Reminder: Commuter Rail and Ferry Schedule Changes Take Effect January 23
Posted on January 19, 2021
Commuter Rail weekend service only on select lines effective Jan. 23.
Many Commuter Rail lines to have train service at regular and predictable intervals.
Hingham direct ferry service and all Charlestown ferry service temporarily suspended.
Weekday Hingham/Hull ferry service will operate with reduced frequency.
The MBTA is reminding customers that Commuter Rail and ferry schedule changes will take effect on January 23, 2021, as approved by the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) in December 2020.
For a full and complete listing of all upcoming service changes, including all changes to bus routes, Commuter Rail lines, and subway frequency, please visit mbta.com/ForgingAhead.
Commuter Rail Schedule Change Information
The new Commuter Rail Winter Service Schedules are available within specific Commuter Rail line’s webpages at mbta.com/CommuterRail, and print copies are being made available at major stations this week.
The new Winter Service Schedule starts to align service with the lower ridership levels experienced during the pandemic. Beginning January 23, 2021, Commuter Rail will only offer weekend service on the Newburyport/Rockport, Framingham/Worcester, Fairmount, Providence, and Middleborough Lines. These lines experienced more ridership gains over the last several months compared to other lines and serve transit-critical communities. All other Commuter Rail lines will not have weekend service. Ridership has remained low during the pandemic with approximately 8% of regular weekday ridership in the fall of 2020 compared to fall 2019.
The new Winter Service Schedule includes additional trains on the Middleborough Line, Fairmount Line, and Newburyport/Rockport Line. These added trains help to fill in service gaps that existed in the previous schedule and help to offer more consistent train intervals, such as clockface service which makes riding simpler for passengers.
For instance, on the Fairmount Line, the new Winter Service Schedule offers clockface service every hour. From Readville, a train will depart on weekdays every hour at 30 minutes past the hour between 6:30 AM and 10:30 PM. This consistent interval is maintained for all stops on the Fairmount Line, and during higher ridership times additional trains are available.
Since March, Keolis and the MBTA have introduced new technologies, such as electrostatic sprayers, to help sanitize passenger areas quickly and thoroughly. As part of this enhanced cleaning, added attention is given to touch surfaces, employee areas, and air filtration systems. All coach cars continue to be cleaned at least every 24 hours as a protection for passengers and train crews.
Ferry Schedule Change Information
The complete schedule of upcoming Hingham/Hull ferry trips effective January 23, 2021, is now available.
With ferry ridership approximately 12% of pre-COVID levels, these changes in ferry service effective January 23, 2021, aim to align service with the lower ridership levels experienced during the pandemic. On January 23, 2021, the following changes will occur to ferry service:
- Direct Charlestown (F4) and Hingham (F1) ferry service will be temporarily suspended.
- Weekday Hingham/Hull service will operate with reduced frequency. A total of 17 weekday trips to Boston will make stops from Hingham to Long Wharf (nine trips directly to Long Wharf with two trips also stopping at Hull for a total of 11) and from Hull to Long Wharf (six direct trips total) with the first trip from Hingham at 5:40 AM, the first trip from Hull at 6 AM, the last trip from Hingham at 7 PM, and the last trip from Hull at 4:20 PM. Seventeen weekday return trips to Hingham/Hull will make stops between Long Wharf, Hull, and Hingham with the first trip from Long Wharf to Hingham at 6:30 AM and the last trip between Long Wharf, Hull, and Hingham at 8 PM.
- There will be no weekend Hingham/Hull ferry service.
The FMCB will assess service needs again on all modes by no later than March 15, 2021, and will allocate additional resources to meet ridership demand if feasible. The timing of all service restoration will also depend on public health guidance (including guidance on the continued need for social distancing) and the timing of the Commonwealth’s post-vaccination re-opening plan.
The MBTA and FMCB continue to discuss how the MBTA will re-add, rebuild, and increase service. Ridership will be monitored with MBTA staff returning to the FMCB every month to show where ridership stands compared to service planning scenarios. Other data sources will also be monitored, including passenger surveys, employer surveys, roadway data, general travel data, and economic recovery planning. FY22 service levels will be planned beginning in February/March 2021 as part of FY22 budget process.
The MBTA’s Forging Ahead initiative aims to preserve access and quality of service for transit-critical communities and to match service to existing ridership levels. Commuter Rail ridership is approximately 10% of its pre-COVID levels with ferry ridership at approximately 12% of its pre-COVID levels. As part of its Forging Ahead initiative, the MBTA organized a months-long process to solicit the public’s input, including more than 7,000 comments from riders and stakeholders and which was used to shape the final plan approved by the FMCB.