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Patrick Administration Announces Restoration Of Weekend Service On Three Commuter Rail Lines

Posted on October 7, 2014

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MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

BOSTON – October 7, 2014 – Today, MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey announced the restoration of weekend Commuter Rail service on three lines beginning this winter. The Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines will see the return of Saturday and Sunday service and the Needham Line will resume Saturday service after a two year absence on December 27th. 

“Our customers have consistently asked for more transportation options, not fewer,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. “Today, we are happy to announce that three Commuter Rail lines will once again offer service on the weekends, opening up more transportation options and opportunity for the communities they serve.”

Today’s announcement signals a return to the services previously provided to these three lines: Saturday and Sunday service to the Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines and Saturday service to the Needham line. The schedules serving the area will mirror those previously offered. 

“Increased access and availability of public transit can only mean greater opportunity for those we serve,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “While we often must make difficult decisions in balancing the system we want and the system we can afford, I’m pleased that today we can once again provide weekend service to these communities.”

Facing a deficit for the FY13 budget, weekend service on these three lines was eliminated in 2012. MassDOT and the MBTA heard from many Commuter Rail customers, and their representatives in the legislature, requesting reinstatement of service to these areas. The restoration of service on these lines was made possible by the inclusion of funding in the FY15 state budget. 

“I am delighted that weekend service will be restored for the Kingston/Plymouth line,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “Local residents rely on public transportation to get in and out of Boston and tourists use the commuter rail to visit attractions on the South Shore. The discontinuation of weekend service negatively impacted our communities and it is critical that this service be permanently restored and better marketed to increase ridership levels.”

The restored weekend Commuter Rail schedules will serve to once again connect communities on the South Shore to South Station by providing sustainable transportation options that will reduce both traffic congestion and pollution at an affordable price. 

“I want to commend my colleagues in joining with me to help reestablish the weekend MBTA commuter rail service to Needham and the surrounding communities,” said Senator Mike Rush (Norfolk & Suffolk District). “The restoring of commuter rail service on Saturday to the Needham Line will undoubtedly assist those in need of transportation to and from the city of Boston.”  

“I’m pleased to see the MBTA address the needs of South Shore commuters.  This is something we have been arguing for a while now and something I have supported in both the budget and transportation bond bill.  Many constituents have contacted me about the lack of commuter rail on the weekend.  This is a great option for people who need or want to commute into the city on the weekend.  While we may have missed the activity of the summer months, I hope ridership over time will support this decision,” said Senator Robert Hedlund.     

“The restoration of Saturday Commuter Rail service was a major priority for us this legislative session. With winter on the way, I am glad my constituents will have an easier time getting in and out of Boston,” said Senator Richard Ross. 

"Greenbush commuter rail riders in my district and across the coastal South Shore will be pleased to, once again, use rail service to and from Boston on weekends," said Rep. Garrett Bradley. "Many thanks to Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey and General Manager Scott for their support. Special thanks to my South Shore colleagues and legislators for their advocacy and hard work on behalf of our communities, resulting in the important restoration of weekend rail service."

"Restoring weekend commuter rail service on both lines that run in our community was a significant priority this legislative session" said Representative James Murphy. "A lot of people work on the weekends, and use the MBTA to get to events around the South Shore and in Boston. It is critical that our residents and business owners have continued weekend commuter rail service."

"Restoration of the Needham Commuter Rail Service on Saturday is vital to the needs of commuters from Needham, Dover and Medfield to work, shop and hopefully have fun in Boston as well as the many reverse commuters who work and shop and have fun in the communities along the route and in Needham,” said Representative Denise Garlick. “A hallmark of Needham is accessibility to Boston which is a great city. Needham's citizens and the many people who come here need and deserve safe, reliable, cost effective public transportation now and as we look to future needs."

“I am excited to have worked with my colleagues in the South Shore delegation to bring about this restoration of weekend service,” said Representative Vinny deMacedo. “However, this is only a trial program and we want to make sure that our constituents utilize it to its full potential so that it becomes self-sustaining. I feel it is important to our region to have access to seven day a week train service.”  

"Although I am disappointed that weekend Commuter Rail service on the Kingston/Plymouth line has been interrupted for so long, I am happy that my colleagues and I were able to successfully advocate for weekend service to be restored for our constituents and the businesses who rely on it." said Rep. Tom Calter.

“Getting the train engines running again on weekends will provide a real economic engine for our region and provide a much needed service for South Shore families and visitors. We welcome this news and thank our partners at the MBTA and the MassDOT for hearing our residents’ concerns and restoring this valued transportation service,” said Rep. Josh Cutler.

‘Weekend rail service to the South Shore will increase access to employment opportunities for our weekend commuters, grant day access to shopping, beaches, and historical sites, and promote economic activity for businesses from Boston through the South Shore,” said Representative James Cantwell. “Restoration of weekend service for Greenbush and the Kingston/Plymouth lines is a positive reflection of the hard work of a bi-partisan coalition of South Shore legislators, DOT officials, community leaders, and business representatives, who have all worked hard toward this announcement.  We still have a great deal of hard work to do in the near future to ensure success of this service, however. I look forward to on-going working sessions with all interested parties to make sure that we have a quality transportation product with a revised schedule that meets the needs of consumers.  I specifically want to thank Senate President Therese Murray and State Rep. Josh Cutler for being leaders in the Senate and the House respectively to make this important step possible today, as well as Ed Perry of WATD radio in Marshfield for his generous offer of $50,000 of free advertising to make sustained commuter service a possibility for the South Shore.”

In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work.  For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot  blog: http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/, or follow MassDOT on twitter at https://twitter.com/MassDOT   and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.

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