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Your Turn: Cut All MBTA Bus Service to Melrose, Weekend Commuter Rail?

The MBTA unveiled two possible approaches to handling the agency's $161 million deficit, and under one scenario, the five bus routes that have stops in Melrose would all be eliminated, along with weekend commuter rail service.

Melrose could face the elimination of all five MBTA bus routes that the stop in the city and weekend commuter rail service, along with higher fares and increased Oak Grove station parking rates, under proposals unveiled by the MBTA this week.

Facing a $161 million deficit and fares that have not been increased since Jan. 1, 2007, the MBTA released two scenarios along with an impact analysis that details the specific impact of each scenario.

The first scenario would stave off the most severe service cuts, but require steeper fare increases. Under this scenario, bus 136 would eliminate Saturday and Sunday routes, while bus 137 would eliminate Sunday routes. Both buses have stops in Melrose.

The second scenario would have less severe fare increase, but result in deeper cuts in service. Under this scenario, the five bus routes that have stops in Melrose—106, 131, 132, 136 and 137—would all be eliminated.

Both scenarios call for eliminating commuter rail service on weekends, along with commuter rail service on weeknights after 10 p.m. Ferry service would also be eliminated; subway service remains largely untouched.

The following chart shows fee changes under both scenarios:

FARE AND FEE CHANGES
Current Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Subway fare (CharlieCard) $1.70 $2.40 (41 percent hike) $2.25 (32 percent hike) Bus fare (CharlieCard) $1.25 $1.75 (40 percent hike) $1.50 (20 percent hike)

Monthly LinkPass (unlimited subway and local bus)

$59 (34.7 subway rides) $80 (33.3 subway rides)

$78 (34.7 subway rides)

Day LinkPass

$9 $12

$12

Week LinkPass

$15 $20

$20

Monthly Local Bus Pass

$40 (32 single fares) $55 (31.4 single fares)

$48 (32 single fares)

Parking at Oak Grove Station $5.50 $7.50 $7

The MBTA has scheduled a series of public hearings on the proposals over the next two months; the closest hearing to Melrose will be held in the Malden City Council Chambers, 200 Pleasant St., on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. Comments on the proposals can also be emailed to fareproposal@mbta.com or mailed to: Fare Proposal, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 3910, Boston, MA 02116.

Which scenario would you choose? What would you propose? Let's discuss the proposals in the comments below. 

Download the PDF of the MBTA's full report on fare increases and service reductions here.

Daniel DeMaina January 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM
@Susan I've never really seen/paid attention to it, but if three buses are on Main Street at the same time, that certainly seems like one way the MBTA could reorganize, increase efficiency and save money, thus preventing cuts elsewhere or higher fares. I wonder how much inefficiency like that is currently built into the system.
Susan January 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM
My unofficial observation is that there is an enormous amount of overlap that with a few smart people could be looked at and corrected, but then the problem is dealing with union employees. For example, there are a number of places where buses run the same route as the T, that seems to be a waste of resources. Or how about the fact that either the 136 or 137 runs to Oak Grove station and then onto Malden Center T stop, WHY??? another waste of resources. There are a lot of ways to improve the system and conserve limited resources but the T is not interested in that, right now they are trying to figure out a way to continue paying out their bond interest debt and stay a float.
Steve Meuse January 09, 2012 at 08:28 PM
131, 136, and 137 all travel down Main Street at similar times because that's when the peak travel time is. People try to get to work by a specific time. I used to get to Oak Grove at 7:30 on the 131 and be at work by 7:55. If they staggered those buses, then people wouldn't get to Oak Grove in time (say 8am at the office) or they would be really early for work.
Steve Meuse January 09, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I've suggested several times to cut either 136, 137 or both from continuing on to Malden Center. An even easier fix would be to cut out the doubleback down Banks Place.
Bob Bell January 10, 2012 at 02:01 PM
It is axiomatic that the intellectual innovation spawned by the Boston area universities, which are global leaders, distinguishes the Boston area from most other metro-US cities. Retention of graduates is our key to success. Transportation convenience and costs are key factors in residential decision making. The state supports "smart growth" and transportation oriented development. Decimating our public transportation network is totally counter productive from an economic development perspective.

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