MBTA: Modifies Schedule To Help Essential Workers

MBTA Switches Feet Fast to Support Essential Workers’ Schedules, Adds Five Commuter Trains to Arrive Before 0700 Shift Change.

25 March, Boston Metro —  The MBTA will modify the Commuter Rail’s Reduced Service Schedule to allow for 5 trains to arrive in Boston prior to 7 AM.

The specific intent of these changes is to allow essential workers to travel with enough time to meet to shift changes at hospitals and other medical facilities.

These revisions assist in maintaining vital transportation services to employees in key industries and workers with limited or no other transportation options. 

“The MBTA’s recent service revisions are in keeping with the broader strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure health care workers, grocery store employees, and others who play key roles in keeping everyone safe, can continue to do so,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak {MBTA press update}.

Schedule changes implemented a week into the coronavirus shutdown on March 23rd reflect MBTA attention to public input.

Advocates alert MBTA leadership

Transportation advocates are pleased at the MBTA’s responsiveness. “[MBTA leadership really did [a] good job at responding … [to] riders tweeting out their pictures and calling their state reps,” said Jarred Johnson, Director of TransitMatters. TransitMatters re-tweeted and called MBTA executives to ensure they had seen them. Johnson said, “We were more of an amplifier than an instigator.” TransitMatters has advocated to reduce touch points and make transit systems safer, in relation to Covid-19. Rear-door bus boarding is one result {Interview with Johnson, 31.Mar.20}.

TransitMatters joined other advocate groups around the country to include transit funds in the federal trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill. Johnson said, “When Transit Matters and a lot of partners first started hearing about the emergency funding bill there was zero dollars for transit, [when transit agencies] are … still running service and incurring costs. We worked to change the messaging and we activated our members and got them on the phone and email.”

The effort was a resounding success, and contributed to the inclusion of $25 billion in transit funding, to be distributed by the Federal Transit Administration.