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Mission to 'get eyes on the T' accomplished: Handful of trains now sport googly eyes

A Green Line train sporting new googly eyes on its front. (Courtesy MBTA)
A Green Line train sporting new googly eyes on its front. (Courtesy MBTA)

Back in April, a group of local residents held a sparsely attended rally and march on Boston Common to ask the T for just one thing: to put some googly eyes on the trains.

Well, they got it: Five trains, including a commuter rail train, now will offer passengers thousand-yard, googly-eyed stares.

The T confirmed Wednesday it installed the decals thanks to the appeal from the group, “Googly Eyes on the MBTA.”

“After receiving public suggestions, our team found a safe way to install these ‘googly’ eyes on a limited number of vehicles … as part of our ongoing efforts to bring moments of joy to our riders’ daily commutes,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement.

@wbur
Back in April, a group called Googly Eyes on the T presented Boston’s transit authority, the @MBTA, with one simple request: to put googly eyes on the front of T trains. And we found out today that the MBTA decided to do just that, on 4 subway trains and 1 commuter rail train. We caught one on Wednesday on Comm Ave. #massachusetts #mbta #boston #bostontiktok #bostontransit #googlyeyes
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Arielle Lok, one of the organizers behind this grassroots vision for the T, told WBUR she was thrilled the group’s purpose had been fulfilled.

“From the beginning, we were very, very straightforward with it,” she said. “We only have one demand, and that’s ‘get eyes on the T.’ ”

Lok found out after a friend sent her a photo. Then, she got an email from Pesaturo. She said she ran upstairs to tell co-organizer and roommate John Sanchez the good news.

” ‘Dude, look at these photos!’ ” she said she told him.

Lok said the goal was always to brighten people’s day and bring some joy to commuters.

“It feels really, really rewarding to actually see it done in practice,” she said. “I think it really does inspire a lot of just more like, you know, civic duty for the sake of silliness, too.”

A commuter rail train featuring some googly eyes on the front. (Courtesy MBTA)
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A commuter rail train featuring some googly eyes on the front. (Courtesy MBTA)

Passengers might arguably find the call for whimsy even more poignant after problems in recent years on the T have forced many commuters to face delays and route changes — even safety woes.

Pesaturo said the agency is always looking for creative ways to improve rider experiences.

“We hope these initiatives, combined with our transit ambassadors’ dedication and our staff’s hard work on infrastructure upgrades, will continue to be a source of community connection and brighten someone’s day,” he said in the statement.

(Courtesy MBTA)
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(Courtesy MBTA)

Lok said she was ecstatic that four of the decorated trains were Green Line cars — her favorite subway line, as evidenced by her Green Line t-shirt. She joked she and her fellow members call them Frog, Gorf, Forg and Grof after a famous Sesame Street sketch. They’ve dubbed the commuter rail train Vilas, after a friend.

“The silliest of ideas tend to have like a lot of just outsized impact,” she said, “and I think that if I saw a T with some eyes, I would just … my day would be made.”

She hopes looking into the T’s new eyes will crack smiles on other Bostonians’ faces, too.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 WBUR

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Meghan B. Kelly