There are two different styles of countdown used on the Green Line. It's a fundamental consequence of the geometry and dispatching on the line, not any oversight of laziness on the part of those implementing the signs.
Minute countdowns are used on the D Branch, Kenmore, Hynes, Copley, Arlington, and eastbound from Boylston to Science Park. These work essentially the same as the countdowns on the heavy rail lines. However, they do not start counting down until a train has left Riverside eastbound or Park westbound.
The westbound sides at Boylston through Science Park have the "stops away" system. Because trains often hold in the turnbacks at North Station, Government Center, and Park, and because trains can pass each other at Park - and all of those are manual dispatch decisions - there is no way for an automated system to predict the order and timing of westbound trains until they are past Park. (That may change in a year or two with some different dispatching methods, but no guarantees.) So using stops away gives the best indication to passengers as to what to expect.
Yellowspoon wrote:Or if I'm at GovCen and a C train is three stops away, what does that mean because C trains start their journey two stops away.
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