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Boston commuters are seeing a new feature on their trains: googly eyes

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Boston commuters are seeing a new feature on their trains - googly eyes.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

I don't think I heard you right. Googly eyes?

MARTIN: Yes, you did - big googly eyes. And that's because recent college grads John Sanchez and Arielle Lok organized a campaign to get the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to add them.

MARTÍNEZ: Why?

ARIELLE LOK: Well, it's pretty simple.

MARTÍNEZ: OK. Here's Arielle.

LOK: We're big believers that the eyes are the window to the soul and that the soul of a city is its transit system. So we tried to connect those dots and give all T riders a new, fun way to connect emotionally with such a cornerstone part of the city.

MARTÍNEZ: Window to the soul, Michel - sounds dreamy.

MARTIN: I know. Connecting to your train...

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter).

MARTIN: ...Who doesn't want to do that? And the MBTA agreed to add googly eyes to five trains.

LOK: And we've named them Frog, Forg, Gorf, Grof and Vilas respectively.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, that wouldn't be a Kermit the Frog reference, would it?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SESAME STREET")

JIM HENSON: (As Kermit the Frog) That says Kermit the Gorf.

FRANK OZ: (As Salesman) What?

HENSON: (As Kermit the Frog) G-O-R-F. You see, frog is F-R-O-G.

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter) So what did it take to get the transit authority to do this?

MARTIN: Well, back in April, Arielle and John held a march at Boston Common. Here's John.

JOHN SANCHEZ: We printed a bunch of posters and put them around Boston. We got in contact with a bunch of influencers on social media who really care about transit, got in touch with some local news outlets - all trying to drive momentum towards this very important and serious cause.

MARTIN: And like any decent protest, they had chants...

SANCHEZ: (Chanting) Bring some joy into our lives. Give the Green Line googly eyes.

MARTIN: ...And songs.

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter).

SANCHEZ: (Singing) We all want a train with googly eyes, a train with googly eyes, a train with...

MARTÍNEZ: All right. So...

SANCHEZ: ...(Singing) Googly eyes.

MARTÍNEZ: Dare I ask how Bostonians are reacting to these trains?

MARTIN: Well, they can be a restrained bunch. And Arielle admits it's been mixed, but mostly positive.

LOK: We had one mandate - give the T vision, and now the T has vision. We had a very simple demand, and the MBTA saw us eye to eye. And we have - now have googly eyes on all the Ts, or on five of them.

MARTÍNEZ: Five goofy little trains that could.

(SOUNDBITE OF IDEAL BREAD'S "QUIRKS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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