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Commuters Frustrated With Limited MBTA Service

The MBTA will once again continue with limited service Tuesday as crews continue to clean tracks to restore full service

Commuters are frustrated with limited MBTA service Tuesday as crews, including National Guard members, continue to clean tracks to restore full service, something MBTA general manager Beverly Scott says could take up to 30 days to complete without another storm.

General Manager Beverly Scott announced last week she was stepping down, effective April 11, amid criticism of how her agency has handled delays, suspensions and massive snowfall.

Service was previously suspended Sunday due to blizzard-like conditions, and limited service resumed on Monday.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he was not made aware beforehand when Scott announced it would likely take a month to restore service to normal – and he thinks it can and should be done sooner.

“Bev Scott said 30 days, we’re viewing that as sort of an outer limit, our goal is to work collaboratively with them to do what we can to get different parts of this system back online as soon as possible," Baker said.

In the meantime, one of passengers’ biggest complaints has been that the T has been charging for shuttle rides and not reimbursing monthly passengers for the unprecedented limited service.

“It stinks, it really does, I think it’s wrong, they should be at least offering with this shuttle bus service if you've got to take the other bus they should offer you a free ride too," said Rick Beaupre of Malden, Massachusetts.

Ronnie Vecchione of Quincy, Massachusetts, added, “And then they’re saying $2.50 just to go on the shuttle bus, really?”

Scott said the MBTA will discuss options for giving commuters some financial relief, but she wouldn't make any promises.

“I don’t have the answer to it, but I can tell you that we have not turned a deaf ear and it’s something that we’re strongly mulling over," Scott said in a Tuesday afternoon teleconference.

But that answer’s not what commuters want to hear. Tuesday night's commute was challenging for those trying to navigate the city.

Taleah Williams-Howard, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said it had taken her two hours to complete her shuttle bus and Red Line commute. "It was terrible,'' Williams-Howard said.

"Forever to get to class, forever to get to work -- it's terrible," agreed her friend Shanara Mosley.

But Jeff Van Gorder, who commutes from Ashmont to downtown Boston said, "Honestly, so far, the service hasn't been that bad. The trains that are running are running on time, and so far, the buses haven't been bad.''

As many as 120 buses were being used to replace service on the Ashmont and Braintree branches of the Red Line coming into JFK/UMass station in the morning, before rail service was restored on the Ashmont branch about 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, in time for the afternoon rush.

In all, according to MBTA ridership data published last year, about 114,000 people per average weekday use the stations that were shut down to rail service and had shuttle bus replacements Tuesday. That includes 49,333 Red Line riders south of JFK/UMass, 26,885 on the Orange Line north of Sullivan Square, and 26,310 on the above-ground section of the Boston College Green Line branch west of Kenmore and 11,617 on the above-ground Beacon Street/Cleveland Circle branch of the Green Line.

"We're just trying to be troopers,'' Selly Salah, an undergraduate at Boston College, said as she waited for a shuttle bus on Beacon Street, where the trolley line was shut down. "It's cold, but we're getting used to it, so I think we'll be OK. We'll make it eventually.''

Kelly Coleman, another BC student waiting with Salah, said of the trolley shutdowns: "It's definitely been inconvenient.'' But she said she didn't think there was much the MBTA could have done to make the situation less bad. "It's just an obscene amount of snow,'' Coleman said.

Here are the details of Tuesday's limited schedule:

Red Line
• Train service running between Alewife and JFK/UMass stations. Will resemble off-peak service. Trains every 7-8 minutes.
• Limited shuttle bus service between JFK/UMass and Braintree and JFK/UMass and Ashmont.

Orange Line
• From Sullivan to Forest Hills. Less than normal weekday service. Service from Back Bay to Forest Hills has been restored.
• Sullivan to Oak Grove will be limited shuttle bus service.
• Trains between Sullivan and Forest Hills are scheduled to arrive/depart every 12 minutes

Blue Line
• Normal service from Wonderland to Bowdoin Station. Every 7-8 minutes.

Green Line
• From Lechmere to Kenmore. Every 5-6 minutes.
• B Line – Switch to 57 bus for stops between Packards Corner and Kenmore. No service between Packards Corner and Boston College.
• C Line – Substitute bus service. Limited shuttle bus service available between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore.
• D Line – Reduced train service in both directions.
• E Line – Will go to Prudential station. Then 39 bus service between Northeastern and Heath Street stations.

Bus service
• Will run a regular, weekday service tomorrow.
• MBTA is warning riders of longer than average wait times.

Commuter Rail
• On a limited schedule.
• The following Needham Line morning trains to Boston won't be operated Tuesday: 6:45 a.m., 8:02 a.m., 9:40 a.m.

For complete information on all MBTA routes and schedules, click here.

The MBTA also announced it was directing its snow removal efforts in the following ways:

  • Workers hand shoveling the Red Line's Braintree branch between Braintree and Quincy Adams stations and the Quincy Center and Wollaston stations.
  • Workers removing snow from the Orange Line between Oak Grove and Wellington.
  • Snow removal at Wellington Yard to clear snow in order for greater mobility for the MBTA's operations.
  • Workers hand shoveling the Mattapan high speed line and to clear the Ashmont and Mattapan loops.
  • Workers also clearing Silver Line locations on Temple and Washington Streets; Mattapan Busway; Cabot Yard area; Green Line locations on the B, C and E line; Riverside Yard and Busway; Silver Line bus rout #66; Red Line and commuter rail parking lots.

Tuesday afternoon, Massachusetts National Guard said some of its members were being directed to help with MBTA snow removal.

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