Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rockport Line Bridge Work

Flickr User: photoman82
Planned bridge maintenance on the MBTA's Newburyport and Rockport commuter rail lines is going to be causing some delays on some upcoming weekdays and weekends.


Starting Monday April 30 and ending on Tuesday May 1 the MBCR will be performing necessary rehab work on the Saugus River Draw Bridge.

This work will ONLY affect selected WEEKDAY trains on the Newburyport and Rockport Lines.

What you need to know:

Shuttle busses will replace service between North Station, Chelsea, and Lynn on the following trains:

Inbound  to Boston: 
  • Train 186 (9:00pm departure from Newburyport) 
  • Train 142 (10:45pm departure from Rockport) 
Outbound to Newburyport/Rockport:
  • Train 189 (9:35pm departure from North Station) 
  • Train 143 (10:40pm departure from North Station) 
  • Train 145 (12:10am departure from North Station)
Delays of up to 30 minutes are anticipated for people traveling on these trains. 


Starting this Saturday April 28 and ending on Sunday May 6th the MBCR will be performing necessary rehab work on the Manchester drawbridge. 

This work will ONLY affect WEEKEND commuter rail service on the Rockport Line.

What you need to know: 

Inbound to Boston:
  • If you are commuting from Rockport, Gloucester or West Gloucester, you will take a bus to Beverly station where you will board a train that is on its regular schedule. This train will make all other stops. 
  • If you are commuting from Manchester station you will take a bus from Manchester to Beverly Farms where you will board a train that is operating on its normal schedule. This train will make all other stops. 
Outbound to Rockport:
  •   If you are traveling to Rockport you will travel by train to Beverly station where you will board a bus that is waiting to take you to W. Gloucester, Gloucester or Rockport.
  •   If you are traveling to Manchester you will travel by train to Beverly Farms where you will board a bus that is waiting to take you to Manchester station.

The MBCR says that delays of up to 30 minutes are anticipated for people traveling in and out of the city on these two weekends. 

For more information please feel free to visit or You can also Tweet your comments and questions to the MBCR (@MBCR_Info). 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

VIDEO: MBTA Fare Hikes/Service Cuts

This is our first video/ media post here at Boston to a T! This video package was my final project for my Broadcast Journalism class this spring. Let me know what you think of it. Hopefully we can make these video packages a regular occurrence.

Dan Lampariello 

(…Anchor - #...)
The M-B-T-A board of directors has signed off on some big changes for the Boston areas transportation system. 
     Suffolk-U News reporter Daniel 
LAMP-er-ello tells us more about these     changes...  including the impact on riders and the fight back by protestors. 

(…Anchor - #...)
The M-B-T-A could be in the position to cut service and increase fares again next year unless more funding can be found to cover operating costs. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring time in the city

©2012 Boston to a T
Spring in the city of Boston has always been a time for new additions and old traditions and this year is no different.

As I was walking around the city yesterday I found some new projects that were taking off and some regular occurrences that people were taking advantage of.

In Boston Common, the first signs of the Liberty Mall's rejuvenation were peaking out. The fences protecting the freshly planted sod have been taken down. New portable tables and chairs (much like the ones that are on the Green Way) have been placed all around the new granite plaza. The historic Brewer Fountain has been turned on and the FREE Wi-Fi is now available.

 A local food truck has also made a new home for itself on the plaza. Clover Food Lab, based out of Harvard Square, has ten other locations in and around the city and opened this new location for business yesterday. The truck will be open 7 days a week on the plaza from 7am-7pm selling breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You can check out a menu form their Harvard Square location HERE. You can also follow the new truck on Twitter: @cloverPRK.

On the other side of Boston Common a new type of addition is being constructed. Early last year Aaron wrote a post on how the "Pink Palace", a decrepit and unused men's restroom, built originally in 1920, would be transformed into an Earl of Sandwich Sandwich shop. It has been a long while in the making but the construction on the project is finally getting underway. The plan is for the restaurant to be open year round and have outside seating in the summer. There are currently no specific dates for when the restaurant is set to open. This will also be the first permanent restaurant/retail location in Boston Common.

There are also some old traditions that are roaring back to life here in the hub. Frog Pond was recently filled up and is ready to be enjoyed. There is also going to be a new carousel at the pond that should be debuted very soon. The beloved Swan Boats are awaiting their passengers in the Public Garden. Every year when these unique and beautiful boats hit the water it is a sure sign that Spring has hit the city.
Overall, spring is a very busy time here so make sure you go out an enjoy everything that the city has to offer! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Post: Green Line Operators Show Their Worth

Here is a another great guest post by fellow transit enthusiast Scott Page.
 You can follow Scott on Twitter : (@ScottridestheT)! 

When the system fails – labor shines.

As the evening rush hour began on Thursday April 12th a suspicious unattended brief case was reported at Boylston Station on the Green Line. At first trains were ordered to bypass the busy downtown station but as the Boston Police arrived they ordered all trains halted between Government Center and Kenmore effectively rendering the Green Line inoperable. 
The Trailer Person in 3850 walks the car keeping
passengers abreast of the situation
As police investigated the package at Boylston trains backed up at stations along the line. At Park Street thousands of riders, all eager to get home, were greeted with the same expressionless automated message: “Attention Green Line passengers. Due to a police investigation at Boylston all Green Line service is suspended between Government Center and Kenmore. Please seek alternative service”. The cold inhumane voice of the automated message only served to confuse riders as it offered no information and could not answer questions. But the displaced Green Line riders were privy to one big advantage – appropriate transit staffing. At the westbound platform of Park Street Station sat four two-car trains awaiting further instruction – meaning eight operators were available to assist the riding public in addition to the three Green Line officials on the platform. 
No crew handled the riding public better than the Pilot and Trailer Person of the E Heath Street train waiting on the fence track. From their positions in cars 3626 and 3850 they stayed in constant communication with central control and answered passenger questions to the best of their ability, with the Trailer Person in car 3850 walking the length of her train to individually answer riders’ questions. 
In recent years the MBTA has made a strong push towards the irresponsible and regressive operative style of One Person Train Operation on its Rapid Transit lines as an alleged cost savings measure. The Green Line, which currently has no plans of converting to one operator, is the last line in Boston to use a multiple person crew. Green Line streetcars, for the record, require one operator per car for on board fare collection above ground and to open and close doors as the cars cannot trainline door control. 
But as history tends to repeat itself it most likely won’t be long until MassDOT and the MBTA announce plans to strip the Green Line of its appropriate staffing levels. That is why it is imperative to take note of situations like the one yesterday to show the importance of second operators. The smooth handling of thousands of riders at the beginning of the evening rush hour and the start of a rush for a Bruins playoff game is a testament to the hard work and importance of all MBTA Streetcar Motorpersons regardless of which position they are in – Pilot or Trailer Person.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guest Post: WMATA vs. MBTA (Capitals vs. Bruins)

This guest post is by Jason Bereza. Jason is the author of the blog (T)he Adventure which reviews different bus routes and MBTA stations. Jason is also a sports fanatic. This post focuses on the differences between the MBTA and the WMATA as the Boston Bruins get set to play the Washington Capitals this week! ENJOY!

This week, the Bruins will face the Washington Capitals in the first step of what most of New England hopes will result in a second-straight Stanley Cup. In both cities, thousands of fans will use transit to each game. As a recent transplant to Greater Boston from the DC area, I think it might be good to compare and contrast The T to WMATA, operators of the much-beloved (outside of its own city) Metrorail system.
WMATA (Metro Rail)
Wikipedia Commons
In Boston, North Station will sort through the fans on its oversized inbound platform and larger-than-normal outbound platform, built after TD Garden came to be. There’s plenty of room for fans to spread out.

In DC, the two levels of Gallery Place-Chinatown will have tons of people rocking their red (and some Bruins fans) but will become a madhouse post-game as the station predated Verizon Center by 20 years and barely fit even before then.

Boston: Green Line passengers sometimes have to run to catch their train if they don’t know the platform stops.
DC: Shady Grove-bound passengers on the Red Line have to run to catch their train unless it’s the elusive-outside-of-rush-hour 8-car trains. Manual operation of trains post-2009 Fort Totten crash and the awkward setup of Gallery Place where the transfer point is at the far north end of the platform equals having to run up to 100 feet to get to the end of a train.

Boston: Going to the game, $1.70 for CharlieCard, $2.00 CharlieTicket or Cash.
DC: A complicated mess that even locals are confused by. WMATA is the only agency whose rail fares are both distance and time-of-day based with the maximum fare being $5.00 not counting the 25-cent paper farecard surcharge or the 20-cent peak-of-the-peak surcharge if you arrive before 6:00. And yet Boston nearly revolted over an extra nickel...

Boston: Coming home from the game, same fares and fairly decent service post-game.
DC: While the fares become more reasonable ($1.60/$2.15/$2.70), service often becomes spotty as evening trackwork has become regular and train times often aren’t adjusted. Cases of waits of up to 20 minutes for a train post-game are not that unusual.

Boston: The Bruins host Game 2 and if necessary Game 5 on weekends. No major trackwork on any MBTA modes are planned and fans will also trickle in as always via Commuter Rail.
DC: The Capitals are set to host Game 6 if necessary the day after Game 5 (only with the Caps...). On that weekend, the Red and Blue Lines will be split in two and that doesn’t include single-tracking. Though not under WMATA’s jurisdiction, weekend commuter rail is nonexistent in the DC area.

Boston: Rolling Stock of Shame going through North Station: the 01200’s who are crying for retirement. Toss in the worst-off Type 7’s for good measure
DC: Rolling Stock of Shame going through Gallery Place: the 1000’s. A car whose flaws have killed people including nine in the Fort Totten crash. The tired 4000’s are an honorable mention.

Going outside of North Station:

Boston: $59 for all you can ride, $70 come July.
DC: No monthly pass. Buying four 7-day rail passes and four 7-day bus passes will set you back $248. Savvy commuters will buy the cheapest MARC TLC option at a slightly cheaper $203/month.

Boston: Subject to a state with some anti-Boston bias outside 495 and a state government that takes them for granted as seen by Governor Patrick’s recent aloofness.
DC: Subject to three jurisdictions that hate each others guts. DC’s overburdened doing double duty, Virginia resents their DC suburbs, and Maryland resents their DC suburbs for daring to be anti-Baltimore. And don’t forget that Virginia and Maryland never really got over the War Between the States.

Boston: Dedicated funding via the flawed “forward funding” sales tax receipt system. It’s flawed and backfires in economic downturns, but...
DC: Has to beg and grovel to two indifferent state legislatures and the Federal Government, all of which underfund the system.

Boston: @MBTAGM is a pioneering feed where customer concerns are addressed, sometimes by Acting GM Davis. The MBTA Police have a twitter of their own though sometimes accidents happen.
DC: WMATA dragged their heels to the game then turned their feed into a circus where customer praise comes before service alerts.

Boston: The assortment of MBTA unions do a good job for the most part. The number of times they were blamed for the recent state of affairs could be counted on one hand.
DC: Want to turn against organized labor and scream? Search “ATU 689” on Twitter.

Boston: Last in a breed using hard plastic seats and touch tape on buses when most agencies have migrated to plush inserts and reverted to pull cords.
DC: Comfy seats that Bostonians would envy but at some times unnecessary frills. $17,000 in unnecessary styling times 310 buses equals...

What happens on the ice remains to be seen, however it already seems like Boston has won the battle in transit.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MBTA April Service Changes: Part 2

Like I said in my last post  April is a very busy month in regards to service and schedule changes at the MBTA.

Here is what you need to know in regards to changes the Commuter Rails scheduling for the month of April: 

Fitchburg Line

Starting Saturday, April 21 and running through Sunday, June 3 the MBCR will be performing weekend track work on the Fitchburg Line to upgrade it to a double tack system. The work will only be taking place between South Action and Fitchburg stations.

What you need to know:

  • Shuttle busing will replace ALL rail travel between South Acton and Fitchburg station every weekend between April 21 and June 3.
  • Passengers looking for inbound Boston service from Fitchburg, North Leominster, Shirley, Ayer, and Route 495/Littleton stations will be bussed to South Acton where they will board their train to Boston. 
  • Passengers looking for outbound service to Fitchburg will exit their train at South Acton station and board buses bound for Fitchburg, North Leominster, Shirley, Ayer, and Route 495/Littleton. 
  • Weekend Fitchburg service will run as scheduled Memorial Day Weekend (May 26 and 27.)
  • Passengers should add an extra 25 minutes to their commute if they are traveling further than South Acton.
The Platform at Wickford Junction
Courtesy: Wickford Junction
Providence Line

Beginning on Monday, April 23 the MBTA and MBCR will officially open their brand new extension of the Providence Line to Wickford Junction Station in New Kingston RI. Ten trains will travel to and from the new station every weekday (there will be no weekend service.) 

There are two large changes in this new schedule that may affect customers they are as follows:
  • Train No. 975, currently the 3:30PM train from South Station to Canton Center, is renumbered to Train No. 811, and will still depart at 3:30PM but is extended to Providence and will NOT stop at Canton Center.
  • Train No. 811, currently the 3:45PM train from South Station to Providence, is renumbered Train No. 813, and will depart 15 minutes later at 4:00PM.

The new schedule for the entire Providence/Stoughton is available HERE

Old Colony & Greenbush Lines

Beginning Monday, April 23 the MBTA and MBCR will be putting into place new schedules on the Plymouth/Kingston, Middleborough/Lakeville, and Greenbush lines. These new schedules will reflect   the restoration of 70 MPH track speeds on all three lines. 

According to the MBTA and MBCR changes to the schedules are minimal but they do reflect a reduction in trip times, which range from 5 to 10 minutes. 

  • The new Old Colony (Plymouth/Kingston and Middleborough/Lakeville) schedules are available HERE.
  • The new Greenbush schedule is available HERE.

Pocket schedules will be available at South Station and North Station in the middle of next week and web versions will also be available on the MBTA’s website.

For more information check out &
If your on twitter, tweet your comments and concerns to the official twitter account of the Commuter Rail system: @MBCR_Info or  the MBTA GM's official account: @mbtaGM.

Monday, April 9, 2012

MBTA April Service Changes

This month is going to be a very busy one in regards to MBTA service changes and diversions. Here is what you need to know for the month of April!

Marathon Monday

Green Line LRV's line the entire platform at the
Hynes stop last year on Marathon Monday
This year Marathon Monday falls on April 16, 2012 (one week from today). The city will be packed as people from across the world show up to watch the race. With more people in the city the demand for public transportation is increased. This means that the MBTA must make some changes. 

  • The Red, Blue, Orange, Green, and Mattapan HS Lines will all operate on their  regular weekday schedule and there will be extra service provided on all lines before and after the marathon. 
  • Copley Station will be CLOSED all day. Customers wanting to get to the Marathon will have to use Hynes Convention Center station or Arlington Station. Passengers will only be able to exit from the Boylston Street side of Hynes Convention Center Station. 
  • Word of Advice: If you don't have an MBTA Link-Pass make sure you add value to your Charlie Card before Marathon Monday. Lines will become very long at Charlie vending machines
Commuter Rail:
  • MBCR Commuter rail service will operate on its regular weekday schedule. 
  • Buses and trackless trolleys will operate on a Saturday schedule.
  • Route 55 - Queensbury/Copley Station - Service will be terminated until completion of the Boston Marathon. 
  •  Buses will be rerouted at certain times during the day to prevent disruption of the race. These routes include: Southside Routes: 1, 8, 9, 10, 39, 47, 52, 57, 59, 60, 65, 66, 86, 504. Northside Routes:  86, 62, 76, 77, 80, 350, 94, 95, 96, 134, 101.
The MBTA expects that with the the dramatically increased ridership and extreme crowds on Marathon Monday passengers should expect on different parts of the system through out the day. (Especially Commuter Rail and the Green Line) Make sure you check or follow @MBTA_Alerts for down to the second service alerts! 

Weekend Red Line Diversion

During the weekend  of April 28-29th bus shuttles will replace Red Line trains between Boradway Station and Kendal/MIT Station. 
  • Shuttle buses will stop at Broadway, South Station, Park St., Charles/MGH, and Kendall/MIT. 
  • Buses will NOT stop at Downtown Crossing Station. For passengers looking for service to DTX you can transfer at Park St. and walk through the Winter St. Concourse to the Orange Line at Downtown.
The diversion is due to the continued work on the Park St. elevator project. The MBTA must run a power supply for the new elevator through the Red Line tunnels from South Station to Park St. 

Worcester and Fairmount Commuter Rail Schedule

The MBCR put new schedules into place for the Worcester and Fairmount Commuter Rail Lines. The revised Worcester commuter rail schedule is due to the reconstruction of Yawkey Station. The revised Fairmount commuter rail schedule is due to necessary commuter rail maintenance. 
  • The new Worcester Schedule is available HERE
  • The new Fairmount Schedule is available HERE

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MassDOT Board Votes Today

After months of public hearings, discussions, and protests The Massachusetts Department Of Transportation board of directors is ready to take final vote on the future of the MBTA and it's riders.

The board is set to vote on the final proposal set forth by Transportation Secretary Rich Davey and MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis by noon today. If the proposal is passed the 23 percent fare increase and service cuts will go into place on July 1

Although the final proposal that is being presented to the MassDOT board is much less severe than the two scenarios that came before it, commuters are still not happy with how state government is handling the situation.  Members of the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition, Massachusetts Senior Action Council and T Riders Union set up a 24 hour vigil on the front steps of the State House starting at 11am yesterday. They plan to camp out on the steps until 11 am today. 

Sleeping bags, mattress pads, and cardboard
for the campout 
Kasey Shen, a 17 year old high school student from Quincy believes that our elected officials should be doing more. "As our government they should be helping us (students) move one step forward not bring us one step back." she said, "I hope the state government takes on this responsibility."

The overall goal of the vigil is to make people more aware of the situation as well as to call on Deval Patrick and Therese Murray to go back to the drawing board and find a way to cover the T's budget gap without fare increases and service cuts.

The MBTA must submit and approve a budget for next fiscal year by April 14th which means MassDOT and the T can not stall any longer. They must vote on and pass a proposal as soon as possible.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...