MBTA Services to Increase Significantly This Month
Posted on June 9, 2020
Well ahead of anticipated rises in passenger volume, MBTA will increase service for all subway lines and add weekday service for nearly 60 bus routes.
Commuter Rail trips added and all MBTA ferries resume limited weekday service.
Although ridership remains low, the MBTA is preparing to significantly ramp up service across all modes as part of Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Effective June 21, regular weekday service will operate on the Blue Line; increased weekday service will operate on the Red, Orange, Green, and Mattapan Lines; and service will increase for nearly 60 bus routes. On June 22, Commuter Rail service will be increased and ferry service will resume on weekdays.
While passenger volume continues to be just a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, the MBTA will continue to closely monitor ridership and undesirable crowding in excess of recently-adopted thresholds and, when possible, make adjustments. Weekday service will be added to nearly 60 high-demand routes, including Routes 1, 22, 23, 28, 57, 66, 111, 116, 117, and dozens more. Bus service has also been tailored to specifically allow for operational flexibility, giving dispatchers the ability to make adjustments in response to changing ridership demands and to alleviate crowding. The MBTA will operate a full complement of buses, including 30% reserved to be deployed where there is increased demand for service. Crowding will be closely monitored with these flexible buses deployed as needed.
“As the Commonwealth continues its reopening phases and we begin boosting service for all modes, we will continue to protect the riding public and our workforce through enhanced safety protocols, including cleaning and sanitizing our stations and vehicles,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Thank you to MBTA riders for their patience during these challenging times and for wearing face coverings while using the system. I also want to reiterate my deep appreciation to our frontline workforce, who have come to work every day throughout the pandemic in order to provide essential transit services.”
On March 17, the MBTA implemented service changes that mimicked limited, modified Saturday schedules for most modes with ferry service temporarily canceled in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“While service is increasing significantly, providing safe transit during the coronavirus pandemic is a shared responsibility among the MBTA, its customers, employers, and cities and towns,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.
Customers should continue to make efforts to distance and are reminded that face coverings are required while onboard vehicles and within the MBTA system. The MBTA urges area employers to continue to allow telecommuting and to consider staggered work schedules to promote social distancing on public transit. The MBTA also encourages cities and towns to assist in this effort be expanding available space at historically busy bus stops and working with the MBTA to implement dedicated-bus lanes.
Service by individual mode will update according to the following as staffing permits effective June 21 and June 22:
|Mode||Blue Line||Service Update||Effective June 21, regular weekday service with trains every 5 to 9 minutes|
|Mode||Orange Line||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased weekday service with trains every 6 to 9 minutes|
|Mode||Red Line between Alewife and JFK/UMass||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased weekday service with trains every 4.5 to 7 minutes|
|Mode||Red Line Ashmont and Braintree Branches||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased weekday service with trains every 9 to 14 minutes|
|Mode||Green Line||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased weekday service with trolleys every 6 to 11 minutes on the branches; more frequent service on the trunk|
|Mode||Bus||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased Saturday schedule on weekdays for nearly 60 routes, focusing service on high-demand routes|
|Mode||Ferry||Service Update||Effective June 22, limited weekday Hingham/Hull and Charlestown service - full schedule will be made available in advance at mbta.com|
|Mode||Commuter Rail||Service Update||Effective June 22, increased service - full schedules available at mbta.com|
|Mode||Mattapan Line||Service Update||Effective June 21, increased weekday service with trolleys every 5 to 12 minutes; added weekend service|
|Mode||The RIDE||Service Update||Full service|
Subway and Light Rail
Effective Sunday, June 21, regular weekday service will operate on the Blue Line with increased weekday service on the Red, Orange, Green, and Mattapan Lines as staffing levels permit. Additional service on weekends will also be added on the Mattapan Line.
Customers should note that rear-door boarding on Green Line and Mattapan Line trolleys at street-level stops will continue during Phase 2 with removable barriers installed onboard trolleys in support of social distancing efforts. These measures protect the health and safety of the MBTA’s workforce and customers. Anyone needing to use the front door, including seniors and people with disabilities, may continue to do so.
Customers should also note that planned service diversions are currently taking place on the Green Line:
- On the Green Line, shuttle buses are replacing service between North Station and Lechmere Station through spring 2021 in support of the Green Line Extension project.
- On the D branch, the first of 2 full 9-day closures between Kenmore and Riverside Stations began June 6 through June 14 with the second beginning June 20 through June 28. Local and express shuttle buses are replacing service.
- On the C branch, shuttles are expected to replace service between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore Stations for the entirety of July 2020.
- On the E branch, shuttles are expected to replace service between Heath Street and Prudential Stations for the entirety of August 2020.
Effective Sunday, June 21, MBTA buses will operate on a modified, increased Saturday schedule for nearly 60 bus routes, which has been designed to allow for operational flexibility and the ability to make adjustments in response to changing ridership demands. Modifications include more service on high-demand routes; many bus routes beginning service earlier than typical Saturdays and resembling the start of service on weekdays; and 30% of MBTA buses to be deployed every day based on analysis and reporting on where there is increased demand for service in Phase 2. All available buses will operate with service concentrated on about 80% of bus routes.
Weekday service will be added to over 50 high-demand routes, notably Routes 1, 22, 23, 28, 31, 32, 57, 65, 66, 70, 104, 109, 111, 116 and 117. Route 39 will now also operate with 60-foot buses all day for additional capacity. Routes resuming service that were previously not operating are Routes 19 and 245, which serve key medical and hospital areas.
Bus routes will also continue run their regular schedules on Saturdays and Sundays.
Select express bus routes 325, 326, 351, 352, and 501 that were previously operating will no longer operate beginning June 21 with customers encouraged to instead utilize alternative bus routes and/or rail lines operating in these areas where possible.
Customers should note that rear-door boarding on MBTA buses will continue during Phase 2 with removable barriers installed onboard buses in support of social distancing efforts. These measures protect the health and safety of the MBTA’s workforce and customers. Anyone needing to use the front door, including seniors and people with disabilities, may continue to do so.
Customers should also note that work on the Harvard Busway is scheduled to restart on June 21 as part of planned Harvard Station Busway Improvements.
Effective Monday, June 22, limited ferry service to Hingham and Hull and to Charlestown will resume on weekdays to about 75% of normal schedules. Weekend ferry service remains suspended.
Ferry schedules and more information will be made available soon at mbta.com.
Effective Monday, June 22, all Commuter Rail Lines will operate increased weekday service with the Fairmount Line also beginning full and complete service schedules as part of the Fairmount Line Weekday Service Pilot. This increase in Commuter Rail service is about 85% of normal schedules with regular midday trains operating and increases to the number of trains during morning and evening peak periods.
Commuter Rail schedules are available at mbta.com.
The MBTA will continue to operate full service on the RIDE. All trips must continue to be booked 1-3 days in advance. Trips will continue to be limited to one customer plus their Personal Care Attendant (PCA) or guest per trip (no shared trips) with the RIDE making every effort to eliminate transfer trips in order to reduce customer interaction with multiple drivers. Customers can also continue to temporarily book trips for their PCAs throughout Phase 2.
The RIDE Eligibility Center (TREC) also continues to be closed until further notice.
Enhanced Decontamination, Cleaning, Disinfecting, Social Distancing, and More
In addition to encouraging good hygiene practices and social distancing, the MBTA is continuing its enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. This includes:
- Stations and facilities: disinfecting touch points in high-traffic facilities twice a day; disinfecting touch points on surfaces such as handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines in subway stations once every four hours; and hiring additional vendors for disinfecting using chemical fogging, electrostatic sprayers, and manual disinfecting wipes/solutions.
- Bus and rail vehicles: decontaminating all vehicles nightly with disinfecting wipes; performing mid-day decontamination at layover locations daily by wiping down operator cabs and high-touch locations; wiping down cabs, fare boxes, and entrances for first/second shift bus pullbacks; performing electrostatic fogging for 100% decontamination every two weeks for all bus vehicles; isolating and electrostatic decontamination of any vehicle reported as operated by an employee who tested positive for COVID-19.
The MBTA has also deployed messaging through social media and within stations, bus terminals, and vehicles that encourages social distancing. Crowding threshold standards have also temporarily been lowered for each bus and subway fleet to accommodate social distancing measures.
In compliance with the Executive Order that went into effect on May 6, riders are also reminded that face coverings are required while onboard all MBTA vehicles, on shuttle buses, and at stations and stops. The Executive Order that went into effect on May 6 does include an exemption for individuals with certain medical conditions, but does not require a person who is so exempt to produce documentation of their condition. The MBTA has issued internal guidance to its operators consistent with the Executive Order, though the MBTA expects all customers will comply.
The MBTA continues to follow guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with the MBTA encouraging its riders and the public to:
- Practice social distancing at all times when leaving the home for essential trips;
- Stay home if sick and avoid close contact with others;
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least twenty seconds;
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Clean areas that are frequently touched with sanitizing spray or wipes;
- Cover coughs and sneezes, and use a tissue or the inner elbow, not hands.