Bus Network Redesign

The MBTA has embarked on a necessary, but politically perilous exercise: A complete redesign of the bus network. Click here to review the proposed changes to service in your neighborhood. The MBTA will be taking comments for several months before finalizing the plan.

The MBTA’s service planners have conducted a careful, evidence-driven process to create a redesign that will maximize the benefits of bus service in the region. As an elected official, I feel that my highest responsibility is to assure that the process moves forward to a successful conclusion.

For a public agency, cutting any part of any service is always politically dangerous. Existing users have a legitimate vested interest in continuation of services on which they have come to rely. Politicians, speaking for their constituents, are likely to criticize and even threaten the agency. Yet, redesign of the network does require moving routes around and that does mean that at least a few people may experience unwelcome changes.

Because the process is so risky, the MBTA has never comprehensively redesigned their bus route structure. Much of the route structure dates back to the trolley lines of 100 years ago. That means the route structure does not reflect the current distribution of jobs and housing. I salute the current MBTA leadership for being willing to tackle such a difficult challenge.

From both an equity perspective and an environmental perspective, the bus network design process has to be driven by ridership data. There is nothing good about an underloaded bus. Since buses are large, high-emissions vehicles, buses with only a few riders can be less efficient from an emissions perspective than single-occupancy vehicles.

In its redesign process, the MBTA has centered the goal of creating fast, frequent service on routes that will draw large numbers of riders. They are using a huge data set of anonymized data from cell phones that shows the trips that people are taking across the region, regardless of their mode of travel. This previously unavailable window into travel patterns is exposing opportunities for new cross-town connections. Many trips that previously might require several transfers will become one-seat (no transfer needed) rides.

On the other hand, some routes that currently provide one-seat rides for small numbers of people may be curtailed, with the replacement being a two-seat ride (transfer required). The upside will be that both legs of the trip will be on higher frequency routes — transfers are not a burden for riders when the service is frequent enough on both routes.

To achieve higher frequency, the MBTA is planning to add 25% to the current revenue-miles travelled by its bus fleet. The costs of this increase are built in to the MBTA’s board-approved financial plan.

Currently, at rush hour, essentially all serviceable buses are deployed; we cannot expand rush hour service without adding buses to the fleet. However, expansion of the bus fleet is not an immediate option because of limited garage space. So, the proposed service increases must be in off-hours and on weekends, with the goal of building loyal ridership on consistently served routes.

The designers are looking for simplicity or “legibility.” Currently, without trip planning software, it is difficult to navigate to an unfamiliar destination that might require one or more bus transfers. The trip planning apps may be wrong as to where the buses physically are and the transfers may involve delays. In the redesigned system, more of the routes will have high volume and serve recognizable corridors. It will be easier for people to visualize trips.

Improved service for low-income people is a central goal of the redesign. The new route structure will substantially increase the number of low-income people who have access to fast, frequent service. Through the depths of the COVID pandemic, the buses had the most durable ridership — more durable than subway or commuter rail: The low-income critical workers kept going to work. We need to improve service for them.

For the new, high-frequency routes to be fully successful, cities and towns will need to collaborate with the MBTA in creating bus lanes and coordinating traffic signals to give buses priority in critically congested areas.

The MBTA solicited a huge amount of public input before developing their redesign proposal and has mapped out a further ambitious program for soliciting comments on their proposal over the next few months. Visit the MBTA’s Bus Network Redesign Page for additional information and public meetings — that page will continue to be updated over the coming weeks.

Links to Changes by Neighborhood in my District

Click here to view the list of all neighborhoods affected by the changes.

Use this link to give feedback for the MBTA.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

Join the Conversation

62 Comments

  1. It will be interesting to see what the MBTA report says. As a rider of the Route 501 bus (Express to Boston via the Mass. Turnpike) no one has asked for my opinion. In fact, those people involved in making the determination do not ride the T or even drive for the T. These are the people who will influence the final decision when it should be the riders.

    1. I agree with this 100%. I firmly believe that ridership will decrease and our carbon footprint will increase by combining the 501/503 and thus significantly increasing the commute time for Brighton residents who work in the Financial District. I personally would rather drive my car in and pay for parking than taking a bus on this extended route. I suspect others will do the same. I have a proposal though:
      Create an alternating bus schedule as follows:
      1. 501F: This bus goes directly to the Financial District (same route as today) and does not go through Copley first
      2. 501C: This bus goes through Copley first before going to the Financial District (new proposed route)
      These buses should alternate every other bus. This will take coordination of course. This gives the riders who work in the Financial District the option to take either bus. It’s a fair compromise. In time, the MBTA should be able to gather enough metrics to determine whether they need to increase or decrease the frequency of either route.

  2. One peril is that ridership actually has been in flux for a couple of years due to Covid. You don’t want to base your plans for the future on the basis of a couple of years of skewed ridership data. Alternatively, this complete route system redesign is something that should be a continuous project, able to adapt and plan for route changes as ridership shifts.

    1. The data used to determine the draft bus routes are based on pre-pandemic travel as well as travel changes that have occurred during the pandemic. The MBTA has made the appropriate adjustments to their routes to account for pandemic and anticipated post-pandemic travel patterns to ensure that when these routes go into effect, they will effectively serve the riders. The new proposed bus routes are also designed to allow for flexibility in route adjustments as changes in transportation need occur. – Arianna Turner, District Aide

  3. Thanks for being supportive of this complex and vital task of upgrading the transportation system most used by most people in this region. Of course, the first iteration will have flaws, so it is important to frame it as a work-in-progress open to improvements as conditions evolve.

  4. Thank you for this update, without you, I would not be aware of this long-overdue and complex initiative. I am 100% in favor of data-driven, updated, and efficient investment in bus transportation. Bus transport allows for more flexible adjustments to routes than rail, following housing and workplace trends, and is the viable alternative for those of us unable to embrace bicycles.

  5. Will, Thanks for you oversight and advocacy for public transportation over the years. I look forward to your analysis of the recommendations in general and as they affect your constituents.

  6. This will be a pivotal moment in my life. For years of declining tech opportunity in the inner suburbs. I had to give up the automobile (just plain too expensive and job duration spotty to fund it). I am dependent upon going in-town and backtracking out to jobs in distant suburbs or adjacent towns. My last temp job was only 4 miles away but took about 55 minutes to get to. The stakes are high. If I loose service in my community and just plain can’t get around I, like many former co-workers would just leave Massachusetts. The costs here are outweighing the perceived benefits but at least the T is owning up to the 100+ year old hub and spoke model that is breaking down. What I see in the preliminary model is the tendency to hang on to the model that serves the urban centrist plan. Not sure if I am wasting precious time on this or I should just plain go ahead with my relocation plans

  7. …he reads as, once again, his regular bus didn’t show this morning, making him late.

  8. I hope that if they are going to buy more busses then will be electric, not diesel.

    1. Agreed. With all the new development, why haven’t some of the new tax revenues been spent on electric buses already? Like from the Seaport, and now from the new density being created in lower Allston. Obviously, enormous tax revenues are being created and generated off of this real estate. Can you speak to this Will? Where are all the new residential and commercial real estate tax dollars going?

  9. Mt Auburn Street light, when you’re coming from Harvard Square is so short that only 2 to 3 cars can get through. Also the cars coming from Fresh Pond come so fast that I was almost hit on my bicycle.

  10. I moved to Watertown because it had good bus connections. I am always surprised that America has two bus systems. Public buses and school buses. I would like to introduce children to the public transport system as early as possible. We get bus or train passes from school as early as 6 years old in UK. New York City puts pupils on public busses. If we could make better use of the vehicles the limitations of garage space might be eased. My Nephew enjoyed his autonomy in Switzerland riding the trams to school when he was 10 then he returned to USA an was trapped at home.

  11. I hope this redesign includes coordination with the MBTA’s rail services. Planning for public transit without consideration of all modes of transport is like planning our energy future without proper consideration and input from all sources of energy (the flaw in the DPU’s ongoing Docket 20-80 on “The Future of Gas.”)

  12. I disagree that there is no upside to “underloaded” buses – during a pandemic (and this one seems to have no end in sight), fewer riders means lower virus transmission, especially within buses thar have closed systems (heat in winter and AC in summer); the higher emissions from (more frequent?) underloaded buses should be addressed by going electric, rather than by packing us in like sardines.

  13. Thank you as always for your perspective. Like many topics I see both positives and negatives to the plans as written.
    -now that they’re planning to permanently combine the 501 and 503 are they going to reduce fares to local bus since it’s no longer Express. In my experience its been taking 10-25 extra minutes for those of us going to the last few stops on the 501.

    -they previously committed to an iterative process based on changing land use, new development etc. If they’re already using all available buses at peak times, how will they add more trips when e.g. big developments are predicted to add more trips.

    -trips are still being cancelled daily due to driver shortages. The BNR team stated in the past that that issue doesn’t factor into their planning of what a bus network should look like. Unless they have a new perspective, who specifically is responsible to make sure the T can provide the level of service that is being promised.

  14. I also take an express bus via the Turnpike from Watertown. It would be a huge inconvenience if that bus, the 504, was cancelled.
    The alternative buses are terrible- a difference between 15 minutes to get to Copley Sq, versus 50+ minutes using the alternative buses.

    1. Agree as well. Being able to quickly get from Watertown to Copley Sq. by bus is a huge incentive to not drive. Same concept goes for express buses in other areas. A friend of mine is lamenting the elimination of her trip between Haymarket and Medford.

      I wish we’d eliminated the 503 instead of make the 501 longer. If I need to get to Copley Square from Brighton Center I can take the 57 to the green line. But now there’s no quick way to take transit between Brighton Center and South Station. I used to regularly make that 15 to 20 minute bus trip. When it turned into a 35-45 minute one way trip it became not worth it to use transit.

      1. Just wanted to clarify my comments. My regular trips between Brighton Center and South Station are the ones I’ve shifted off of transit.

        Occasionally I’ll take the 501 when I need to get right to the Federal/Franklin stop….but I complain about it 🙂

  15. Thank you, Will, for explaining this clearly and preparing us all for the changes. I support the redesign project, and though I know it will be a bit chaotic for a while and will need some changes, it’s been a long time coming and I hope we’ll get us in a different data-based mindset when it comes to planning transit. I also really appreciate the folks at the MBTA who have been working on this, I’ve attended several meetings and filled out surveys, and I think they’re public input process has been excellent.

  16. 1/ Does the T have any plans to address the bus bunching issue? When you wrote about it here https://willbrownsberger.com/bus-bunching/
    you stated that the only way to address it would be more inspectors.
    2/ The new 64 route seems to be based on an imagined West Station. What will the route be until that happens?
    3/ This plan is going to require cooperation from municipalities. Changing bus stops if needed, making sure they are not blocked, and adding dedicated bus lanes.
    4/ I also want to state I support making all buses free. It makes it easier on passengers and drivers. It helps low wage workers. It also saves money on the new fare collection system, although that may be too far along to reverse.
    Thanks, as always, for your work and analysis.

    1. To address your second question, the new proposed bus routes are designed to allow for more flexibility as changes to the transportation infrastructure are implemented. The 64 bus will run as shown on the current draft map until further notice. The plans for a future West Station have not yet been created. – Arianna Turner, District Aide

  17. If you build it, they will come???

    Why hasn’t the MBTA given the Aberdeen route its own number yet?

    It used to be the 72 and 72/75 at certain times of the day.

    Is this affecting 75 performance metrics?

    1. The data used to determine the draft bus routes are based on travel pre-pandemic as well as travel changes that have occurred during the pandemic. The 75 route was determined to be the most effective route to serve the areas previously served by the 72/75 and the 74. The proposed 75 route will run every 30 minutes or better, 7 days a week, between 6am and 10pm. – Arianna Turner, District Aide

  18. Thanks for following this topic.
    I am wondering how the proposed 54 will manage to go under the Leonard St Bridge in Belmont Center? I understand the buses can no longer pass through now – what will change? Also, is there a more detailed map of how it would route through Waverley Sq? Interested in how it will navigate Waverley St (as opposed to going down Pleasant St, which seems a bit more logical) – which is very narrow at one end, often impassable in the designated travel lane.

    Also, I am wondering if it improves the safety and access for the Belmont Uplands residential development, which had a very circuitous commute.

    It would be great to see more cross-town service (Watertown-Belmont-Arlington).

  19. I have a State and Local Politics 101 question: are any business revenues taxed directly, or indirectly for public transportation? Why, or why not?

    The deal is you pay to get yourself to work. If your work wants to arrange a way to get workers in, great, be it a shuttle, pass program &c.

    What about the notion that business get their workforce delivered to them gratis?

    You can’t assign a value to the pride of paying your own way. I get reducing the burden, but do we realize what we’re embarking on with free rides? The burden doesn’t exist because of the T, it exists -mainly- for other reasons.

    Does the T know how changes in transfers will impact riders with physical mobility issues?

  20. I greatly fear for Bus Route 55. As people return to work, albeit slowly, with pick up expected this coming fall, as more offices open, and as shoppers feel better moving about, and students return to schools, many of the types who typically use 55, to get places. Not everyone can afford Uber or Taxis, so in the increasing population of the West Fenway, that Bus is essential and hours should again start at 7 AM not 10 AM (current), and extend to 7 PM from Park St. M-F.

    1. They are rerouting the bus out of most of the neighborhood. It will no longer stop at Jersey St.

  21. I love the idea of the new bus route that connects Arlington Center to Belmont Center and extends to Waltham and all the way to the Riverside T! Two concerns regarding the Belmont portion: (1) The 74/75 no longer go under the railroad bridge in the Center because the new buses were to tall; this should also affect the new bus route; and, (2) at least one of the streets to be navigated (Waverley) is fairly narrow and often has cars parked on one side or the other; I suspect on-street parking would have to be eliminated to make the street work well for buses.

    1. Good to know; I didn’t realize it was height, I assumed it was to avoid getting stuck in the Belmont Center through traffic jam.

      A bus on Waverley. Interesting. The right on Trap-elo will require a curb redesign?

      Put Belmont Station underground and have a rotary.

      Is there a model that doesn’t involve growth?

  22. Just reviewed Allston Brighton changes with the proposed bus redesign and I’m really liking it. More frequent service, we can get from Brighton Center to Brookline Village (yay!), straightens out the 64 to go more directly to Central/Kendall, and extends later into the evening on a regular schedule. Still reviewing it but looks good so far! And speaking to Tom’s question re bus-bunching – hopefully the bus only lanes and other signal improvements will help. So support your local bus-only lanes!

  23. P.S. to my Belmont comment: The corner at Waverley and Common is currently under reconstruction and will be made narrower. I think it would be difficult for a bus to make the right turn from Common to Waverley. Perhaps Pleasant Street would be a better alternative given the railroad bridge and the drawbacks of using Waverley.

  24. Thanks, Will, this was not 0n my radar at all. The idea of a 54 bus that runs from Arlington Ctr through Belmont Center to Waltham and then Riverside in Newton seems like a great addition!

  25. I would like to know exactly how the transportation planners intend to meaningfully incorporate sex-disaggregated data that originates from womxn in their redesign of the MBTA bus system.

    Specifically, I would like to know that ALL of the planners have read “Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Perez, & how they intend to provide parity for the points discussed in “Chapter One: Can Snow-Clearing be Sexist” where the author cites multiple studies & data looking at urban public transportation & the allocation of resource distribution, specifically with public transportation buses, as well as the assault safety issues faced by womxn described in “Chapter Two: Gender Neutral with Urinals” and the concept of “transit-captives” which are those whose only form of transportation is dictated by public transport infrastructure.

    -What proportion of MBTA bus riders identify as womxn?

    -How will you ensure that same proportion of womxn are present at all stages of the design and implementation process for this MBTA bus system redesign, specifically at every level, including the decision-making level? Especially at the transportation design engineering level?

    Highlights:

    -women travel differently than men (trip-chaining, often with other people & devices (children, pets, strollers), often to unpaid work (elderly caregiving, child daycare/school drop-off/pick-up, Dr.’s appointments) & utilize public transportation systems differently, to different & multiple (often back-to-back, shorter individual trip destinations) and often during “off-peak” hours. Women’s travel patterns tend to be more complex than men’s, & developing an appropriate model to better capture these types of travel patterns is often ignored for the cheaper, easier-to-measure model of men’s public transportation travel patterns which tend to be simpler & more straightforward (one destination/day: to/from paid work in/out of downtown city), even though fewer men ride public transportation (especially public buses, than women)

    -all womxn work; whether or not they are PAID for that work is a separate question & is often ignored in infrastructure design, which ultimately affects everyone. When womxn do engage in PAID work, they tend to make less money than men, and that amount is even more disproportionately less when you add intersectional identities (caregiver, non-White, disability). When womxn do use public transportation, not only do their cumulative trips take longer (including longer wait times for infrequent busses, which then affect transit connections, especially to other busses), but they end up paying more money for those multiple small trips, & the disparity in undue burden cost is amplified even more since it costs them more in paid labor to pay for those multiple small fares since they tend to make less money for comparable work as men. The longer cumulative trips, including extended wait times, further take womxn out or paid labor market when they are having to spend excessive time waiting for multiple busses that run infrequently, especially during off-peak hours.

    -there need to be more shuttles, especially during off-peak hours that can accommodate strollers & mobility devices and that run frequently & cost less to operate & maintain than large busses.

    Ex: look at the variety of college & employer shuttles that operate all over Cambridge & Boston, (especially the university shuttles) including during the evening & on weekends to help bridge those gaps.

    Specific local examples: the Boston University shuttles, the Harvard, MIT & Northeastern shuttles, the MGH/Brigham (formerly Partners) shuttles for patients & employees, the Children’s Hospital shuttles for employees, the senior shuttle that goes to the South Bay Shopping Center, etc.

    There are multiple overlapping shuttle systems that currently exist that are already trying to help bridge the gap in public transportation for where the MBTA is currently having a harder time, but many of these shuttles are only accessible to certain demographic populations, and not everyone who could meaningfully use & benefit from them is able to access them. This concept of shuttling should be expanded upon & should cost a rider less than riding a large city bus. (Especially looking at the seemingly public transportation desert that is Brookline, where it is excessively long & difficult to try to get from JP to Allston-Brighton which is still primarily radial focused where you have to go downtown into the city only to go back out of downtown in order to get to your destination (or take a very long, infrequent bus ride(s) with T ride(s) instead of cutting quickly across Brookline like you could with a private car/rideshare taxi).

    -womxn are more likely to think about and consider personal safety when taking public transportation & choosing between modes of public transportation, when choices are available. They will disproportionately change their travel times (when possible), and will disproportionately go far out of their way or pay more out of pocket (ex: taking a rideshare taxi instead of public transportation) to select a route that is safer, when possible & feasible. more assaults happen WAITING for public transportation (ex: waiting for an infrequent bus in a low-lighted area) than while actually RIDING on public transportation (ex: riding on the bus where cameras are present).

    -“one study found that people were over three times more likely to be a victim of crime at or near a transit stop than on the vehicle itself.71” – from Chapter 2

    1. Bravo! This has always been my observation when I am on the T.
      We are over 50 percent of the population.

    2. I’d guess very few identify as “womxn.” Probably about half of riders are women.

        1. Stop. Take the time to learn about the history of the word. Don’t want to use intersectional terms, then don’t. But please don’t disrespect people who do. Thank you.

  26. They killed the 55 bus. It stopped serving Fenway residents during commuting hours during the pandemic. Now it will no longer stop at the central Fenway location of Jersey and Queensbury at all. Some neighborhoods get free busing and we are losing a bus that we had to pay for. Of course it didn’t have big ridership when it didn’t operate for the morning and evening commutes. I hope that the MBTA will remove the bus stop if the bus no longer stops there. It is a homeless hangout.

  27. Will the 39 bus be discontinued? It or a replacement are not on the proposed map. The MBTA should clarify that in the written material.

    1. The current 39 bus (called T39 on the draft maps) will be running between Forest Hills and Porter Square as a high frequency route. Those who rode the 39 for service to Back Bay could now take the T39 to the Green Line E Branch and take the Green line the rest of the way to Back Bay. – Arianna Turner, District Aide

  28. “Keep in mind that overall, there is a proposed 25% increase in service.” It would be very helpful if the current service levels were directly compared in a chart. For example, currently the 57 is 15 minutes or less, according to the map. The proposed level of service will be the same, unless I am misreading it. It appears that there would be more service late nights and weekends, but I’m not sure. But to my point, the 57 does not meet the existing standard now. What will change so that the new goal is met?

  29. I know there are a lot of pain points, and I don’t want to negate them, but I do like that 54 bus! Thanks, Will.

  30. I know it’s a complicated process but I’m excited for the 54 and wish it could be implemented immediately! The 553/554 don’t run often enough to make them convenient.

  31. I haven’t looked closely at the proposal, since I’m leaving the area in a few months, but I wonder if there’s a way to use bus connections to punish communities that resist the expansion of multifamily housing.

    I’ve just read the recent Bruce Mohl column about housing and the Newton (and Arlington? and Concord? Belmont too?) councilor’s idea of ignoring Baker’s legislation to get the rate of construction of new units at least a little closer to what it was in the 70s and 80s. It’s extremely frustrating to see the attitudes of very well off people regarding new developments when so many struggle to pay rent or find affordable places to live.

    And perhaps there’s a certain extra logic to punishing said communities with less bus service. The MBTA’s current plan is data driven, but past data doesn’t predict future ridership. That there remain councilors and community activists who will block denser housing development or whittle down the number of units in the developments that do happen, well, is that not a good predictor that those same neighborhoods will not need as much future service, since they are preventing as many people as could otherwise live there from settling in their communities.

    Probably this is not something the MBTA could do on it’s own. But I’d ask you, when you have a constituent demanding that their bus line be sustained at present levels, to remember whether you have also heard from that same person demanding that some modestly sized apartment building going up nearby be stopped. If so, then maybe such requests are contradictory and should be ignored. If people want exoburb style single family home enclaves close to the city, well maybe they can’t have their cake and eat it too. Maybe they don’t get buses.

    Well, that was pretty ranty, but that article, like a lot of my contact with local housing activism, makes me furious.

    1. I think the 54 will be more useful although I get nostalgic for the 554. When I was working downtown I liked having the 554 available and used it going home about 1/3 of the time because by then I was tired and not in a rush, but it took too long for me to use it in the morning. When my husband worked downtown he used it both ways because less transfers was more important to him than total travel time. But maybe more importantly, and to the point of the redesign, *neither of us works downtown anymore* nor are we likely to do so again. We now use the route more often going the other direction to get to Waverley Sq and the new 54 will be more helpful because it will connect to more local areas.

  32. As a daily rider I am more than willing to give a redesign a try. However I notice the 65 will no longer terminate on Market Street Brighton in front of our Veronica Smith Senior Center serving lunch weekdays. I wonder how my neighbors, who use this service from the 4 clustered public housing sites on Washington and Comm, will easily access what may be their only source of daily food.
    In rerouting bus routes the T needs to take a more granular look–where people get on and off, and why they get on and off. This is particularly relevant for non-peak riders.

  33. I own a car but often travel via bike, bus, T and commuter rail around town. These proposed changes seem like a long overdue improvement. Thanks for taking this on, promoting and publicizing it.

  34. Re-design cities and towns so that all employed people live at, or very close to, where they work. Then all this commuting won’t be necessary. We’ve regressed a lot since the middle ages. They didn’t have to commute between work and home. At worst they walked to the nearby cultivated fields. At best they lived upstairs on the 2nd floor and worked downstairs on the ground floor. No high-rise wind tunnels because there weren’t any high rises. That change came about much later when capitalism made dollars-per-square-foot profitable. And structural steel technology made tall buildings possible. Be that as it may, commuting started when well-to-do folks decided to get as far as possible from poor people to raise their kids. First by using horse and buggy, later by train. Later still by private cars. With predictable results. Now the rich folks want to move back into the cities and force the poor people to live in the suburbs. For goodness sake, let’s stop all this increasingly crazy dysfunctional nonsense. Let’s force big businesses to build housing for their employees. If they claim that they can’t afford that, have the government step in and build it. The government can easily afford it….just bust the Pentagon’s and the surveillance spooks’ budgets down to the lowest levels imaginable. Use the wealth they’ve been stealing from us to house us…not to spy on us. And not to arm three-quarters of the world with astronomically costly weapons systems. All of them purchased with the long-suffering taxpayers’ hard-earned money. All for the greater glory of the empire. (Translation: for the bottom lines of Raytheon’s and Boeing’s quarterly statements.) The MBTA is not at fault for the transportation mess. The Fortune 500 and their puppet politicians are at fault. They’re the ones who own and mismanage the country. And they’re the ones who are morally obliged to clean up the mess they’ve made of it.

    1. I’d like more people to be able to walk to work too, but I’d have to disagree with the negative sentiment you express about high rises. A key difference between now and the middle ages is the number of people we have. If we’re to walk to work we need to build up. We need to build enough that both rich people and poor people can live in our cities.

      The question I have is why is rent for a small one bedroom in downtown Montreal or Quebec City around $800 U.S. and two or three times that in Boston? There’s some language and separatist referenda in their history that may have played into that before but they haven’t had those for decades now. I suspect it’s now more to do with what kind of buildings they’ve built and at what rate over the last century compared to our feeble rate of construction here and rampant NIMBYism.

      1. Btw: There’s nothing new in the “be-housed-where-you-work” idea. The Beacon Hill Times…building on a plan hatched by Bob O’Brien, who at that time was executive director of the Downtown North Association of Boston…published an editorial titled “Living next to work” in their April 11, 2006 issue. It was certainly no one’s intention then to promote a return to medieval standards of living. Rather, the idea was proposed as a possible way to update an ancient practice in order to help alleviate some grave modern problems.

  35. So can you tell me what the &^%&*( happened to the 71 yesterday??
    TWO busses fail to show up in the morning (I guess we’re the sacrifice route) and with the resulting overcrowded bus (gee, something the T REALLY wants to get back to, you know, for efficiency) I was 25 minutes late for work!
    AND THEN on the way home, I get to Harvard and there is a 50, fifty, 5-0 minute wait for the 71! WHY? Someone said, “Oh, it’s Harvard graduation”. Well, that sure didn’t stop the 73 from having completely normal service. TWO of those show up in the 15 minutes I waited. I had to give in and take the second one and walk the rest of the way from Star Market.
    And no, there was no traffic in front of us and none going the other way.
    There were NO alerts or reasons to either of these delays on the Transit app, something which, by the way, they now want us to PAY for all-of-a-sudden.
    Decades ago, stations used to have someone around to pay attention to bus frequency. Now, I guess, the T has no desire to have someone accountable to these problems, who can tell us what’s going on.
    And those “ambassadors” are clueless. And one inspector there couldn’t tell me anything because her business was the trains, not busses, and was fairly rude when telling me.

  36. Shuttle needed from Belmont Center or Waverley to Watertown Sq. You can’t get there on the T in Less than 40 mins. So near, yet so far. Also lower the cost for Waverley commuter rail to Porter and North Stations. Quick, convenient ride, but few use it due to cost.

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