MBTA Bus & BRT

Teban54

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One alternative, if they want to keep the one-seat ride across the Charles, would be to stay on Huntington until Mass Ave and then head north from there. Terminate at Kendall or Central or maybe through-run, I don't know. But you'd maintain a one-seat ride pretty close to the Pru, a short walking transfer to the Orange Line, and equal connectivity to the Green Line (all 4 branches via Symphony and Hynes). You'd also be spending more time on Huntington and Mass Ave, both wide enough to be optimistic for bus lanes.

At the same time, you could keep a "T47" that runs Porter-Union-Central-BU Bridge-LMA-Nubian/Ruggles -- or even double up the T47 and T39 along South Huntington.

But I agree with @HenryAlan -- if they can make the proposed corridor viable, that would be a remarkable service.
How about letting T39 take over the proposed 55 extension from LMA (Brookline Ave) to Kendall/MIT? Then run T47 exactly as you proposed.

I'm not sure if 55's route is suitable for articulated buses, and 55's current ridership in Fenway may not justify T39's capacity. But if feasible, this would maintain connections from Jamaica Plain to Mass Ave and Hynes Convention Center Station (with enough GL branches for good frequency, and close to Copley).
 

737900er

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The T finally issued their RFP for the BEBs with a base order of 45 (for Quincy) and options up to 360.

One interesting tidbit is an option for 100 buses with left doors (35 for North Cambridge and 65 more). I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the redesign, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. The garages that would get buses under this order would likely be Quincy, North Cambridge, Arborway, and Fellsway. I can't see Quincy needing buses with left doors and North Cambridge would be full of left door, so there must be some idea at Arborway or Fellsway to use them. Certainly, many of the Harvard routes like T66, T77, T109, 75, 78, 86 could use those (although I have a hard time seeing some of those routes assigned to Arborway or Fellsway), so I imagine there are other ideas floating around to make use of them too.

 
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FK4

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Im pretty surprised Roslindale Sq is not on the proposed new map. It's a substantial bus node where many routes converge, and also one of the few areas at this point served by bus-only lanes.
 

Riverside

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How about letting T39 take over the proposed 55 extension from LMA (Brookline Ave) to Kendall/MIT? Then run T47 exactly as you proposed.

I'm not sure if 55's route is suitable for articulated buses, and 55's current ridership in Fenway may not justify T39's capacity. But if feasible, this would maintain connections from Jamaica Plain to Mass Ave and Hynes Convention Center Station (with enough GL branches for good frequency, and close to Copley).
Yes, this is an option too, but I think the Huntington + Mass option is still stronger -- closer connections to the Orange Line and the Pru, and maintains service to Northeastern, which does also see reasonably high ridership on the 39.
 

fattony

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Count me in the camp of people unhappy with how Somerville is treated. Somerville gets better access to downtown Boston via GLX, but in exchange loses almost all intra-Somerville bus service? How can Ball Square - itself not a very large commercial district, but located directly on the busy Broadway corridor - lose all bus service? Not a downgrade to lower frequency. Not a mildly inconvenient reroute. LOSS OF ALL BUS SERVICE.

I can understand Magoun Sq (station) and Gilman not getting bus service. I can understand Tufts getting improved service. Ball Sq doesn't makes sense to me and I hope they can find a way to serve it better.
 
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ceo

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Yeah, a lot of people in Somerville are up in arms about these changes. The 80 duplicates the GLX route, of course, but cutting out the entire Broadway corridor between Teele Square and Winter Hill? That's one of the three major east-west routes through Somerville and a lot of people live there.
 

FK4

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Which map are you looking at? It's on both of these:

System Map

Brookline South, Roslindale, and West Roxbury
Oh, I was looking at the bus spider map I saw in the globe article. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/05...ng-new-bus-map-heres-what-it-would-look-like/


To be honest, I saw the picture and I posted my comment here before looking into the content of the article. I actually really like the map that you shared, it’s a great idea to use different colors/weights for the lines to indicate frequency of service.
 

Riverside

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SL4/5: Not sure how I feel about the loss of a direct (and accessible) Green connection here.
I did some digging. The question here is how many Silver Line riders disembark at Temple Place or Boylston (or I guess Chinatown) and transfer to the Green Line. And I think we have data suggesting that the percentage is actually pretty low.

The best data I could find was from the 2015-17 MBTA Passenger Survey, specifically the full raw data. The survey did not specifically ask which service passengers transfered from, but did ask about the mode. This data isn't perfect -- for example, Downtown Crossing is also served (somewhat indirectly) by the 7 and 11 and some express buses, but we can still sanity check by comparing the subway station numbers to the Silver Line numbers.

Screen Shot 2022-05-17 at 11.48.30 AM.png


So, about 600 riders boarding the Green Line at Boylston or Park Street originated on a bus; some of those may be from the 43, but the 43 had about 1,000 passengers pre-covid, while SL5 had about 10,000.

(According to the Better Bus Profiles, the 7 had 4,400 of whom about 33% -- 1,400 -- alight near DTX, while the 11 had 3,000 of whom about 440 alighted near DTX. So a likely "ceiling" of 1,840 bus passengers who did not come from SL5. I should pause to note that these numbers aren't entirely comparable; the BBP figures represented more or less an absolute count; the spreadsheet comes from rider surveys, meaning it's not all riders but just those willing to fill out the survey. So we can't compare the raw numbers to each other, but we should still be able to compare the ratios of stations between each other, and use the BBP numbers as sanity checks.)

By contrast, the Red Line and Orange Line at the DTX superstation saw 3,630 passengers originating from bus routes.

So that already points to a minimum 3:1 preference for Orange & Red over Green.

We can do the analysis from the other direction too -- looking at Silver Line passengers and what their previous mode of transit was. Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center see ~1,600 passengers, presumably boarding almost entirely from the Orange Line (and probably boarding almost entirely at Tufts).

Downtown Crossing and Boylston see 982 passengers originating from rail, which must then be divided up between Red, Orange, and Green at DTX, Park, and Boylston. Recall that the Park Street Red Line number was 960, which suggests that most of those 982 riders are coming from Red, not Green or Orange. (The Tufts number is high enough that I could believe that it's the primary Orange-Silver transfer.)

And then there are the 259 passengers who board at Boylston. Assuming that Park Street's Red Line number (960) comes from both the 43 and SL5, it could be that SL5's combined 982 figure for DTX and Boylston is comprised of
  • ~800 passengers coming from Red (leaving ~160 Red passengers for the 43)
  • ~200 passengers coming from Green at Boylston
  • and some Silver-to-Green passengers disembarking inbound at Chinatown to transfer to Green and boarding outbound at Boylston -- that would explain why the Silver-Green Boylston number is higher than our inferred Green-Silver Boylston estimate here
And then all of that gets compared to the Orange Line transfer number at TMC of 1,600.

So, put that all together, and that suggests that there is a large preference for transfers to Orange and Red -- we know it's at a minimum a 3:1 preference, but could be higher -- and only a relatively small demand for Green Line transfers.

I think this seems generally plausible:
  • Going northbound, Orange and Green will get you to the same place in Downtown, and historically the Green Line only had additional offerings of Lechmere and Science Park -- not major draws
  • Going westbound, Orange and Green will both get you to Back Bay, will both get you to Northeastern, and have somewhat overlapping service to Longwood
  • And as you get further west on the Green Line, you get closer to territory where a journey southbound via bus transfer at Nubian or Ruggles ends up making more sense.
So, based on historic conditions, I could possibly see there indeed being weak demand for a direct Silver-Green transfer.

The big issue, though, is that GLX is going to change all of this -- suddenly Orange and Green will no longer be interchangeable heading north. So that's a drawback. The Winter Street Concourse means that the transfer from Otis St to Park St wouldn't have to be terrible, but it's less than ideal.

One option to ameliorate all this would be to extend the Silver Line north from South Station along Congress St to Haymarket or North Station (potentially bypassing DTX); that could eliminate some transfers altogether and would add a direct connection to the Blue Line.
 

JeffDowntown

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I did some digging. The question here is how many Silver Line riders disembark at Temple Place or Boylston (or I guess Chinatown) and transfer to the Green Line. And I think we have data suggesting that the percentage is actually pretty low.

The best data I could find was from the 2015-17 MBTA Passenger Survey, specifically the full raw data. The survey did not specifically ask which service passengers transfered from, but did ask about the mode. This data isn't perfect -- for example, Downtown Crossing is also served (somewhat indirectly) by the 7 and 11 and some express buses, but we can still sanity check by comparing the subway station numbers to the Silver Line numbers.

View attachment 24457

So, about 600 riders boarding the Green Line at Boylston or Park Street originated on a bus; some of those may be from the 43, but the 43 had about 1,000 passengers pre-covid, while SL5 had about 10,000.

(According to the Better Bus Profiles, the 7 had 4,400 of whom about 33% -- 1,400 -- alight near DTX, while the 11 had 3,000 of whom about 440 alighted near DTX. So a likely "ceiling" of 1,840 bus passengers who did not come from SL5. I should pause to note that these numbers aren't entirely comparable; the BBP figures represented more or less an absolute count; the spreadsheet comes from rider surveys, meaning it's not all riders but just those willing to fill out the survey. So we can't compare the raw numbers to each other, but we should still be able to compare the ratios of stations between each other, and use the BBP numbers as sanity checks.)

By contrast, the Red Line and Orange Line at the DTX superstation saw 3,630 passengers originating from bus routes.

So that already points to a minimum 3:1 preference for Orange & Red over Green.

We can do the analysis from the other direction too -- looking at Silver Line passengers and what their previous mode of transit was. Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center see ~1,600 passengers, presumably boarding almost entirely from the Orange Line (and probably boarding almost entirely at Tufts).

Downtown Crossing and Boylston see 982 passengers originating from rail, which must then be divided up between Red, Orange, and Green at DTX, Park, and Boylston. Recall that the Park Street Red Line number was 960, which suggests that most of those 982 riders are coming from Red, not Green or Orange. (The Tufts number is high enough that I could believe that it's the primary Orange-Silver transfer.)

And then there are the 259 passengers who board at Boylston. Assuming that Park Street's Red Line number (960) comes from both the 43 and SL5, it could be that SL5's combined 982 figure for DTX and Boylston is comprised of
  • ~800 passengers coming from Red (leaving ~160 Red passengers for the 43)
  • ~200 passengers coming from Green at Boylston
  • and some Silver-to-Green passengers disembarking inbound at Chinatown to transfer to Green and boarding outbound at Boylston -- that would explain why the Silver-Green Boylston number is higher than our inferred Green-Silver Boylston estimate here
And then all of that gets compared to the Orange Line transfer number at TMC of 1,600.

So, put that all together, and that suggests that there is a large preference for transfers to Orange and Red -- we know it's at a minimum a 3:1 preference, but could be higher -- and only a relatively small demand for Green Line transfers.

I think this seems generally plausible:
  • Going northbound, Orange and Green will get you to the same place in Downtown, and historically the Green Line only had additional offerings of Lechmere and Science Park -- not major draws
  • Going westbound, Orange and Green will both get you to Back Bay, will both get you to Northeastern, and have somewhat overlapping service to Longwood
  • And as you get further west on the Green Line, you get closer to territory where a journey southbound via bus transfer at Nubian or Ruggles ends up making more sense.
So, based on historic conditions, I could possibly see there indeed being weak demand for a direct Silver-Green transfer.

The big issue, though, is that GLX is going to change all of this -- suddenly Orange and Green will no longer be interchangeable heading north. So that's a drawback. The Winter Street Concourse means that the transfer from Otis St to Park St wouldn't have to be terrible, but it's less than ideal.

One option to ameliorate all this would be to extend the Silver Line north from South Station along Congress St to Haymarket or North Station (potentially bypassing DTX); that could eliminate some transfers altogether and would add a direct connection to the Blue Line.
People desiring North on GLX would be just as likely to transfer to Green at Boylston (via Chinatown SL4/5 Stop) or Catch Orange at Tufts and transfer at North Station (likely faster). Both transfers service BOTH SL4 and SL5.
SL4 to South Station extension to Haymarket/North Station would almost certainly be the SLOWEST option to connect to GLX. It only serves one SL 4/5 branch and riders are smart enough not to stay on the bus.
 

Riverside

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People desiring North on GLX would be just as likely to transfer to Green at Boylston (via Chinatown SL4/5 Stop) or Catch Orange at Tufts and transfer at North Station (likely faster). Both transfers service BOTH SL4 and SL5.
SL4 to South Station extension to Haymarket/North Station would almost certainly be the SLOWEST option to connect to GLX. It only serves one SL 4/5 branch and riders are smart enough not to stay on the bus.
The Redesign has proposed consolidating SL4 and SL5 into a single route that serves both Downtown Crossing (via a stop at Chauncy & Summer) and South Station. So that would eliminate the branching question altogether.

If the Silver Line were extended to Haymarket via Congress, I'd consider having it run direct(-ish) from Tufts to South Station -- wherever bus lanes can be placed. As you say, Chinatown could be an option as well for Green Line transfer. I am not convinced that an extension from South Station to Haymarket (with bus lanes) would be so slow. Additionally, I'd be interested to see how many Silver Line riders who currently transfer to Orange use it to go to the northern half of downtown -- probably some of those could be lured away from the Orange Line via a single seat ride.

But, setting aside an extension, the key question here is whether relocating the Downtown Crossing stop to Chauncy & Summer (from its current locations at Temple Place and at Boylston station) would significantly reduce access for Silver-Green transfers. According to Google Maps, Temple Place to Park St is a 2 minute uncovered walk, while Chauncy & Summer would be a 4 minute covered walk, with significantly increased frequencies on the Silver Line -- decreasing a maximum scheduled wait time of 8 minutes to 4.8 minutes.

Meaning, even with the extra 2 minutes to transfer, the overall journey time would still actually be reduced, and you'd have less time exposed to bad weather when making the transfer as well.

So, GLX remains a wildcard, but cerainly for the apparently small percentage of Silver-Green transfers, that seems like a potentially reasonable compromise, especially given the overall increase in frequencies and increase in direct service to both Downtown Crossing and South Station.
 

HenryAlan

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I actually really like the map that you shared, it’s a great idea to use different colors/weights for the lines to indicate frequency of service.
I've been reading Jaret Walker's Human Transit blog for years, and I that's something he has really emphasized. Adding frequency data by line thickness makes for a much more useful map!
 

Riverside

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Yeah, a lot of people in Somerville are up in arms about these changes. The 80 duplicates the GLX route, of course, but cutting out the entire Broadway corridor between Teele Square and Winter Hill? That's one of the three major east-west routes through Somerville and a lot of people live there.
Yeah for the most part all of the criticism I've seen on Twitter so far has been regarding Somerville. Perhaps other stuff will get noticed later, but this is definitely what's getting the most attention right away. I'm sure the map will be adjusted. Hopefully the feedback coalesces into relatively clear requests.
 

shockingboston

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One of the interesting parts of the proposal is the reduction of buses that will transfer at Ruggles; with the elimination of Bus 44 and 45, and Bus 22 and 28 no longer terminating at Ruggles. Under the proposal 22 and 28 will have an OL transfer at Roxbury Crossing. I do not think Tremont St between Columbus Ave and Huntington Ave can handle the additional bus traffic (IMO). Bus 66 has tough time getting down the street during non-rush hour, and now they want to add to two more routes along that path.

Also Roxbury Crossing is an interesting OL transfer point for buses running west on Tremont, because riders will have to cross a busy street to access the station. Unless the proposal includes adding entrances for Roxbury Crossing on the opposite side of the street, this appears to be a tough change for riders from bus 28 that need access to OL. However the change does improve travel time to an OL transfer if riding 28.
 

737900er

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I was looking through the BEB RFP, and the way it's structured seems to be:

32 for Quincy in Q4 2023
13 for Quincy in Q4 2024
35 for North Cambridge in Q4 2024 (more than the promised "two years" of diesel...) as an option

The buses might have heat pumps in addition to diesel heaters. Additional buses would presumably delivered to Quincy and Arborway. The buses would charge with pantographs only at the garages, have a range at EIS of 110 miles, and be able to charge from 15% to 100% in 4 hours.
 
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RandomWalk

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The motivation behind the ETB removal was removing a sub fleet and the need for the small garage in North Cambridge. It isn’t too surprising that they’re further sandbagging by pushing the BEBs into a later option.
 

as02143

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One of the interesting parts of the proposal is the reduction of buses that will transfer at Ruggles; with the elimination of Bus 44 and 45, and Bus 22 and 28 no longer terminating at Ruggles. Under the proposal 22 and 28 will have an OL transfer at Roxbury Crossing. I do not think Tremont St between Columbus Ave and Huntington Ave can handle the additional bus traffic (IMO). Bus 66 has tough time getting down the street during non-rush hour, and now they want to add to two more routes along that path.

Also Roxbury Crossing is an interesting OL transfer point for buses running west on Tremont, because riders will have to cross a busy street to access the station. Unless the proposal includes adding entrances for Roxbury Crossing on the opposite side of the street, this appears to be a tough change for riders from bus 28 that need access to OL. However the change does improve travel time to an OL transfer if riding 28.
I've been staring at the map and I'm not sure what to make of this particular piece. The MBTA has historically gone to great extent to create some fairly significant busway terminal facilities. It seems odd and not well thought out that they are not using the facilities that they already have bought and paid for to function as busways.

I think in the 2018 Better Bus Project too, a few of the proposals came about to bypass the busway at Ruggles but not serve it. The public outcry was significant enough for the T to backtrack it. Inspite, or perhaps because they didn't get their way, it looks like they're trying to bring back some of these unpopular proposals under the guise that 25% more service is 25% more service. Just looking at a selection of transfer stations i know and new transfer locations that appear on the static map....it's odd.

The Ruggles case is interesting, but, it's happening at these other stations too:
- Sullivan will have the T109 loop through, the perennial "improvement" to the 90 to skip Sullivan reappears - then their map has the 90 skipping Wellington to use Route 16 only, too! - The T's service planners want to tell Somerville bus riders to f'off, don't they.
- Malden will have the new 99 loop through
- Lechmere busway is going from 4 to 1 route as if no one from East Cambridge visits places that aren't going to be accessible from the GLX
- Davis busway has perhaps the most confusing of all the proposals -- the new 87 to Turkey Hill (!) will loop around Davis Square with 3.5 lefts to make a right. The 87 in the other direction will ALSO make the same loop (but not complete it).
- Alewife busway goes from being a busy pre-pandemic hub to the northwestern suburbs and becomes a small town "intermodal" transit center with 2 bus routes at less than 30 minute headways all day. I guess Cambridge should give up letting the T build busways, because, the T doesn't want to actually use them in Cambridge.
- Harvard busway (safe!) except, where are they going to have space for the new 86 terminating and the new T109? Send them to Alewife or Lechmere since those busways are now undersubscribed?
- Orient Heights busway looks to have a loop on each side! Redundant looping is definitely going to be better and faster for all bus riders.

In a different perspective, the T is proposing a number of new on-street terminals. What are they doing to get the cities and towns to buy into this? I know we all probably feel different, but, are the cities just supposed to give up a lot of metered parking and revenue or are they going to give up curb space out of the goodness of their hearts even if it's not metered?

- New terminal in LMA is at Longwood/Brookline
- Second new terminal -near- LMA is at Brookline Village
- Porter Square is now a big terminal - Where's that going to be? At the station on Somerville Ave. There's not much curb there and a lot of pedestrians.
- Kendall Square is going to be very busy (two new high-frequency routes plus the one 55 route to LMA) so many pedestrians
- Wood island does get to reactivate the loop/busway (current taxi-way)
 

Texasian

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- Porter Square is now a big terminal - Where's that going to be? At the station on Somerville Ave. There's not much curb there and a lot of pedestrians.
With the shopping center getting new owners, I wonder if theres an opportunity for some private/public synergy to get some better bus facilities...
 

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