MBTA Announces Proposed Service Reductions that May Affect Bedford

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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Monday, acknowledging the ridership and financial toll taken by Covid-19, announced a broad range of proposed service reductions that would include Bedford.

Editor’s Note 11/10/2020: The MBTA will hold a public meeting to gather feedback via Zoom on Thursday at 6 pm. Click this link to learn more.

The town is well-positioned to have its voice heard.

According to the MBTA list of proposed changes, which could begin as soon as the spring, bus route 62 would be considered for “consolidation.” The bus travels between Alewife Statin and the Edith Nourse Rogers VA Hospital hourly on weekdays.

The only other bus route within the town limits, Route 351 between Alewife and Bedford Woods Drive off Middlesex Turnpike, is targeted for elimination. That service has been suspended for several months. The recommendations are based on post-pandemic ridership levels.

Town Manager Sarah Stanton noted that she is co-chair of the Commuter Rails Coalition, which was established a couple of years ago to advocate for improved MBTA rail service. Members are mayors and managers of any community that hosts a commuter rail station or abuts a community with a commuter rail station.

“I’ll be meeting with a crew of mayors and managers on November 19 to discuss next steps, the proposed changes, and areas we can advocate for as a group,” Stanton said, adding, “Of course, Bedford is going to be front of mind.

The only apparent consolidation option would be with Route 76, which during the week travels between Alewife and the Hanscom Field Civil Air Terminal, via Lexington Center and Lincoln Laboratory on Wood Street in Lexington.

On Saturdays, Routes 62 and 76 are already consolidated; the route omits Hanscom. The bus leaves Lexington Center, but rather than heading along Routes 4/225 directly to Bedford, it turns left on Worthen Road near the Lexington fire station; then right onto Waltham Street near the high school, and the next right onto Marrett Road. From there the bus takes Marrett Road to Wood Street, past Lincoln Lab, and then Hartwell Avenue back to Bedford Street before moving into Bedford.

In its announcement Monday, the transit authority said the cutbacks are necessary “to define and protect its core essential transit services. “

The MBTA is now transporting 330,000 trips on an average weekday while continuing to run the same levels of service as it ran to serve 1.26 million daily trips prior to the pandemic, an unsustainable level of service delivery, the agency announced.

“The public is also encouraged to view these proposals and participate in the public engagement process, which is now underway and runs through Dec. 4,” the announcement said. “This comprehensive public engagement process includes a series of virtual public meetings, a public hearing, a team of Community Liaisons who are already gathering feedback directly from riders, and an online comment form for customers to voice and share their thoughts with the T.”

Specific details of these proposals and the public engagement processes are available at mbta.com/ForgingAhead.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763
Click this link to learn more about The Bedford Citizen’s first community reporter.

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