Some Boston subway trains are now sporting googly eyes

BOSTON (AP) — Subway riders in Boston are playing their own game of “Where’s Waldo?” But instead of searching for a cartoon character with a red and white striped top, they’re on the lookout for subway trains with googly eye decals attached to the front.

The head of transit service said the whimsical decals are attached to a handful of trains and meant to bring a smile to riders' faces.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng said a small group of what he described as transit enthusiasts approached the agency with the unusual request to install the eyes on trains. The group even dropped off a package of plastic googly eyes at the MBTA's headquarters in Boston.

“When I saw it it made me laugh,” Eng said. “I thought we could do something like that to have some fun.”

The MBTA, which oversees the nation’s oldest subway system as well as commuter rail, bus and ferry service, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for a series of safety issues that led to a federal review and orders to fix the problem.

It has also been plagued by slow zones, the delayed delivery of new vehicles and understaffing, although T officials say the slow zones are gradually being lifted.

Instead of plastic googly eyes, which Eng feared could come loose and fly off, injuring riders, the MBTA went with decals, giving a jaunty facial expression to the trains.

The agency has affixed them to just five trains — four on the MBTA's Green Line and one commuter rail line.

"When we chatted about it, it would be like finding Waldo," he said. “It gave us all a chance to have a laugh and for the people who use our service to have some fun.”