MBTA air conditioning complaints down, you're just unlucky if you're riding in a sauna car
Air conditioning issues on the T are down from last summer, but the sweat-drenched commute is a real struggle.
Riding on a T bus or train without air conditioning on a boiling hot day makes you wonder how people did it back in the pre-A/C days.
There’s nothing like riding in a crowded car or bus and watching the sweat pour out of the pores of the rush hour commuters who try in vain to play it cool as the pit stains grow. With temperatures expected to hit a near-record 96 degrees on Tuesday, 92 on Wednesday and then cool off the mid-80’s and high 70’s for the rest of the week, T riders are facing at least one more week of potential sauna-like commutes.
“When an AC issue is discovered or reported, an MBTA inspector is dispatched to the vehicle to attempt to reset the circuit breaker and see if the AC will re-activate,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email. “ If that is not successful, the MBTA typically removes the vehicle from service at the end of its current trip. Such issues are immediately entered into the vehicle repair database through the dispatchers’ log system.”
If you’ve had the misfortune of riding in what might feel like an industrial sized lobster pot, you happen to fall into a minority category of ridership. As of noon on Tuesday, the T had five individual train cars and two buses headed for repairs for defunct A/C’s. Those five subway cars (individual cars, not entire trains) and two buses were seven afflicted vehicles out of 488 subway cars and 796 buses. Pesaturo said that on days over 90 degrees, extra staff is deployed at terminus locations, attempting to identify issues before the vehicles go into service.
If all goes well, the A/C kicks in when the temperatures climb over 68 degrees.
“Every subway car and every bus has a number both inside and outside the vehicle,” Pesaturo said. “Getting that number is key to addressing the issue in an expeditious manner. If there is an A/C issue, passengers can call MBTA Customer Service at 617-222-3200, and report it. The MBTA also receives reports via its twitter page.”
A/C-related complaints have decreased 28 percent from last summer, 211 last year compared to 151 this year, from June 1 through Tuesday. During this period of time, about 110 million riders have used the MBTA.
From June 1 through Sept. 8, the Red Line received 41 of the A/C-related complaints, making it the steamiest of the subway lines. During this period of time, about 17 million riders used the Red Line.
But fear not, fellow riders: A/C-related complaints are more common than heat-related complaints, and we are pulling away from the dog days of summer.