Baker took the T ‘just like other people do’
After resisting the idea, he rode Blue Line to work
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER, who last year resisted calls for him to ride the MBTA, says he rode the Blue Line to the State House somewhere between 10 and 20 times in January and February.
The governor didn’t spell out why he suddenly decided to hop on the T rather than ride his SUV to work, but he made it sound as if hopping on the subway system was nothing out of the ordinary. “I was riding the Blue Line just like other people do,” he said at a State House press conference on Thursday.
Baker first mentioned his subway riding at an MBTA-related press conference on Tuesday. “I was riding the Blue Line a lot in January and February,” he said. “And I was actually kind of surprised that, for one reason or another, the media never found out.”
Riding the T is a big departure for Baker. Both he and his staff strenuously rejected calls that he should gain some personal experience with the T by riding it occasionally. The governor said his job is not to ride the T but to make sure the transit authority has the money it needs to operate safely. Baker aides also said the logistics of the governor riding the T would present immense challenges.
“There’s a trooper with me somewhere, but generally speaking when either one of us is in a public place they give us a pretty big berth,” Baker said, referring to security for him and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.The governor seemed delighted with his subway experience, recounting how most passengers took little note of him with their heads down staring at their phones. He said some would occasionally look up, see him (Baker mimicked the riders with a surprised look on his face), and then go back to looking at their phones.
“I had a few people come up and talk to me,” he said, but quickly added that it was no big deal. The general reaction, he said, was “whatever.”