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Old 04-11-2007, 09:57 AM   #1
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T to roll out new maps to boost use of its buses

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T to roll out new maps to boost use of its buses

By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff | April 11, 2007

The MBTA faces a monumental challenge, in addition to its billion-dollar debt and failing infrastructure: enticing more people to ride the bus.

This is no easy task in Boston, where 177 bus routes attract less than half the number that ride the subway. Because of the way the hub-based subway system was designed, ridership has historically been isolated between commuter rail, bus, and the popular subway.

Most of all, riders and T officials say, people prefer the speed of the subway , don't like buses, or just don't know where the buses go.

A new MBTA program hopes to change that. Beginning this week, it will install detailed maps that meld bus routes with maps of neighborhoods around subway stops, showing for the first time the full scope of T bus and subway services in a given region.

T officials hope the maps show riders more travel options as well as more direct routes via buses, though riders say it might be a tough sell.

"The buses tend to be crowded, and sometimes people have a perception that they may not be as reliable, depending on the route," said Pamela Bush, coordinator of On the Move: Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition, a rider advocacy group. "And with the recent murder on the bus, it's kind of scary." An 18-year-old Hyde Park man was fatally shot on an MBTA bus March 30 .

Irving Feinberg, 64, of Wakefield, who typically takes a bus near his home to Oak Grove to get on the Orange Line, said he rarely takes another bus line. "I'm parked into a routine," he said.

The T program begins Friday with the installation of new maps, schedules, and signs at 10 stations pointing out bus stops . Another focus of the effort will be to feature 4-foot-by-4-foot signs showing roads and related bus routes.

Stations where the signs will be installed are Alewife, Wellington, Malden, Lechmere, Wonderland, Quincy Center, Jackson Square, Andrew, Forest Hills, and Davis. Based on customer feedback, the program will be suspended or expanded. The signs will be displayed near station exits to allow passengers to study routes . The route maps will also be incorporated into the T website trip planner.

"I think it would work," said Stephanie Rodriquez, 19, of Brighton, who sticks to the Green and Red lines when going to school at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. "But is that going to make them more money? I think something's behind that."

Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said the T's only aim is better service. After the MBTA created free subway-to-bus transfers with the January fare increase (bus-to-subway transfers cost 45 cents), there is little money to be gained by the T if it gets more subway riders to take the bus. In addition, T officials said, the number of combined bus and subway pass users has risen since the fare increase took place.

"When you think of the spider map of the subway system, it's a good system and it covers a lot of area, but it is hub and spoke and there are a lot of areas that aren't reached," Grabauskas said.

By overlaying bus route maps atop localized maps of subway stops, he said, the T can show "this integrated system" that riders can get to at no additional cost.

Forty percent of T riders spend all or part of their time on a T bus, but it is a number the agency would like to see increase -- to take advantage of recent advances in bus service, including the purchase of 155 buses scheduled to be delivered by summer.

Marilia Pereira, 19, of Quincy, a dedicated Red Line rider, said the new maps and signs may allow her to explore the system a little more.

"I don't know it well enough, and that's what prevents me from using it that much," she said.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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Interesting that the Wonderland to Lynn bus gets so little ridership. Is that a commuter rail redundancy issue or would a potential Blue Line extension suffer similarly?
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:54 AM   #3
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Gee, the 39 is the most popular. SO why the hell do they insist on not building the Arborway line? I sense the manager of the Bus Division is is cahoots with someone.

Also, the 23 is more proof that Roxbury and Dorchester need a new subway line, or the Silver Line at least.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:48 AM   #4
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It's also proof that the #1 needs more frequent scheduling and 60' articulated buses.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:38 PM   #5
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Interesting. there's a lot of ammunition here for a subway expansion through DOT.

What i'd really love to see is what this data would do for the argument to extend the blueline to Lynn. It seems you could use the information here to argue both ways.
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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I think the argument for extending the Blue Line to Lynn has more to do with helping the city economically. They hope what happened to Davis Sq will happen to Lynn.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
Interesting that the Wonderland to Lynn bus gets so little ridership.
This is a bus route with only five trips a day, all inbound. Other Lynn-Wonderland buses probably get a lot more riders.
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Old 04-13-2007, 12:30 AM   #8
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everyone knows the coolest and most heavily frequented bus line is the 57..

After all, they named a restaurant after it downtown.
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Old 04-13-2007, 12:34 AM   #9
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The 6? wasteful? who picks haymarket as a final destination anyway
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:11 AM   #10
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People who come in from the North Shore on Route 1. It's a huge suburban bus terminal. But you are right about the 6. It would probably be better off as a tourist trolley.
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:41 AM   #11
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You'll notice that each of the three high ridership bus routes carries more passengers each day than the Fall River/New Bedford commuter rail line. Would anyone here advocate spending $1.4B to enhance the #1 bus?
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:04 PM   #12
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^be careful what you ask for. a silver line style tunnel under mass ave isn't such a crazy proposal.
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:15 PM   #13
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turnover

Unlike other bus lines the #1 has a lot of turnover on it's route
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:47 PM   #14
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Re: turnover

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Originally Posted by PaulC
Unlike other bus lines the #1 has a lot of turnover on it's route
Turnover?
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:14 PM   #15
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People get off and others get on, often several times per seat during each trip.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:37 PM   #16
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Wink Re: T to roll out new maps to boost use of its buses

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Originally Posted by belmont square View Post
You'll notice that each of the three high ridership bus routes carries more passengers each day than the Fall River/New Bedford commuter rail line. Would anyone here advocate spending $1.4B to enhance the #1 bus?
That would have made more sense than spending it on commuter rail!

I'm still waiting for my Arborway Subway line through Jamaica Plain to replace the #39 bus. If the streets are too congested for cars and trolleys, put the trolleys underground like they did in 1897 on Tremont Street.

The #1 used to be a streetcar line, too...
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