Skip to main content

Forging Ahead

Silver Line bus in a bus lane along Washington St in Downton Boston, with a headsdign that reads "Face Masks Required"

Challenged by unprecedentedly low ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MBTA is facing a historic moment.

In 2019, MBTA riders took 1.26 million daily trips. In October 2020, riders took around 330,000 daily trips—or 26% of daily ridership compared to 2019.

The MBTA has continued to run service at 2019 levels, even though it does not match current demand. In order to protect essential service for those who depend upon it, we need to reduce service where there are fewer riders.

The MBTA is Forging Ahead to preserve access and quality of service available to these transit-critical customers.

In November, we presented the first Forging Ahead proposal, before beginning a public engagement process that included ten public meetings and one public hearing.

Based on the feedback we received during this month-long process—including more than 7,000 comments from riders and MBTA stakeholders—we proposed an updated plan to the Fiscal and Management Control Board on December 14, 2020.

This proposal better matches current service demand, and accounts for expected ridership levels in the near future. It also allows us to be flexible and increase service frequency in response to ridership and revenue.

The revised base service:

  • Reduces service frequency
  • Preserves more access to service and hours of operation
  • Avoids some service changes that would have required customers switch modes

By focusing on reductions to service frequency, the MBTA will be better prepared to increase service when ridership returns and more revenue becomes available—in other words, when the economy reopens after widespread vaccine distribution. Any savings from service reductions will be used to increase service frequency when needed.

These adjustments:

  • Preserve the majority of pre-pandemic service (by as much as 90%, depending on mode)
  • Aligns current service levels with changing ridership and demand
  • Maintains service for those who depend on public transit
  • Reduces primarily non-essential services (e.g. where we’re currently operating empty trains and buses)

Service Changes by Mode

The service changes approved on December 14, 2020 will not go into effect immediately. However, some changes are being accelerated due to low ridership.

The below changes are based on frequency standards in the MBTA Service Delivery Policy. We’ll review and adjust these changes regularly as part of the quarterly Service Planning process.

Service Changes Map

Use the map below to view service changes and how they will impact your route.

Thank You for Providing Feedback

Reducing service is a difficult topic. We appreciate your feedback on the proposed changes and how to prioritize adding back service.

The public input period ended at 5 PM on December 4, 2020. Thank you to all those who participated and offered feedback.

You can still provide feedback to the MBTA by contacting our Community Liaisons at publicengagement@mbta.com.

More information—including specific schedules and frequency levels—will be available on this page as it becomes available.

Learn More About Our Plan

View presentations made to the Fiscal and Management Control Board:

Ride Safer

Transit Ambassador at Maverick with face covering and ride safer button

We're committed to keeping you safe on public transportation. From hand sanitizer to crowding information, we've got you covered. 

Learn more about Ride Safer

Learn More About Our Plan

View presentations made to the Fiscal and Management Control Board:

Ride Safer

Transit Ambassador at Maverick with face covering and ride safer button

We're committed to keeping you safe on public transportation. From hand sanitizer to crowding information, we've got you covered. 

Learn more about Ride Safer