MBTA

Commuter Rail Schedule Changes Take Effect Monday. Here's What to Know

Weeknight service after 9 p.m. is preserved in the MBTA's Spring 2021 schedule change

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NBC10 Boston/NECN

The commuter rail will see services increase starting Monday as part of the MBTA's new spring schedule.

The Spring 2021 schedule provides more trains during the middle of day, offers "more consistent" options and increases services compared to the Winter Schedule that has been in effect since December 2020, according to the MBTA.

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“The MBTA and Keolis worked to create a service offering that is attractive to passengers for both its all-day frequency and ease of trip planning with trains at regular and predictable intervals,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said. “Adopting a regional rail style of service also helps to better position the network for a future rail transformation.”

The changes reflect the direction for regional rail service outlined last month to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board.

The MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services, the agency’s operating partner for the Commuter Rail, designed the schedule to offer train service at "regular and predictable intervals," according to a press release.

For example, trains on the Worcester Line depart Worcester Station every hour on the hour from 5 a.m. through 7 p.m. with additional options outside of those times. Similarly, the Newburyport/Rockport Lines offer train service between Beverly and North Station every 30 minutes nearly all day.

The Boston mayor joined transportation activists on Monday in their call to reverse the cuts.

“This schedule change establishes a service pattern we believe will better match the current and future needs of our passengers,” said David Scorey, CEO and General Manager of Keolis. “The new Spring 2021 schedule provides options that our passengers have requested and can assist in a strong and equitable economic recovery with regular service across all lines and more consistent service to many gateway cities.”

The Fairmount Line pilot will continue to allow passengers to utilize CharlieCards for train service between South Station and Fairmount. Fare validator machines can be found at all Fairmount Line stations, including South Station. Inbound and outbound trains on the Fairmount Line will operate every 45 minutes except for the first inbound and outbound trains.

As the Massachusetts coronavirus vaccine rollout continues, more groups have become eligible, but many are still wondering when it will be their turn — including transit workers.

View schedules for all lines at mbta.com/commuterrail.

In response to rider feedback, weeknight service after 9 p.m. is preserved as part of the schedule change. Bicycles will continue to be permitted on all trains across all lines as part of the Spring 2021 schedule.

Seating in all coach cars on all trains will continue to be available to allow for social distance between passengers. Passengers are required to wear masks. In addition to regular cleaning, trains are sanitized every 24 hours and many as frequently as every 12 hours.

The new Fitchburg Line schedule will go into effect in May when full service is restored on the line following the work to upgrade the signal system for Positive Train Control (PTC), which is currently underway.

Due to low ridership, pilot service to Foxboro will be paused through at least fall 2021.

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