Over dinner with a friend the other night, I was explaining that the T text messages I receive whenever the Red Line is down always threaten to take over my inbox.

“It’s ridiculous. I keep threatening to just see how many I get in a certain span of time…”

With those words, the 48 Hour T Test was born. I kept track of each text sent about the Red Line on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 22 and 23. The results are as follows, listed exactly as they were written:

  1. Red Line experiencing 10-15 minute delays Ashmont to JFK due to disabled train. 12/22/2009 10:33 AM
  2. Red Line due to a disabled train at Alewife Station service will be suspended at Harvard Station. Substitute bus service will accommodate passen Dec. 22, 4:27 pm
  3. Red Line experiencing 10-15 min delays Alewife to Park Street due to switch problems at Alewife. 12/23/2009 4:34 AM
  4. Red Line: expect 5-10 min delays between 6:30 am and 9:30 am – Alewife to Park Street due to switch problem at Alewife. 12/23/2009 4:34 AM
  5. Red Line: expect 5-10 min delays between 6:30 am and 9:30 am- Alewife to Harvard due to switch problem at Alewife. 12/23/2009 4:34 AM
  6. Red Line is being diverted due to power problem. A bus shuttle will run between North Quincy an JFK. 12/23/2009 7:42 AM
  7. Red Line experiencing 25-30 min delays due to power problem 12/23/2009 7:57 AM
  8. Red Line experiencing 15-25 min delays Braintree to JFK due to power problem 12/23/2009 7:57 AM
  9. Red Line experiencing 10-15 min southbound delays due to disabled train at Park Street 12/23/2009 8:51 AM
  10. Red Line is on or near schedule 12/23/2009 9:37 AM
  11. Upcoming Bus Replacement Service Saturday, January 2 to Monday, January 4 Beginning at the start of service on Saturday, Dec. 23 9:51 am
  12. Red Line experiencing 10 min southbound delays due to disabled train at Kendall 12/23/2009 1:19 PM
  13. Red Line Braintree branch is experiencing 15-20 min delays. 12/23/2009 8:54 PM
  14. Red Line service is on or near schedule 12/23/2009 9:52 PM
  15. Red Line Ashmont branch is experiencing 15-20 min delays 12/23/2009 10:43 PM
  16. Red Line service is on or near schedule 12/23/2009 11:36 PM

Now there are a couple of things to note.

First, Tuesday’s notices were few and far between, which was funny considering that a train derailed. You would think that this is the time you let people know about what’s going on, but clearly I’m not thinking with a T mentality.

Second, one of the most important messages – the one about the bus replacement – was cut off.

Lastly, this is what I rely on to get from Point A to Point B on a daily basis. And yet when I look at it this way, bringing my car into the city and dealing with traffic and parking woes starts to look really quite sensible.

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