Testimony to the FMCB: Restoration of Service
Prepared by Caitlin ALLEN-CONNELLY, PROJECT DIRECTOR | March 29th, 2021
Testimony to the FMCB, Agenda Item 9
Chairman Aiello, Members of the Board, General Manager Poftak, Acting Secretary Tessler, thank you for the opportunity to submit comments today.
- A Better City and its members are encouraged by the recent signals from MBTA leadership suggesting that the Authority is taking important steps to restore and fund full service on the bus and subway as soon as possible.
- We are grateful to Congressman Lynch and the state delegation for voicing their apprehension about Forging Ahead and advocating for immediate allocation of federal relief funds to support our public transit system.
- Their call to action aligns with A Better City’s long-standing position, and we commend the MBTA for addressing and responding to the delegation’s concerns.
- A Better City recognizes the complexities of restoring full service during the pandemic, and we stand ready to help support this effort, including by providing space for training.
- With Phase 4 of the Governor’s re-opening plan underway, the region is transitioning to the “new normal”. While do not know exactly what this will look like, we do know that there will be a return to recreational activities this spring and summer and to the workplace by the fall.
- With reports of crowding on the bus and subway, getting back to full service is critical to the T’s ability to safely accommodate the several hundred thousand current daily riders, many of whom are essential workers and transit dependent, as well as the uptick in ridership we expect to see with the re-opening of the economy.
- As the MBTA prepares the FY22 budget, A Better City urges the Authority to not only fully fund bus and subway service, but to bring back full service on the Commuter Rail and Ferry. This means restoring weekend service on the Commuter Rail and adjusting the new clock facing schedules, which we support, to ensure there are enough peak hour trains.
- The MBTA must stay ahead of demand—not respond to demand—by leading demand. Any other approach could result in insufficient service, which will could deter riders from coming back and trigger significant mode shift to single-occupancy vehicles.
- Thank you for your tireless efforts to deliver service to the people of Massachusetts during the pandemic, and for your willingness to revisit service level planning to deliver the safe, robust, and equitable public transit service the riding public in the Commonwealth needs and deserves