Redesign of the MBTA bus system to offer 25% more services to 275,000 additional passengers
Five years from now, MBTA officials hope buses will be running in many more areas, much more frequently.
As part of the transit agency’s new bus network overhaul, an additional 275,000 residents will have access to high-frequency service, which means a bus every 15 minutes or less, every day of the week. week, MBTA chief executive Steve Poftak said during a presentation on Monday.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for several years,” he said. “It’s a really exciting inflection point.”
Monday marked the release of the new draft bus network overhaul plan. Under the new system, buses would go from 15 lanes to 30, with 50% of service being frequent instead of the current 27%.
New all-day service would be extended to Everett, Lynn, Medford, South Boston, West Roxbury and Somerville. The Longwood Medical and Academic Area, or LMA, would also have six frequent routes instead of the current two.
The current system, according to Poftak, is “decades of different ideas, different plans, and different needs.”
“This area has obviously changed,” Poftak said. “The origins where people live, the destinations where they work, where they go to school have changed a lot, and we would like to change with them. We would like to not only become more efficient in how we transport people from place to place, but also determine where we need to add additional services. »
The new system would bring four frequent routes to Everett, an increase from the current single route. Two frequent routes would be installed to Lynn, which currently has none, and Roxbury would see an increase to nine frequent routes from the current 6, according to the presentation.
Poftak acknowledged that one of the ongoing challenges facing the transit agency is staff shortages.
“It will be an ongoing challenge for us to ensure that we are able to recruit staff and provide 25% more services,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan, and that doesn’t mean our focus when growing our workforce shouldn’t be to deliver that 25% increase in service.”
With the release of the draft map, the MBTA plans to move into a second phase of outreach.
This fall, the design of the network will be finalized and followed by another round of outreach scheduled to follow. The first phase of implementation is expected to start in 2023 and continue for five years.
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