MBTA Bus & BRT

Koopzilla24

New member
Joined
Dec 20, 2022
Messages
58
Reaction score
95
How feasible/beneficial would it be to run key bus routes with the highest ridership as overnights from 1-5am like the Owl buses in San Fran? Or even just on Friday-Saturday overnight so people can get home from clubs, bars, work safely without sometimes sketchy Uber and Lyft. The 23, 28, 57, 66, and 1 seem like good candidates and I’d imagine it’d be nice for those employed at these late-running establishments that have to be at them later than anyone else to know there’s a transit option to get home.
 

bakgwailo

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,480
Reaction score
846
The MBTA somehow has less buses now than it did in 1972, despite 50% more people living in greater Boston.


Additional reporting from StreetsBLOG Mass. https://mass.streetsblog.org/2023/01/25/advocates-set-an-agenda-for-salvaging-the-ts-troubled-buses/
I mean it's 1,121 vs 1,200 buses, and the total number of buses doesn't tell the story as the MBTA today also has some buses with higher capacity than in 1972. Also in 1972, you don't have the rerouted OL out to Malden (I guess I'd call the OL into the NEC a wash), nor do you have the Red from Harvard out to Alewife, nor the final leg of the RL out to Quincy Adams/Braintree. Nor did you have the expanded 6-car trains on the RL and BL. This is to say that there was also increased capacity (and range) on the subway systems that pick up capacity, too, since 1972. Not saying that the MBTA shouldn't have invested and purchased more buses for today, just that I am unsure if it is as dire as the reporting makes it out to be.
 

Roxxma

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
597
Reaction score
151
I mean it's 1,121 vs 1,200 buses, and the total number of buses doesn't tell the story as the MBTA today also has some buses with higher capacity than in 1972.
Does that include fleets from the private commuter bus companies (Hudson, Vocell, Brush Hill, Metropolitan Coach, Hart, Michaud, etc.) that have either gone out of business or have had their service absorbed by the MBTA since 1972?
 

millerm277

Active Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
389
Reaction score
314
How feasible/beneficial would it be to run key bus routes with the highest ridership as overnights from 1-5am like the Owl buses in San Fran? Or even just on Friday-Saturday overnight so people can get home from clubs, bars, work safely without sometimes sketchy Uber and Lyft. The 23, 28, 57, 66, and 1 seem like good candidates and I’d imagine it’d be nice for those employed at these late-running establishments that have to be at them later than anyone else to know there’s a transit option to get home.
For an intelligently run and properly staffed transit system, entirely feasible. For the MBTA at this exact moment in time - probably impossible due to the driver shortage.

They currently don't have enough drivers to be running the intended level of service and we're seeing service reductions because of it. Adding service at a time few people actually want to work, seems like it's clearly not going to work out from a staffing perspective with their present workforce. Even if you paid better for those shifts - when you don't have enough drivers to go around you're probably just making existing service worse.

--------

Assuming you fix the driver shortage (which is fixable with....money and a bit of time), the difficulty I see is in figuring out how to design the missing routes you need in a way that people actually know they're there and use them.

Routes like you mention are good candidates to run, but they're also of pretty limited utility in a lot of cases without some kind of replacement for links normally made by subway.

For example, the 57. Sure, there is absolutely some ridership just along the corridor, maybe even enough to be consider running it by itself. But a lot is normally looking to go further inbound from Kenmore....via the Green Line that's not running.

I am not overly familiar with the last attempt to do a late night bus system (which I believe tried to basically mimic subway routes to the stop), but I do think that the advent of smartphones/transit apps makes it somewhat more realistic today to get people to use a late night bus route that can stay on the major road corridors and link what needs to be linked/cover the urban core, rather than having to hit each subway station's actual location.

Of course, this would require good communication and marketing....also questionable as a strength of the MBTA at the moment.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,801
Reaction score
675
How feasible/beneficial would it be to run key bus routes with the highest ridership as overnights from 1-5am like the Owl buses in San Fran? Or even just on Friday-Saturday overnight so people can get home from clubs, bars, work safely without sometimes sketchy Uber and Lyft. The 23, 28, 57, 66, and 1 seem like good candidates and I’d imagine it’d be nice for those employed at these late-running establishments that have to be at them later than anyone else to know there’s a transit option to get home.
DD899CB9-54F0-4FD9-88BC-1313B7896D79.jpeg
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,519
Reaction score
2,469
Why haven’t the bus stops nearest Medford/Tufts GLX (but either a half block or full block away) been moved to 1) Curbside on the outbound direction (toward Mystic Valley Parkway) 2) curb opposite in the inbound direction (toward Davis)?

Bus Network Redesign isn’t going to get a fair picture of 80/94/96 use if the connections are so long a schlep away.
 

HelloBostonHi

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
1,345
Reaction score
3,166
Why haven’t the bus stops nearest Medford/Tufts GLX (but either a half block or full block away) been moved to 1) Curbside on the outbound direction (toward Mystic Valley Parkway) 2) curb opposite in the inbound direction (toward Davis)?

Bus Network Redesign isn’t going to get a fair picture of 80/94/96 use if the connections are so long a schlep away.
Bnrd has already got their map, routes and schedules approved by the board and run their federal equity analysis and had that approved. Those decisions have already been made
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,519
Reaction score
2,469
Ok, even if they've finished BNRD, whose job is it to move bus stops to actually Coincide with GLX station locations?
Specifically stations that will keep a bus even after today's 80 is abolished, like:
  • Medford/Tufts (at station curb and across the street) (New 80 Davis - Burlington)
  • Ball Sq on/at Broadway Bridge (New 89 Davis - Sullivan)
 
Last edited:

lainpimicaja

New member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
60
Reaction score
184
Ok, even if they've finished BNRD, whose job is it to move bus stops to actually Coincide with GLX station locations?
Specifically stations that will keep a bus even after today's 80 is abolished, like:
  • Medford/Tufts (at station curb and across the street) (New 80 Davis - Burlington)
  • Ball Sq on/at Broadway Bridge (New 89 Davis - Sullivan)
Probably depends on whenever those new bus routes go into effect. After that, it's probably up to the T or whichever roadway owner owns the curbs (Somerville? Medford? MassDOT or the T if it's on / near a bridge, etc.)
 

jbray

Active Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
136
Reaction score
145
Ok, even if they've finished BNRD, whose job is it to move bus stops to actually Coincide with GLX station locations?
Specifically stations that will keep a bus even after today's 80 is abolished, like:
  • Medford/Tufts (at station curb and across the street) (New 80 Davis - Burlington)
  • Ball Sq on/at Broadway Bridge (New 89 Davis - Sullivan)
Where would you put them, in the lane? Medford/Tufts is three lanes so you could feasibly have single direction stop without eminent domain from Tufts but Broadway at Ball lost the four lane bridge in the GLX cuts and so there is no location for the bus to stop without it being directly in traffic.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,801
Reaction score
675
So I recall transit app being totally free. Now it won’t show all the buses etc without paying? That’s such bullshit. Why doesn’t the MBTA just have an app that’s free since it’s their frigging data anyway?
 

as02143

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
190
Reaction score
248
So I recall transit app being totally free. Now it won’t show all the buses etc without paying? That’s such bullshit. Why doesn’t the MBTA just have an app that’s free since it’s their frigging data anyway?
MBTA stopped promoting the app. And i think they are just saying that their website is "enough".
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,278
Reaction score
5,985
So I recall transit app being totally free. Now it won’t show all the buses etc without paying? That’s such bullshit. Why doesn’t the MBTA just have an app that’s free since it’s their frigging data anyway?
It's not every expensive - it's 20 or so bucks a year.

The MBTA provides the data for free, but the Transit app needs to pay its developers somehow (and I'm told they don't pay very much). Either they crowd the app with ads or charge a subscription fee. I honestly prefer the latter. It's a very nice app.

Alternatively, the T could fund the Transit App, but then it would probably restrict service to areas where the transit agency pays them, and that would dramatically reduce the universal utility of the thing (and how specific is it - does it show MBTA buses but not LRTA or WRTA if those agencies don't pay?) It also encourages competitors to offer better terms and discounts to agencies, which ultimately fragments the user experience.

I'd rather pay a pittance for a good experience all over the country than nothing for a mediocre one limited to Boston.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
3,164
Reaction score
1,991
So I recall transit app being totally free. Now it won’t show all the buses etc without paying? That’s such bullshit. Why doesn’t the MBTA just have an app that’s free since it’s their frigging data anyway?
I use an app called, "Boston Transit." It appears to be Android only, so maybe not an option for you, but otherwise, it works quite well and is ad supported (inobtrusive ads).


If you are using an iPhone, it might be worth searching the Apple app store for other titles. There could well be something that doesn't require a subscription.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,519
Reaction score
2,469
Where would you put them, in the lane? [...] Broadway at Ball lost the four lane bridge in the GLX cuts and so there is no location for the bus to stop without it being directly in traffic.
I would put the westbound broadway stop for the Ball Sq GLX directly in traffic, yes. We see this at bus bump-outs in other locations, such as on College Ave. It'd only hold up traffic for minute every 20 minutes of the day
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,801
Reaction score
675
It's not every expensive - it's 20 or so bucks a year.

The MBTA provides the data for free, but the Transit app needs to pay its developers somehow (and I'm told they don't pay very much). Either they crowd the app with ads or charge a subscription fee. I honestly prefer the latter. It's a very nice app.

Alternatively, the T could fund the Transit App, but then it would probably restrict service to areas where the transit agency pays them, and that would dramatically reduce the universal utility of the thing (and how specific is it - does it show MBTA buses but not LRTA or WRTA if those agencies don't pay?) It also encourages competitors to offer better terms and discounts to agencies, which ultimately fragments the user experience.

I'd rather pay a pittance for a good experience all over the country than nothing for a mediocre one limited to Boston.
I agree twenty bucks is not a lot, but we’re in the 21st century. Providing organized and usable digital data should be part and parcel of what any government agency does for its users. Given the state of the MBTA, that may be an unreasonable expectation, but I believe that all government agencies at this point in history should not simply be providing data, but usable data.
 

Texasian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
186
Reaction score
166
Alternatively, the T could fund the Transit App, but then it would probably restrict service to areas where the transit agency pays them, and that would dramatically reduce the universal utility of the thing (and how specific is it - does it show MBTA buses but not LRTA or WRTA if those agencies don't pay?) It also encourages competitors to offer better terms and discounts to agencies, which ultimately fragments the user experience.
Muni out in SF does this: basically the app tracks where you primarily use it, and if you fall within SF using primarily MUNI services, it gives you the paid tier for free. They also have custom prompts when you use Go, instead of asking if your train/bus is crowded etc, they ask if the stop is clean. I don't think theres a mechanism for them to show only Muni services, and I doubt the Transit folks would agree to that.

If Transit's limitations on the free version are too much, there's always CityMapper or Moovit.

So I recall transit app being totally free. Now it won’t show all the buses etc without paying? That’s such bullshit. Why doesn’t the MBTA just have an app that’s free since it’s their frigging data anyway?
If the MBTA put out an app, we'd all be on here complaining about how the UX sucks or how theirs some weird edge case that breaks things or how the trip planning is sub-optimal. Apps are expensive, both financially and resource wise, and sometimes it just makes sense to NOT do something especially in a resource constrained org.
 

Top