MBTA/Transit Glossary

For anyone not familiar with transit words or MBTA terms, this glossary will help. I’m not gonna do every single word, since some of them might be self-explanatory. I’ll add new words whenever they come up. Certain green links in posts will take you to this glossary. Please make a comment if there are words you don’t understand that you want to appear in the glossary.

Automated Fare Collection (AFC): Think of the CharlieCard: a “smart card” that you can store money on repeatedly.
Articulated bus: Basically two buses connected, or a “double bus.”

An articulated bus
From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradlee119/favorites/page17/?view=lg

Below Grade: Below ground level.
Berth: A place where you wait for the bus, as in Bus x arrives at berth 6.
Bunching: A huge problem with buses that run frequently (in the MBTA’s case, Key Bus Routes; see below). The way it works, bus A will stop at every single stop, picking up all of the passengers. Meanwhile, since bus A has picked everyone up, bus B just skips right through those stops, eventually catching up with bus A. But since bus A is ahead, it’s still picking people up, and bus B gets stuck behind bus A. As a result, both buses are late and arrive together. I’ve had this happen to me with four buses in a row!
Countdown Clock: Tells you when the next train is arriving.

A countdown clock.

CNG: Compressed Natural Gas. It’s a fuel source that’s much better for the environment then regular fuel. It is used on the buses with a bump on the roof.

A CNG bus
From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25569766@N07/page10/

Fare gate:  It’s pretty self explanatory; the gates you walk through to enter the station.
Headway: The time between each bus or train.
Key Bus Route: Buses that run every 10 minutes or less weekdays, 15 minutes or less Saturdays, and 20 minutes or less Sundays. For more information, click here.
North Shore express bus: Buses in the 400’s that run Northeast from Boston. A lot of them only run to Wonderland on weekends.
Pedal and Park: A program the MBTA has. You get a special Charlie Card that lets you access bike cages at a number of stations.
Rolling Stock: Trains.
Short-turn: A shorter version of a bus or train, usually to ease crowds on crowded parts of routes.
Trackless Trolley: You may know them as electric buses; these are the buses that run on wires overhead.

A trackless trolley
From: http://gallery.bustalk.info/displayimage.php?album=708&pos=135