Friday, January 11, 2008

Late-Night Train Travel

Last Friday, my friends and I went out to see Juno. (Cute movie—highly recommended.) Our show got out around 9, so we proceeded to hit the Intermission Tavern for some post-movie drinks. A's boyfriend got out of work around 10:30, but didn't end up at the bar until 11. After ordering some fries and another round, we realized the last train to Oak Grove would be coming by soon. We hastily paid our tab and went around the corner to the Chinatown stop.

It was around midnight when we got to the station, but we saw that the gate was still open. We walked downstairs and found no T employees around. After paying our fare, we saw some other people waiting around for a train.

We stood around in the cold train tunnel. A couple of T cops walked onto the platform, then walked away. A train went by on the opposite track. By the time 1:15 rolled around, we decided if a train didn't come in five minutes, we'd grab a cab.

Just then, a T official came into the station and told us we'd missed the last train. Naturally, we freaked out.

"We've been waiting here for nearly an hour!" my friend M spat at him.

"There's no sign upstairs that says what time the last train arrives," A pointed out.

"And some T cops were just here and didn't say anything," I said as we were herded up escalator to the street.

The T official was patient with us. He explained to us that the T doesn't have the money to staff both the Chinatown and Downtown Crossing stops that late, so he has to shutter the Downtown Crossing stop then drive to Chinatown and close that one up too.

I brought up the T cops who'd come by. "They don't care," the official said bitterly.

He did give us one piece of advice. When the last train gets to Downtown Crossing, it stands by for a little while. So if you think you've missed the last train out, head toward the more northern stops and you might still have a shot. I'm still not pleased that the T doesn't staff one of its sketchiest stops late at night, but I did learn that a cab to Wellington doesn't cost too much from downtown either.

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