General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
540
Reaction score
45
Not sure if this has been posted, but the MBTA has moved heart2hub's slot to a much better time - leaves Worcester at 6:30 in the AM and leaves SS at 4:30 in the PM. Framingham is also included for some reason but that's the only additional stop. 6:30 is pretty danm early but the previous slot of getting into SS at 9 is way too late.

Dunno why they've moved it other than perhaps Worcester has better ridership retention.
 

Riverside

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
454
Reaction score
138
As someone who used to do a similar commute, leaving Worcester at 6:30 to arrive at South Station around 7:40 would have been a-okay with me. Roll into your office at 8 or a little before, and then guiltlessly tap out at or just after 4 for the super-express home. Plus, for Framingham passengers, that's a pretty sweet express right there.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
Dunno why they've moved it other than perhaps Worcester has better ridership retention.
Cab signal and PTC work is now 100% finished on the line, meaning the new crossovers at the Boston City Line have been activated and the max speed limit has been increased inside of Framingham from 59 to 79 MPH. That rejiggers the potential slots a H2H can leapfrog a local, so these more opportune departures may be new gains at dispatch's disposal that wouldn't have been available to them 2 months ago.
 

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,522
Reaction score
15
What do people on this board project with respect to MBTA ridership over the next two years?
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
540
Reaction score
45
I think it will substantially recover during that time frame, but it probably will take the full two years.
Their best case for the Bus and Subway was 80% by Early 2022. When you factor in the economy, that's basically substantially recovering. It's just the CR that lags.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
1,684
Their best case for the Bus and Subway was 80% by Early 2022. When you factor in the economy, that's basically substantially recovering. It's just the CR that lags.
...and at 80% the remaining gap hitting CR and ferry hardest can be standard-issue attributed to the economic recession. Proportionately that's about the size of the dinger in any economic downturn, so by that point we're more or less dealing in conventional wisdom once more. This will be a longer-lasting downturn for sure, but the properties of it won't be anything strange or novel to us for how those lagging indicators behave.

Total post-COVID recovery shifts in telecommuting would be lost in the statistical noise of projected annual congestion increases in a 'regular' workforce, so the world being changed by this whole saga doesn't mean that the recovery prospects of that malingering last 20% is any big crapshoot. Maybe WFH changes make the last 10% of recovery a little slower and more stubborn with the most-affected modes, maybe not. Any which way congestion effects will be stiffly reasserting themselves once more when we're inside that 85th-90th percentile, so we'll be back to largely the same commute stressors as before determining demand & behavior regardless of whether the office environment sees lasting changes. But enough fatigued employers have also sounded-off in the last couple months now on how WFH is such a much poorer substitute for the real thing with limitations on its shelf life (esp. for large-scale employee engagement) that--despite where you might land on the sliding scale of predicted permanent shifts--it's pretty clear by now we're not looking at a full-on "The office is O-V-A-H!" level total sea change like some were boldly predicting after Q1 of the pandemic a few months ago. The remaining unknowns there kind of slot within the boundaries of traditional decade-shift generational changes in work habits. We've been through that before. To WFH vs. To Not WFH probably won't be too cosmically off-scale a change as recurring generational shifts go.
 
Last edited:

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,187
Reaction score
372
...and at 80% the remaining gap hitting CR and ferry hardest can be standard-issue attributed to the economic recession. Proportionately that's about the size of the dinger in any economic downturn, so by that point we're more or less dealing in conventional wisdom once more. This will be a longer-lasting downturn for sure, but the properties of it won't be anything strange or novel to us for how those lagging indicators behave.

Total post-COVID recovery shifts in telecommuting would be lost in the statistical noise of projected annual congestion increases in a 'regular' workforce, so the world being changed by this whole saga doesn't mean that the recovery prospects of that malingering last 20% is any big crapshoot. Maybe WFH changes make the last 10% of recovery a little slower and more stubborn with the most-affected modes, maybe not. Any which way congestion effects will be stiffly reasserting themselves once more when we're inside that 85th-90th percentile, so we'll be back to largely the same commute stressors as before determining demand & behavior regardless of whether the office environment sees lasting changes. But enough fatigued employers have also sounded-off in the last couple months now on how WFH is such a much poorer substitute for the real thing with limitations on its shelf life (esp. for large-scale employee engagement) that--despite where you might land on the sliding scale of predicted permanent shifts--it's pretty clear by now we're not looking at a full-on "The office is O-V-A-H!" level total sea change like some were boldly predicting after Q1 of the pandemic a few months ago. The remaining unknowns there kind of slot within the boundaries of traditional decade-shift generational changes in work habits. We've been through that before. To WFH vs. To Not WFH probably won't be too cosmically off-scale a change as recurring generational shifts go.
I think the two lasting shifts, that will dramatically impact T demand are going to be:

Much more WFH for at least a couple days a week (general office workers) = less demand every day of the week.
More flexible start/stop times for in-office periods = more demand spread throughout the day.

In the companies I consult with both of these patterns seem to be long lasting, planned to extend beyond the pandemic.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
795
Much more WFH for at least a couple days a week (general office workers) = less demand every day of the week.
More flexible start/stop times for in-office periods = more demand spread throughout the day.
I totally agree. I think the implication for the T is very clear: while the CBD remains central, the "pendler" commute (as regular as a pendulum) will not. The need to get downtown will be spread across both the hours of the day and the days of the week.

For the rich, it will probably also favor owning both of
- a crash pad in the city (studios / 1BR)
- a vacation home in the Berkshires, Cape, or Maine.

There's probably also going to be a big shuffle for the rich--the number of home for sale in Winchester is crazy, but I can't quite figure out who's buying and selling? Maybe this is a clear "if the kids aren't in public school, you don't need to live in Winchester" ?
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,430
Reaction score
461
Much more WFH for at least a couple days a week (general office workers) = less demand every day of the week.
More flexible start/stop times for in-office periods = more demand spread throughout the day.
This is precisely what my company is looking at. We want some in office time, because there is still tremendous value in water cooler collaboration. But we also understand that people can be very productive in other ways from a remote location. We plan to consolidate some office space, but very much expect in office work to continue for most people at varied and flexible times. In many cases, that might mean coming in for a portion of a day, and transportation options will need to shift in order to address such patterns.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
795
All this strongly favors
  • RUR (clockface, all day service, with less emphasis on "peak pulse in"/"peak pulse out")
  • Driving (or BUS-on-Interstate): without strong peak jams, driving from Maine/NH, the Cape, or Western MA will usually be pretty easy
  • To compete with driving, I think there'll need to be more "downtown to downtown" service
    • More Worcester Heart to Hub, More PVD service
    • Newburyport should extend 1 mile to the walkable core
    • Lowell should extend to the UMass West
    • Haverhill needs its extension for PnR
 

chmeeee

Active Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
311
Reaction score
38
There's probably also going to be a big shuffle for the rich--the number of home for sale in Winchester is crazy, but I can't quite figure out who's buying and selling? Maybe this is a clear "if the kids aren't in public school, you don't need to live in Winchester" ?
I think a lot of that is opportunistic selling. Property values in the first ring 'burbs have skyrocketed during COVID, so more people are listing to try and take advantage of that.
 

fatnoah

New member
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
80
Reaction score
27
I think a lot of that is opportunistic selling. Property values in the first ring 'burbs have skyrocketed during COVID, so more people are listing to try and take advantage of that.
I currently live in Winchester and have a co-worker looking to move here. So far, every property he's put an offer on has had multiple bidders over asking price. The market's hot, and people are taking advantage. (Also, I wish the 350 bus was more predictable. There's a +- 15 minute delta at times, and long headways means there's a real risking of having to wait 30+ minutes for a bus, and predictive apps are only marginally helpful, since the bus often appears 5-10 minutes earlier than predicted)

Maybe this is a clear "if the kids aren't in public school, you don't need to live in Winchester"
In my own case, we moved from downtown Boston to Winchester a couple years ago for good (but not insanely high pressure) schools, and room for our ADHD kid to move around. Lack of in-person public schools has us seriously considering moving back to the city and going w/private school.

Even when we moved a few years ago, I was seeing a trend in Boston (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End) where it seemed like nearly every listing I looked at had been reduced from its original value. Prices were still very high, but I felt it was a sign of things flattening a bit. I'm VERY curious to see what the trend looks like for the next couple years.
 

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,522
Reaction score
15
Total speculation, but I'd imagine that with less traffic comes less pressure on prices right next to transit. I own a condo close to an Orange Line station in JP, and I imagine COVID will bring down home prices around here, but who knows.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,187
Reaction score
372
This is precisely what my company is looking at. We want some in office time, because there is still tremendous value in water cooler collaboration. But we also understand that people can be very productive in other ways from a remote location. We plan to consolidate some office space, but very much expect in office work to continue for most people at varied and flexible times. In many cases, that might mean coming in for a portion of a day, and transportation options will need to shift in order to address such patterns.
From today's Washington Post:
"Corporations report the pandemic is prompting permanent changes in how they operate.
With the end of the crisis still months away at best, 64 percent of corporate decision-makers surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence said they are making permanent a significant increase in remote working. And one third say they will permanently shrink their office footprint accordingly, according to the survey, out today."

Full article (topic is broader than this point):
https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...n-with-good-vaccine-rollout-new-report-finds/
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
540
Reaction score
45
"Corporations report the pandemic is prompting permanent changes in how they operate.
With the end of the crisis still months away at best, 64 percent of corporate decision-makers surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence said they are making permanent a significant increase in remote working. And one third say they will permanently shrink their office footprint accordingly, according to the survey, out today."
That's really bad news for Boston if that ends up being true.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,703
Reaction score
445
That's really bad news for Boston if that ends up being true.

Bad news for office buildings? Yes.

Bad news for Boston? No.

We are at the beginning of decades (if this planet isn't first blown up or flooded) of longer life expectancies and higher discretionary income retirees (an exploding demographic) who want to live near medical centers, cultural centers and restaurants.

Boston's population is just at the beginning of its explosion with high spending seniors and the service industires that cater to them.

Add in the fact that EACH YEAR, globally, TENS of MILLIONS are leaving rural huts and entering the professional/middle classes in China/India/Brazil, Turkey etc. and you have the makings of a particularly fortuitous niche for Boston as one of the world's best positioned historic tourist destinations.

The only thing "lost" will be office buildings/white collar commuters.
 
Last edited:

Top