MBTA’s Daniel Mueller laid out the T’s plan to cut service on the Blue Line, a move that was immediately publicly rebuked by the Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee, Sen. Joseph Boncore.
Mueller said that the T’s ‘Forging Ahead’ plan would reduce weekday and Saturday service on the Blue Line by one hour. The Blue Line would now run from 5 a.m. to midnight instead of 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. Sunday service will operate from 6 a.m. to midnight instead of 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
The T, explained Mueller, will also reduce peak frequency by 20 percent and reduce off-peak frequency by an additional 20 percent on the Blue Line, as well as the other MBTA rapid transit lines.
Mueller said the Blue Line is operating at about 24 percent of its pre-COVID level.
“As a result of the decline in ridership that is similarly impacting transit agencies across the country, the MBTA is now only transporting 330,000 trips on an average weekday – but is continuing to run the same high levels of service as it ran to serve 1.26 million daily trips prior to the pandemic, an unsustainable level of service delivery,” he said.
Sen. Boncore said Tuesday that the proposed service cuts to the MBTA are very concerning.
“Though there has been a decrease in MBTA ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who continue to utilize public transit throughout this public health crisis are the families, individuals, and essential workers who rely on it most,” said Boncore. “We must treat public transportation as a public good, similar to our roads and bridges. Expecting riders to face the consequences of less frequent service, delays, and crowding is unacceptable. Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we must prioritize public health and safety.”
The MBTA will be holding a number of public meetings to discuss proposed service cuts with communities and solicit feedback. The next meeting will be held online this Saturday, November 14, at 1pm. You can find details about this meeting and register for it at www.mbta.com/events/2020-11-14/forging-ahead-virtual-public-meeting-boston-and-milton-region-3.
“As the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, I remain committed to ensuring public transit is accessible, affordable, safe, and reliable,” said Boncore.
In a statement, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said, “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on ridership and the MBTA is releasing these proposed changes to adjust to the realities created by COVID-19, while protecting service for those who depend on it most. I want to reassure our riders that these service changes are not permanent, do not include any fare changes, and will not take effect immediately. We are carrying out a comprehensive outreach process and encourage all members of the public to provide comments and feedback, as we want to hear from riders to help us identify and protect the services that support transit-critical populations and communities.”