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MBTA Bus Meeting Recap

Nearly 100 people filled the Tynan School cafeteria on Wednesday night to discuss the bus service and stops in Southie.  About a year ago, the same exact meeting happened so it was like de ja vu all over again except this time with a slight twist.  CIS was there too live tweeting all the action. You can find our tweets here!  If you’re not on twitter – come on!  Get with the times and get on twitter!

Representative Nick Collins – who is leading the charge to remedy the broken bus situation in South Boston – was on hand to lead off the meeting.  He acknowledge the dire situation in our neighborhood and said the problems with transportation need to be resolved quickly.  Rick Malone was introduced from MassDOT who informed us there were many “T experts” in attendance and would be listening to questions and concerns.  A presentation by Ralph De Nisco – from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting –  of a proposed plan of a new and improved bus route began.

Here are some highlights from presentation:

Over 15,000 riders get on and off buses in South Boston each week day.

South Boston’s older bus stops do not meet MBTA accessibility guidelines.  29% of route 9 and 11 are equal to or less than 40ft.  They need to be at a minimum of 60ft.

The MBTA will eliminate some bus stops in City Point including the one at M and Broadway

Beginning in January, during peak hours the #7 will run every 3 minutes (currently running 3.5 minutes.  Really?) and the #9 will increase to every 4 minutes.  

An express #7 has been proposed.  A quick loop from City Point to right before South Station and back again.  

Possibility of moving #11 from 8th Street to Day Blvd.

The plan calls for improving the bus stops with repaired sidewalks and luxurious heated shelters with coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.  Just kidding – just regular old bus shelters.   

The new plan will be implemented in 2017

After the presentation, the meeting was opened to questions and answer segment.  If you wanted to speak – you had to sign in and get a number.  This is always the best part of the Southie meeting but here’s the bizarre twist.  After question #4, it became clear to the audience, that they were going unanswered.  When someone finally asked, “Are you guys going to be answering these questions,” we were informed.  “No.”  They added they didn’t have time to respond to all the questions and that the meeting was being recorded and they would eventually try and address all questions and concerns.  Needless to say the crowd did not like this response.

So the question/concern portion went on with issues ranging from Southie needs more buses, to the buses should go back to 4th street (yes, I’m totally serious), to Day Boulevard is way too dangerous to be letting people on and off buses.  People with the mic were warned that they only have 2 minutes to speak.  There was a woman who would hold up a card that read “Time” when people went over the limit.  I’m totally serious.  Needless to say it was ignored.  They should have had music to play off the person like at the Oscars.

Standouts from the question/concerns portion of the meeting:

One woman brought up the dreaded Winter of 2015 and the nightmare of un-shoveled bus stops and public safety concerns with the snow at overcrowded bus stops.  Winter is coming! 

One guy was pissed about buses moving to Day Blvd.  He said commuters cutting through Southie fly down Day Blvd. to cut down First Street and “the a-holes bomb down the street and nearly clipped me in front of the yacht club.” 

Joanne McDevitt from the City Point Neighborhood Association (who introduced herself as that title) thinks that buses should not be on Broadway.  Broadway is constantly congested during peak hours.  It’s a public safety issue.  She also suggested that there be a bus from Broadway Station to the Financial District or Seaport District.  Joanne got the “Time” card. 

There was a gentleman that pulled out copious notes taken in a teeny tiny notebook with all of the bus service observations.  One of them being that buses never pull into the bus stops. 

Friend of CIS and Corey Dinopoulos took the mic and stated that the MBTA needs to listen to the neighborhood.  He worked on Boston 2024 and it failed because they didn’t listen to the community.

One woman pulled a Bill Belichick and told the MBTA to do their job.  There is so much development going on with new people moving in and relying on the T.  It’s the MBTA’s job to transport residents and provide reliable service. 

One man couldn’t make the meeting on time.  “I couldn’t catch the #7 bus to get to the meeting on the #7 bus…had to take a cab.” 

Southie Community Meeting All-Star Bill “Touchie” McDonough took the mic and there was a hush over the crowd.  He addressed topics such as his decade long quest to have angled parking .  He also suggested maybe getting bigger buses like double decker buses.  He also recommended having the Silver line come up to First Street and then express downtown.  Bing, bang, boom.  “Time” card went up and Touchie basically told her to screw and keeps talking. When he’s done, the crowd breaks out in applause and cheers.

One woman has become a year round bike rider because of who terrible the bus service is. She suggested to the MBTA that instead of investing money in bus shelters, they should just have more buses and reliable service.

After the questions, the MBTA thanked everyone for coming and the meeting was over.  Nothing was remedied.  Not questions were answered and they showed us basically the same proposal from last year.  The MBTA is like a bad boyfriend and we think it’s time we break up. 

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Travis says

    Don’t forget a few people suggested bus lanes! Not that it matters because all these suggestions will be ignored…

  2. Ed says

    Great coverage of the meeting– Thank you for keeping it front and center but PLEASE ,Please stop pumping Nick Collins and Linda Dorcena Ferry’s tires and saying they have a plan to fix this. Clearly they do not. I like them both but lets keep our eye on the ball here. They should have held the MBTA’s feet to the fire at this meeting. If they came in here with the same plan as last year….what really have they done since then besides make proclamations about “something needs to be done”?….lip service makes for great headlines but if everyone’s commute still sucks what really have they done? :/ A politely critical piece may be in order

  3. Mike says

    Why are so many opposed to the express bus from city point? It’s a 5 minute walk from any stop on the current 7 route. Also, why do so many people wait at the Broadway stops and miss the bus due to it being full instead of walking the few blocks to first and o and get on at the first stop?

    • Margie says

      Maybe because we are already walking 5 Blocks to get to that stop! No one should have to walk beyond the stop that is closest to their home. the T should accommodate us, not the other way around!

      • Tim says

        But if you have two options (wait at your stop or walk an extra few blocks to an express bus), what difference does it make to you? Express bus in addition to current bus routes would be a great solution

  4. Matt says

    There are plenty of buses, but there is no consistency in the times they arrive at each stop. Once again today, three different #7 buses arrive within 60 seconds of each other at 8:30 AM at N Street. They collect all possible passengers, leaving two of the buses half empty and then depart. There was a 10 minute window that preceded their arrival and I’m sure there was at least another 10 minute window that followed their departure, leaving crowded street corners once again.

    Is there a manager at the City Point Bus Terminal that is responsible for spacing the buses timely?

    They should focus on simple technology upgrades to track buses and passenger counts. They should also allow bus drivers to communicate more frequently and effectively with the bus terminal. So for example, if I am driving the #7 bus, and I see three buses ahead of me picking up every possible passenger at that time, I should be able to radio back to the terminal and wait for 5 minutes at say N Street, pick up another 30 passengers as they arrive, and take off with more proper spacing in between and another bus only 3.5 minutes behind instead of 10 minutes later and not enough room.

    Instead, the drivers feel as though they need to complete their loop as fast as possible regardless of whether or not there are passengers on the bus, and even worse – sometimes assume because another #7 is picking up passengers, that they can pass the bus in front of them and go to the next stop (inevitably leaving more people stranded).

    It’s a driver/management/logistical process that lacks technology and communication and it’s pretty easy to fix. Throwing more buses or changing routes is short sighted and never going to happen anyways. Just look at how effective Bridj and Uber have been by using fairly “cheap” technology that is essentially competing with the MBTA. The MBTA has done nothing different than what they were doing 15-20-25 years ago, so I don’t expect any improvements anytime soon. Even the “new” buses they put into circulation have no technology upgrades (passenger counters?). Young people are literally willing to pay $6-10 for an uberX then wait for the MBTA, and that happens for hundreds if not 1,000 passengers every day. Tells you everything you need to know.

    The growth of the local economy has outpaced the infrastructure (housing, public transportation, roads, parking, etc.). Don’t expect the MBTA to proactively fix those issues even though we pay for it.

  5. Tim says

    Agree with a lot of the posts here – it’s logistics and the need for more buses. The combination would work wonders.

    What is abhorrent is the “City Point Neighborhood Association President” using the meeting as another opportunity to try and move the buses back from E Broadway to E 4th. She claims to represent the interests of the residents in City Point, but uses the meetings purely to push her own agenda under the guise of the CPNA. She lives on E Broadway, and that’s the only reason she is there – not to improve the bus system. The buses belong on the main thoroughfare, with wider streets and sidewalks that are handicap accessible and bus stops that do not end up with riders sitting on people’s doorsteps. Shame on you!

  6. Liz says

    You covered it all Maureen – I also attended that meeting up the Tynan – as well as the one a year and half ago and your right it was “exactly” the same – I didn’t speak and didn’t bring up the horrendous service on the # 10 bus either – I work over on Mass Ave. so its the only bus that we can take from South Boston to get there…I have even changed my hours so I wasn’t late everyday due to no bus showing up at all…. …I now take one @ 6:05 in the morning because if I don’t god knows when I am getting to work….and if someone calls in sometimes you don’t get another one for about 45 – 1 hour – this while I have older lifelong residents of South Boston on my bus who start to tell you they are on the same bus so early for an 8:00 medical appt @ BCH but are afraid that the bus isn’t going to show up – that is an absolute disgrace to our seniors……and forget about coming home……I was told before by a friend that works for the T that the drivers draw straws or whatever to see who gets the # 10 route they all hate it ….well I’m sorry but I didn’t put my work building where it is….I could go on and on but what good does it really do they are going to do and not to whatever they want…..until next meeting….have a good one

  7. Liz says

    You covered it all Maureen – I also attended that meeting up the Tynan – as well as the one a year and half ago and your right it was “exactly” the same – except the no answers part that blew my mind…. I didn’t speak and didn’t bring up the horrendous service on the # 10 bus either – I work over on Mass Ave. so its the only bus that we can take from South Boston to get there…I have even changed my hours so I wasn’t late everyday due to no bus showing up at all half the time…. …I now take one @ 6:05 in the morning because if I don’t god knows when I am getting to work….and if a driver calls in they don’t replace them we just have no bus at all for about 45 minutes – 1 hour – this while I have older lifelong residents of South Boston on my bus who smile say good morning and start to tell you they are on the same bus as you so early for an 8:00 medical appt @ BCH but are afraid that the bus isn’t going to show up – that is an absolute disgrace to our seniors……and forget about coming home that NEVER is on time if at all ……I was told before by a friend that works for the T that the drivers literally draw straws or whatever to see who gets the # 10 route they all hate it – I am not kidding …. I’m sorry but I didn’t put my work building where it is….I could go on and on but what good does it really do they are going to do and not do whatever they want…..I agree with the not needing shelters that someone spoke of – if we had buses show up or that people can actually get on we wouldn’t need shelters, also to the comment on any kind of supervisor down the “barn/depot” there never was – they all sit down there and leave whenever – I have walked by there when its light out on other occasions and they are standing talking to one another from the window of the bus or parked next to each other… so I guess as winter draws near bundle up my bus buddy friends I don’t see us going anywhere soon or fast on any of the buses in South Boston – until the next meeting….have a good one everyone.

  8. Maureen McCarthy says

    I was ill on the night of the meeting which I desperately wanted to attend, but couldn’t. After reading this and other coverage, I’m not sorry I missed it. I was calling Mayor Flynn’s office about the poor service on the #9 at least 25 years ago and the service still hasn’t improved. Thankfully, I’m retired now. However, for the past couple of years, I’ve been taking the #9 from Copley on Tuesday evenings. I’d just like someone from the T to explain why an overcrowded bus stops when it gets to Boylston and Clarendon Streets – the SECOND stop from its origin point and two, yes TWO, empty #9 busses sail on by. I know this is the case at other stops which ARE the origin point or very close to it. I just don’t understand. I still think all State employees, or at least those who work for the T, should be required to ride it to and from work and during working hours. I’m sure their bosses will understand when they show up late for a meeting.