I recently took a job in the suburbs which means commuting by the dreaded commuter rail. I'm three weeks in, and I have to say, once you get the hang of it, the commuter rail is a snap. Here is my gal's guide to traveling by train:
1. Download the MBTA app. While other train schedule apps like Embark are helpful for T riders, when taking the commuter rail, nothing can substitute for the real thing. The app is KEY because you can buy your ticket on your phone which saves time and money.
2. Check alerts. Once you have the MBTA app, check for alerts on your commuter rail line about an hour before taking the train. This is a HUGE time saver. If you know ahead of time that your train is 15 mins late, you can use that precious time to hit dunks, or send a few snapchats to your gal pals rather than stand at a creepy train station for an unnecessary amount of time.
3. Pick a two-seater spot that faces forward. I am very prone to motion sicknesses, and though the train rides are often smoother than the average green line adventure, it is still very helpful to face forward. Sitting in a two seater reduces the likeliness that you'll have to sit next to a smelly stranger with ineffective headphones.
4. Speaking of headphones, BRING SOME. Even if you plan to read or snooze, having a pair of headphones nearby can come in handy, especially if a pack of gossipy teeny-boppers decide to sit behind you. Learning the latest ways underage kids score beer is really not what I feel like listening to after a long exhausting day at work. (Wow, I sound old, but you know you agree!)
5. Breath deeply. Yoga and meditation skills can help reduce anxiety when your train is running late, or the smelly dude sits next to you, or if the teeny boppers start singing Bieber. Just breath. You will survive. You've dealt with worse.
Voila! No more hell on wheels!