We’ve all seen the crowds of people spilling out onto the street waiting for the MBTA buses each morning. Sometimes it’s a handful, at primetime rush hour some corners can have as many as fifty people waiting. If you’re driving past a bus stop, you know you have to pay attention so you don’t run over a commuter. You think to yourself, “This doesn’t seem safe?” And it’s not. It’s a public safety issue that no one is really doing anything about…that is until a twitter battle erupted on Saturday afternoon. It started innocently enough with tweets sent to the MBTA about some bus stops in the Back Bay that aren’t shoveled. The MBTA responded with a friendly – sure, send us the bus stop and we’ll happily clear out the snow – like it was no big deal and that the T was just waiting around to clear bus stops. All we had to do was ask.
Well, this caused us to immediately react with, “Honestly? Please come to Southie and shovel all of our bus stops!” The T asked which ones, we responded with – “Every single one along the 7, 9, 10, and 11 routes. And then they responded that it was up to the abutter to shovel. The abutter?
Then the fireworks began! Pissed off Southie residents and T takers began to cry, “bullshit!” So who’s responsibility is clearing out the bus stops? The T is saying, “Not us!” The city is claiming it’s not their responsibility either. Is it really the abutters? We get that the homeowner or business owner should shovel the sidewalk in front of their property. Sure, that makes sense but what about the street in front of the stop? What about the giant mounds of snow that the city pushing to the corners that rivals a ski slope? It sounds like it’s some weird loophole and no one is taking ownership.
The MBTA then sent us a link about winter weather and bus stop clearing and snow removal. Evidently, the T is only responsible for “key routes” including 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116, 117. Not one route is in Southie. We realize that the T is out of touch – and apparently they’ve never seen the droves of commuters waiting for the bus in Southie. Southie does not have any “key routes” despite the fact we have two very busy Red Line stations in Southie – Broadway and Andrew.
So what are all the other bus stops suppose to do? According to the T website:
Virtually all other bus stops are the property owner/abutter?s responsibility. The municipality in which the bus stop is located may have the ability to enforce snow removal, depending on the local ordinance. If you notice one of these stops is obstructed by snow/ice, refer to this municipality contact list to find the contact information for the department that may be able to help resolve the problem. It then gives the number to the mayor’s office of constituent services.
Steve Annear, a writer for Boston Magazine, had the same questions we did and wrote about the subject after the first initial blizzard a few weeks back. You can read about it here!
Basically, the MBTA compares shoveling bus stops to shoveling shit against the tide due to the fact that the city keeps plowing the bus stops in. So we asked the city if they should be clearing the bus stops and a reliable source said that it was the T’s responsibility. Yes, that’s right finger pointing.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with unshoveled bus stops. So whether it’s the T or the city, someone needs to pick up a shovel.
The T is urging commuters to contact either them, or their respective community leaders, in the event that a stop remains unshoveled. Good grief!
Photo by Eileen Murphy