrifying, narrow, child-eating escalators at stops like Aquarium that break down when they’re not ensnaring our shoelaces. On the other hand, a report released by the MBTA earlier this year found that the Blue Line had the best on-time record of any Boston system. So there’s that. On the other other hand -- you know, because we’re octopods -- late last year the Blue Line underwent "urgent tunnel repairs," which does make us just a tad leery. But still, it’s your only toll-free way to get to Eastie. And now that it’s summer, KO does beckon. So while Wonderland greyhound racing may be defunct, Revere Beach is still right across the street from the station.

The Red Line in Boston
Flickr/Julius Seizure

1. Red Line

It’s not to say there’s nothing to complain about. Schedule delays are routine, as are unannounced and/or decade-long bridge and track repairs, and most of the city’s manspreading and backpack assaults seem to take place on the Red Line. But there’s some good, too: the cars are generally cleaner and wider; a fair number of the stations have been rebuilt; Porter Square’s escalators still feel like they belong to another, more cosmopolitan city; and whenever we’ve seen dogs on the T, they’ve been on the Red Line. Sure, fires happen... but not all the time!

Um, OK, so that’s all we’ve got for the Red Line. Call it the best of the worst. Cool?

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Meaghan Agnew has ridden the T for decades, which explains why she now has an Uber problem. Follow her commuting complaints at @meaghandeth.