As we enter 2017, it is vital that we stand with renewed focus and purpose. We envision a set of five high-impact solutions to improve the transit experience for MBTA riders; solutions with positive impacts that far outweigh the cost of implementation. We must vastly improve our public transport network to work for all citizens of the Commonwealth, improving equity, mobility, air quality, and economic opportunity.
Provide Greater Boston with 24/7 transit services for the first time since 1960. We don’t stop working; neither should our transit system. We have worked with the MBTA and Cities of Boston and Cambridge throughout 2016 to advocate for an accessible bus transit network to serve people who work late or early shifts that begin or end when there is currently no service. We hope to achieve a pilot service sometime this year.
It is important for us to adopt fare policies that have proven successful elsewhere. These will shorten journey times and increase frequency of service. MBTA has already committed to replacing its fare system with one that draws from industry experience gathered in the 10 years since CharlieCard’s introduction. We support this move to a more open, flexible, and secure system and advocate that we begin ground work on all door boarding, a 2-hour unlimited transfer window, off-peak and reverse-peak fares, commuter rail zone restructuring, and daily fare caps.
We envision the commuter rail network modernised into a regional rail network that responds to changing demographics and travel needs by functioning more like rapid transit. This approach works in other cities and will unlock economic and social opportunities through better mobility across the region. We propose this start where it’s needed most: the unfinished Indigo Line. Service can and should be run every 15 minutes all day, every day; have better coordinated connections with intersecting buses through Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury; and use the same fare structure and cards as the rapid transit network.
The future of urban mobility in our region depends on a major rethink of how buses work. We envision a modern bus network that is more agile, legible, and reliable using nationally recognised best practices. Our plan anticipates the future, respects riders, and makes the system more efficient in a highly cost-efficient manner. We must offer guaranteed connections, design a unified high frequency network, improve bus stop spacing and locations, take advantage of smart intersections and integrated traffic signals, improve legibility of service, streamline terminals, and improve the experience of on-street transfers.
Transformative Bus Network Improvements
The idea of mobility hubs hinges on a future where various modes and transit networks offer convenient access and coordinated transfers. There already exist a number of major transfer stations that should be upgraded to improve the rider experience and reduce journey times. At mobility hubs, buses on multiple routes — including those of Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) and Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) — arrive and depart simultaneously so passengers can make fast and easy transfers. Mobility hubs should also make it easy to discover, locate, and access bike share, bike parking and repair stations, car sharing services, ride sharing.
Freedom Through Convenience and Choice