Monday, April 20, 2015

Tufts Medical Center

Last summer I had a job that required going to Chinatown once a week. I would always use Tufts Medical Center, since it was closer to where I was working (also, Chinatown Station is pretty awful). Being a jaded commuter then, I really didn't focus too much on the station itself. But I came here for fun recently, so I can give it a proper review now. Huzzah!

Gosh, I forgot just how dingy this platform is!
So yeah, as you can see above, the platform is a bit of a mess. I don't mind the brick walls, but the rest is horrible. The ceiling is really dirty, the middle portion between the tracks has all this white stuff on it, and the floors are unclean. Like Davis, there is some art at the ends of the platform to try to liven things up. It looks really nice, but is overpowered by the dinginess of the station.

It looks really good, though!
Going up the stairs leading to the Washington Street exit, we came across something really gross (I was with my friends Jason and Michael - this was the same day we explored Back Bay). On the side of the stairs, there was this big blob of...something. It was slightly yellowish, but looked shiny, and it was disgusting. I took a picture of it, but, um, hey, look at the pretty mezzanine!

Well, not that pretty, but better than the platform.
One thing I will say about this station is that it does flow incredibly easily. On either end of the station, there's a room with stairs leading to each platform which then goes to the mezzanine. And the main one seems like it handle a lot of people. Again, it flows really well, with a bunch of fare gates on one side and a bunch of fare machines on the other. Nice and simple. As for the aesthetics, it's pretty good compared to the platform. A little boring, but at least it's not dingy.

The main entrance.
The main entrance leads out to Washington Street and the actual Tufts Medical Center. It's a fairly simple entrance, with an elevator, a really wide set of stairs, and an upward-bound escalator. There are some Porter-esque vent things as you go down the stairs, and I still don't know what the heck they're used for. Also, there are a whole bunch of newspaper boxes on the outside of the entrance, which is nice.

The Silver Line bus stop.
There's a stop out here for the SL4 and SL5, as well. Alas, there are no fancy shelters, and there aren't even those countdown clocks they have further down the route (but having used the Silver Line for the aforementioned job, I can tell you those clocks were useless). It's just kind of a sheltered bus stop with some raised brick areas that act as pseudo-benches. Really, this isn't the nicest of bus stops.

The much smaller second mezzanine.
Something that took me a little while to wrap my head around is that this station is oriented diagonally. What can I say, it looks straight when you're down on the platform! But anyway, this means that the second entrance is southwest of the main one, on Tremont Street. Its mezzanine is much smaller, with only two fare gates, and it's pretty bland. Again, it's not as bad as the platform, but it's still pretty awful.

An oddly-angled picture of the entrance.
The entrance, too, is pretty ugly. It has lots of peeling paint and is bland in general. There's quite a contrast between this one and the main one, too. Over here, it doesn't feel as busy or built up - just pretty quiet. This definitely seems like the lesser-used entrance.

My camera did not like this station, as you can see by the blurriness of that train.
Station: Tufts Medical Center

Ridership: It's pretty low - there are a little over 6,100 people who use this station every weekday. Most of these people are probably commuting to the many hospitals around the station, though there are also some residences accessible from the Tremont Street entrance.

Pros: Okay, well, it does flow really well. There's never a doubt here about where to go because of how straightforward it is. And it really does accommodate for a lot of people, at least at the main entrance.

Cons: Aesthetically, though, this station is terrible. The entrances are meh, the mezzanines are bland, and the platform is horrible. Also, there was that blob thing on the stairs. What the heck was that? The world may never know.

Nearby and Noteworthy: If hospitals aren't really your thing, Chinatown is close by, as well as the Theatre District.

Final Verdict: 5/10
Well, Tufts Medical Center is functional, for sure. There aren't too many MBTA stations that are this straightforward, especially on the underground section of the Orange Line (darn you, State, and your endless transfer of death). But I also like my aesthetics, and that's where this station falls flat. The platform is horrible, and the rest is just bland.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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