UMass Boston is a commuter school, and with that comes a lot of students who take public transportation. We all know the horrors of taking the Red Line on a delay or packing yourself into a car at North Station. Not to mention, the annoying timing of the commuter rail that never seems to run on time. I am one of these commuting students and I am proud of it—broke, tired, but proud that I force myself to make my hour-plus long commute everyday. For me it starts with an Uber, then the Commuter Rail, followed by the Orange or Green Line, the Red Line, and finally the shuttle to the school. If I was not talking about myself I would say that person was insane! Here are a few ways I survive my commute.
The first thing is to do your homework on the train. “But Rose, I cannot pull my laptop out on the Red Line!” Okay, use your mini hand held computer called a phone. You can download apps like Google Docs or Word to write papers on. What about that book you have to read? Okay, I know it is hard to sometimes read on the train, but the best part about it is that we have audio books. Youtube is full of videos that read a book to you, and if you cannot use Youtube, download the audio for it. Not only does doing your homework make the time go by quicker, it also makes the time you are on the train less of a waste. If you take the commuter rail then the chance for you to be able to do homework is even better. Go to the double decker cars and fight for one of those table seats. I get so much homework done sitting down and waiting for my stop because of those tables.
Get the train pass through the school! It is a lot of money up front, but in the long run, it will save you so much money. I get the Zone 3 pass every month, and in total I pay $522 for a semester or four months. This is with the 50 percent discount, but there is also the 11 percent discount that is $928 per semester. The real kicker for me is if I got a monthly pass every month from the MBTA without the school’s help then I would be paying $261 a month, or $1,044 a semester. This includes your commuter rail, your subway, and yes, the bus as well!
Plan to be at North Station an hour before your first class. I have found out that if I am at North Station by 9 a.m., then I will be able to make it to the Campus Center by 9:40 a.m. for my 10 a.m. class. You need to plan for the MBTA to not work for you at all. I love Boston, and I mean I love it a lot, but the transportation system rhymes with something like mit. As much as it sucks to admit, you need to be able to get to school on time. The money you send to attend school should not be wasted due to the fact the transportation system is very flawed. Then, for an added bonus, if you have nothing to do, read the comments on the MBTA twitter. It is a comedy show in the palm of your hand.