One of the most frustrating dilemmas for mass transit advocates is that many (most?) people are exposed to subways and buses only during the worst conditions imaginable.
So there was plenty of bitching about MBTA service on Saturday, when hundreds of thousands of people came to downtown Boston for the Bruins victory parade. The T told the Boston Globe that a record 120,000 people took the commuter rail on Saturday, or almost double the ridership on a typical weekday. And there were plenty of horror stories about crowds stranded on station platforms while packed trains zipped by without stopping on their way into the city.
Is this really a surprise? I imagine a lot of suburbanites are asking, "How do people put up with this every day?", just as they do after New Year's Eve, the Fourth of July, and blizzards that force "drill, baby, drill" SUV owners onto noisy, smelly buses and trains. Some of them may be angry enough to demand cuts in public transit funding on the grounds that there's no point in throwing good money after bad.
Well, we true urbanites don't put up with this every day, and we stay the hell away from the T (or Boston altogether) when the bridge-and-tunnel crowds invade the Hub for a few hours. We know that it's impossible for any public transit system to double its capacity for one day. We also know that no public transit system can or should maintain staff and equipment levels to meet once-in-a-lifetime crowds. Indeed, if a subway system doesn't have crowded trains during rush hour — so packed that lots of people have to let a train or two go by before they can fit on one — it's surely wasting money.
I enjoy luxurious subway service, with short waits and plenty of seats, because I generally travel outside of rush hour. (There are occasional glitches with disabled trains and "signal problems," but they occur most often when unusually large crowds tax the system.) Same thing with popular restaurants: I tend to go on weeknights, when the service is better than on Friday and Saturday nights. Thanks, people who come into the city on weekends, for subsidizing the other nights when these restaurants are bearable!
As for the people injured on an escalator at Back Bay Station: That was terrible and shouldn't have happened. But next time you might consider not getting on an escalator that's overloaded with people who just swarmed off a crowded train. You could take the stairs or even hang back for a minute or two to let the crowd disperse before trying to get out of the station. Believe it or not, those of us who use the T every day are not trampled on a regular basis.