Start a Love Train!

Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, you may have noticed that the ONEin3 team didn’t do much pink/red/heart-shaped anything for you.  Well, we don’t want to move too fast.  But now that we’re past all the mushy love stuff, I think this is worth a look.

Yesterday, @TransitMatters shared the most adorable link via tweet:  love seats!  On buses!

Alright, so it wasn’t that adorable.  In May, a Danish transport company introduced a brief test run of red-upholstered designated “love seats” on more than 100 buses  to encourage flirtation and romance among the city’s passengers.  Sitting in a “love seat” opens you up to more interaction with your fellow passengers, whether you’re married or single, looking or not.

A two-week test to see if people are interested in sitting in seats designated “flirt-friendly” isn’t exactly Casablanca.  More Strangers on a Train.  But if you’ve ridden the Red Line lately and seen the guy who lectures riders on how we need to speak to each other, maybe you’re interested.  (If you’ve heard him serenade riders with the Backstreet Boys, you’re probably seriously considering alternatives.)

But can we find friendship and romance on the T?  Semi-unrelated story: shortly after I first moved to Boston in 2005, I rode on a T with a couple who claimed they’d met on the Red Line, gotten engaged on a Braintree train, took wedding photos on a train, and then were naming their kids after T stops.  Since then, I can’t hear station names and not picture some poor child starting kindergarten with a name like Wollaston Alewife Smith. But I digress.

I couldn’t find any follow-up to last May’s Danish endeavor, but I’m still wondering how well something like that would work in Boston.  Could we shake our reputation for unfriendliness if we gave people who like to chat an opportunity to come together?  I mean, #mbta leads me to believe you’re all spending 40% of your day sitting on trains, so why not make it worth your while?

I know we’d all rather the MBTA focus its attention on more efficient service, but what if we could designate certain parts of trains as Meet & Greet trains?  Or put in a few love seats?  We’ve been packed into ol’ Big Red like sardines and I haven’t heard many matchmaking stories there, so I don’t see why we can’t make our own moves.  Let’s say during non-rush hours, first car of every train is a Meet & Greet Car.  I don’t care, call it what you want.  Would that encourage more interaction between Bostonians?

Tell us what you think.  Will friendly faces and good conversation make you like your transit more?  Would love seats or conversation cars make you more likely to engage with others?  Will anything make you stop hate-tweeting @MBTAGM?  We need answers.

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