The perfect MBTA morning commute probably goes something like this - you grab your coffee, your copy of Metro, and settle in to a free seat on a freshly air conditioned bus. But one sure fire way to take the glee out of your T experience is catching shade from a rude driver.
Thanks to the magic of technology, it is easy to see that many riders are not impressed with transit employees, with Tweet after Tweet chronicling rude drivers and unhelpful agents.
[View the story "How Rude!" on Storify]
However, MBTA officials say that the agency has stepped up efforts to improve relations between employees and riders by offering more training, and rewards.
"You’re always going to have customer conflict, but we try to teach them to deal with it," said Charlie Murphy, the MBTA superintendent of subway training, who was one of the developers of "How Can I Help You Today?" an 8-hour training program that was created two years ago. Over 1,000 T workers have taken the course, teaches them how to keep their cool with customers.
Part of the training, Murphy said, shows them how to "unhook themselves" from personal retaliation.
"Because they’re not attacking you personally; they’re attacking the (transit) system," Murphy said.
The extra training may just be doing the trick. While in the MBTA recently, Metro asked a few customers what they thought about the T's attitude.
Overall, those riders we spoke to seemed pleased with how they are treated.
"For the most part, I find that the drivers are pretty helpful," said Rikki Kirchner. "I've never seen anybody freak out, which is weird, because I have lived here for a long time... It doesn't seem like an easy job."
While T worker conduct varies across the board, from good to bad, and everything in between, some bad can sometimes extend beyond the typical catty eye roll.
Last month,@NealEtre Tweeted the MBTA, saying, "My wife yelled at by red line employee for walking past him on escalator. Then he called her (expletive) outside."
The agency responded with an apology, and said "that should never happen."
"We handle each comment differently. If someone Tweets in, we really watch the trends closely," MBTA Spokesman Joshua Robin said. "People are surprised, but we actually check each and every one of those."
T rider Adam Kelly said he knows first hand how tough it can be trying to please people all day, so he is not at all miffed with transit employees if they are not always beaming rays of sunshine.
"They’ve always been friendly enough. Nothing out of the ordinary. I feel like people are just grumpy a--holes, and they’re too nit picky about everything. (The workers) are just doing their jobs, and they have to deal with people all day. That sucks."