COVID-19 Check-in Survey III Results

If you wish to comment on the transportation issues raised by the survey, please do so on this new thread.

Key Takeaways

  • At least in this sample, neither MBTA ridership nor road traffic (including all road modes — auto, bike, walk) is likely to soon rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels, even after businesses reopen. The shift to working from home will keep traffic down in all modes and safety concerns will additionally depress MBTA ridership. Working from home is the dominant factor and will keep road traffic down even as some MBTA riders shift to driving.
  • Support for social distancing remains strong — 54% feel that the phased reopening is going at the right pace, 39% feel we are reopening too fast and 6% feel we should be opening faster.

Summary of Survey

  • A total of 1,737 people responded within approximately 24 hours to an email and Facebook survey initiated on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 26. The survey questionnaire appears here.
  • Support for social distancing remains strong — 54% feel that the phased reopening is going at the right pace, 39% feel we are reopening too fast and 6% feel we should be opening faster.
  • In this sample, 30% are concerned about their financial security currently or over the next few months.
  • Currently, in this sample, 10% are unemployed and 58% are working from home.
  • Among regular MBTA riders (at least one day per week) before COVID-19, 61% now say they are “too concerned about disease transmission to ride the MBTA, at least until doctors develop vaccines or better treatments for COVID.”
  • Among regular MBTA rirders (at least one day per week) before COVID-19, 75% say their MBTA use is likely to “stay down at least until a vaccine or treatment is developed.”

The following chart shows how in this sample, continued working from home and concerns about MBTA safety are likely to keep both traffic and MBTA ridership down.

People within total sample of 1,737 who are leaving home for work before, during shutdown, and in the months after reopening — by actual and expected MBTA use level (less than one day per week, one or two days per week, more than two days per week).

The blue bottom area of each bar represents non-MBTA commuters. The overall level of expected non-MBTA commuting is expected to be down in the coming months, even with some shift from MBTA to non-MBTA commuting. The grey area in each bar represents the most regular MBTA users (more than 2 days per week); this group remains much smaller in the after-shutdown period. The after-shutdown time frame in the survey was worded as “after businesses reopen, but before the discovery of a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19”.

The results are broadly consistent with recent statewide polling and national polling as to distancing attitudes. As to ridership and commuting changes, the poll is broadly consistent with a recent statewide poll by MassInc.

Survey Process and Sample

The survey outreach was almost identical to that of our March and April surveys – including direct email, news group email and Facebook, reaching people mostly in my Belmont/Watertown/Boston district. The email distribution was slightly smaller reflecting an update of our voter/resident list and deletion of people who may have moved away.

Email delivery started at approximately 4PM on Tuesday afternoon, May 26, 2020 and the Facebook post went up about the same time. Email delivery was complete at approximately 9PM on the same day and the survey was closed 24 hours later at 9PM on Wednesday, May 27. There were no major changes of social distancing policies in Massachusetts while the survey was open. In the sample of 1,757, there were 20 instances of 2 submissions from the same browser/IP combination in under ten minutes, likely dups. Only the second of these submissions were included in the final sample, yielding 1,737.

As discussed in connection with the the March and April surveys, “the outreach heavily targeted people who are engaged in their local community. It should be added that the outreach would especially favor those interested in online discussion of issues, especially issues of state policy.” These engaged people were sent an email which did indicate that the survey related to transportation and COVID-19. The Facebook post more explicitly indicated an interest in how COVID-19 impacted transit ridership, but the Facebook post got very limited response.

The overall response (1,737) was below the April survey (2,662) which was below the March survey (3,259). The declining response may indicate that people are getting a little tired of COVID news and discussion, but may also reflect weather and the slightly smaller distribution.

The age and geographic distribution was similar to the previous surveys.

Age of Respondents (self-reported)

24 or Under131%
25 to 64115266%
65 or over57233%
TOTAL1737100%

Zip code of Respondents (self-reported)

02115 (East Fenway)624%
02116 (Back Bay)875%
02134 (Allston)453%
02135 (Brighton)28216%
02215 (West Fenway)654%
02472 (Watertown)41524%
02478 (Belmont)52430%
All other25715%
TOTAL1737100%

Results

Question 1: View of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response so far

The pace is right at this time.94755%
We need to reopen faster.1076%
We are opening too fast.68339%
TOTAL1737100%

Question 2: Economic Situation

Cannot pay bills due now.261%
OK now, but concerned about the next few months.50329%
Secure for at least the next year.120870%
TOTAL1737100%

Question 3: Current Work Status

Leaving the home to work.1438%
Retired, partner works, other.40523%
Unemployed.17510%
Working mostly at home.101458%
1737100%

Commuting Status before COVID-19, during shutdown, and expected “after businesses reopen, but before the discovery of a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19”

BeforeDuringAfter
Not working452580450
Working outside the home1070143562
Working from home2151014725
Total173717371737

MBTA Use level before COVID-19, during shutdown, and expected “after businesses reopen, but before the discovery of a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19”

MBTA UseBeforeDuringAfter
Less than one day per week99916891464
One to two days per week22527167
More than two days per week51321106
Total173717371737

MBTA Use among those working outside the home before COVID-19, during shutdown, and expected “after businesses reopen, but before the discovery of a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19”

MBTA UseBeforeDuringAfter
Less than one day per week543129403
One to two days per week108268
More than two days per week4191291
Total1070143562

Perception of MBTA safety among those who were riding the MBTA at least 1 day per week prior to COVID-19.

Concerned about disease transmission on the MBTA, but can take adequate personal precautions.26236%
Too concerned about disease transmission to ride the MBTA, at least until doctors develop vaccines or better treatments for COVID.45361%
Not concerned about disease transmission on the MBTA.233%
Total738100%

Summary statement of expected MBTA use change among those who were riding the MBTA at least 1 day per week prior to COVID-19.

No response61%
Is likely to stay down at least until a vaccine or treatment is developed55375%
Has not changed193%
Is down temporarily, but will rebound as businesses reopen.16022%
Total738100%

Data Availability

The underlying anonymous data and detail tabulations can be downloaded in spreadsheet form here.

The comments posted below begin with comments that people made after having taken the survey but before the posting of the results at 9:20PM on May 28.

Published by Will Brownsberger

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

Join the Conversation

156 Comments

  1. I just want to say that even though I’m not using the MBTA now because I work at home due to the virus, I’m strongly supporter of public transportation.

    1. I too support public transportation. I do not use it as I had in the past. I am hopeful that repairs and refurbishment/renovations will continue.

      1. I haven’t ridden the T in a couple of months. It’s possible that I’ll feel safe enough to ride it next week to get to an appointment but at this time I can’t say that I’ll do it for sure.

    2. I second this. Right now it seems unfair especially to the T drivers and also to the community at large to take the T unless you have no other choice. It doesn’t sound to me like distancing and masks reduce risk sufficiently.

      But there’s still a climate crisis, so we should treat the T itself as we (ought to?) treat employees who’ve been furloughed or layed off. I.e. we must support it so it can come back into action as strongly as possibly when the time comes.

      But other antipollution measures than better public transit don’t have to be delayed. What’s the status now of the senate climate bill from the winter? There was to be a panel of experts formed I thought. Or does it need to pass the house first?
      And it’s a shame that the Transportation & Climate Initiative seems to be being put off, last I heard. First, air pollution makes people more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and is a major killer in its own right. Second, as at the national level we ought to be transitioning out of this in a transformative way, to replace fossil fuel based industry with cleaner substitutes via a green new deal, so at the state/region level an incentive like TCI might at least be helpful to give people pause who would otherwise take advantage of cheap gasoline and the glut of cars for sale. I mean, you’d think people would consider that if the price of oil can go negative it can also go whacky the other direction, but I’m not sure if people have thought of that, those who are purely price driven and don’t care about the pollution they create.

  2. Realizing we don’t know for sure whether those who have had the virus are immune, and if so for how long, my answers to some of the survey questions are based on my assuming that I have at least temporary immunity since I developed COVID-19 in mid-March.

    1. Hope your better!! The most recent reports suggest immunity, so there’s hope. Fingers crossed.

  3. I mainly use a bicycle for transportation around metro Boston. Until a vaccine/therapeutic is widely available, I cannot envision that I would be comfortable using public translation even under circumstances where riding my bike is not optimal.

  4. I live in the Back Bay, and I enjoy taking walks in the area for fresh air and exercise.

    I am very upset at all of the people not wearing masks. Mostly, these are young people (under 35), and often they are running or talking loudly.

    I wonder if the people not wearing masks think that they are risking only their own health. I wish that there were a public information campaign which lets everyone know that wearing a mask protects others, including the at risk “elderly”. Sometimes I point to my own mask, but that does not seem to have an effect.

    When I encounter people without masks, I go off of the path to give them a wide berth. At least the maskless should be the ones who step off the path to make way for the masked.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

    1. King Baker, the RINO, and the Dem. Governors are slowly re-opening what should never have been closed. First time in world history, the well are being quarantined along with the sick. He’s dragging this out in hopes it keeps spreading until election day to get Trump out of office. I want to get the virus, acquire immunity and help kill the spread. 99.9% who get this DO NOT DIE. Can you imagine the country being run by Biden with Hilary and Obama lurking in the shadows?

      1. Most of what you wrote above is folderol not worth responding to, but “99.9% who get this DO NOT DIE” is an objectively false statement that requires correction. The lowest infection fatality rate anyone reputable is estimating for COVID-19 right now is around 0.3%, with estimates I’ve seen going as high as around 1%.
        That means if we reopen the country and allow everyone to be infected with the virus before there is a vaccine, then one to three million people will die from it in the United States.
        Perhaps you think it’s OK for us to allow one to three million preventable deaths to occur, bust most Americans do not, and I can’t imagine how thinking that would be OK could be viewed by anyone rational as “patriotic.”

        1. You are being hysterical. Some 99.97% of those CONTRACTING covid-19 will not die. The numbers you state “possibly” happening are not happening.

          You can just as “scientifically” prove that Bigfoot not showing up at Easter saved the world.

          Bigfoot did not, in fact, show up at Easter.

          Covid-19 deaths, did not, thereafter, explode into bazillion of deaths. In fact, so few people were hospitalized that nurses and doctors and other caregivers are being laid off.

          QED.

          Some people continue to lie even after being shown video proof debunking their lies. Just like some people still mourn the deaths of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

          1. Some 99.97% of those CONTRACTING covid-19 will not die. The numbers you state “possibly” happening are not happening.

            This is a lie.

            In fact, so few people were hospitalized that nurses and doctors and other caregivers are being laid off.

            Medical personnel are having their salaries cut and being laid off because treating Covid-19 is incredibly unprofitable and the healthcare system in the U.S. is profit-driven.

            Elective surgeries are where the profit is in hospitals, and elective surgeries have all had to be postponed because of the pandemic.

            Being forced to treat a large number of unprofitable patients while delaying the treatment of profitable patients causes hospitals to lose a lot of money.

          2. This is nonsense. As if today, New York State has lost 29,451 of its residents to this virus in just three months. That is 0.15% of its total population and only about 15% of its population has been infected (as judged by antibody tests). That translates to an infection death rate of about 1%.

        1. And millions have died during famines. What does that have to do with the current situation. Otherwise sane people are acting like sheep, screeching that the sky is falling.

          Look how little it’s taken to destroy the economy!

          Yet people swear THEY would never join lynch mobs or accuse others during witch trials.

          1. It has to do with your statement. You asserted that this has never happened before. Therefore, you a presenting a scenario based on past events. As logic would dictate, one would look a past events to see if the asserted statement was true or false. A lot of people are looking to logic, not fanaticism. Are you?

            1. Correction because keyboard keys stick sometime: Therefore, you are presenting a scenario based on past events. As logic would dictate, one would look at

      2. I don’t use the T, but I understand there are many who rely on it. However the T has numerous issues, mainly that it’s poorly run and maintained and is not self-funded by the users. None of this is anything new. I agree with you Gordon. It’s disgusting to see the way the “left” never misses an opportunity to politicize everything, including a pandemic. The “Wuhan Bat Flu” is deadly for certain populations, such as nursing home residents and people with underlying health conditions which make them susceptible. The media, fascist politicians and fear-mongering “experts” did a great job terrorizing a large percentage of our population. The State did a poor job protecting these vulnerable people or training nursing home staff on what to do to protect them or themselves compared to states like Florida; Texas and Georgia. Now we have a population of senior citizens who (apparently having no rights) have largely been imprisoned and isolated from their loved ones. One other thing… I love most all businesses but I don’t see how bicycle shops and liquor stores are considered “essential” while retailers; barbershops; hairstylists; manicurists; car washes; gyms; restaurants; houses of worship; and thousands of others are not. All businesses are essential to those who rely on them and derive their lively hood from them. We bent the curve so as not to overwhelm our hospitals as we were asked and we crashed our economy in the process. THAT WAS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. You can’t maintain a healthy population without a healthy economy. That’s a fact.

        1. What you will find is that we cannot reestablish a healthy economy if people do not feel safe to go out. It is not currently safe to be out and will not be for some time to come. The economy will limp along until we have a vaccine.

        2. I urge you to follow all the health prescriptions you hear on Sean Hannity, the sooner the better.

    2. Barbara, I live in Fenway and completely agree with your comment. The number of people who will run past, leaving inches between us, while not wearing a mask is truly unacceptable. Add to that the number of people who “wear” a mask but do so under their chin, and it’s totally unacceptable.

    3. I have written to everyone imaginable begging for a good public communication campaign to no avail. If only we spent as much money telling the public about this as we do promoting the lottery.

      If it makes you feel better, the latest guidance indicates outdoor activities present much less risk.

      1. I have to agree that the state, or a public/private partnership, needs initiate a communication campaign, in particular before restaurants re-open even for outdoor dining. At least tell us what to be confident or not afraid of. What’s OK, not OK. Wearing a mask seems like common sense and more commonly accepted culturally now if you’re walking or at the grocery store (apparently not when running or exercising despite the accompanying heavy breathing). And so what happens when you pair that with wanting to eat or drink? Mask on, off, switch between even if you’re handling the mask? Change masks? Wear the mask til your food is served? How do I know what safe food service looks like? How about beers in the backyard with neighbors, or at the beach – how does 6 feet of space + masks work when you want to enjoy a cool beverage? It’s difficult to balance the fears of the last two months with the continuing unknowns about what is safe. The “I heards” aren’t reliable – too many people read so many different things and there’s also misinformation and disinformation out there, particularly when you get pushback from the people who don’t think/agree that COVID-19 is a dangerous and serious disease. There’s got to be a safe place somewhere between the fear of getting it & needing to go on a ventilator or dying, and it’s nothing just wash your hands a little more.

    4. This 1000xs over. It’s not just young people not wearing masks. I bike on the road instead of the path at some points, where cars mercilessly honk and drive too close. Neither option seem safe but people without masks are forcing me to choose unsafe options rather than crowd narrow paths.

    5. I agree completely – I think everyone needs to wear a mask.
      I especially feel that leaders in all fields should wear them and support wearing at this stage. Discrepancies in messages from the President – the Senate – Governors etc. on down is really hurting the country and promoting incredible disrespect for those who are ill or in danger of becoming ill. This is not who we are.
      We need to show together we can find a vaccine and beat the virus.

  5. Thank you for asking your constituents how we feel about these important policy decisions. I feel strongly that we should be thinking more creatively about a “third way” to keep many more residents of the Commonwealth both safe and financially secure without continually making this an either/or jobs v. the economy question. Some people and businesses are doing extremely well (financially) during this time, and should be expected to share the wealth (perhaps through taxation and redistribution) with those who are currently struggling.

    1. Hear, hear, Julia. Third way! This situation is often preesented as a false dichotomy. It’s not “the economy or my freedom.” First, the “economy” is not the stock market. It’s how we ALL are doing, especially the bottom 3rd. Not so good, right? So, check the tax rates. A return to the days of a 90% top tax rate would solve a lot of “there’s no money for that” problems. It’s wrong to practice human sacrifice to the bull of Wall Street.

      1. Also, the economy was starting to slow down in late 2019 and heading into the beginning of a recession. The pandemic just hastened the entry. The federal administration turned it into a depression. It is what happens when the federal administration does not plan for the worse case scenario, never mind the best case scenario. If you elect someone with a business degree, make sure the person got high marks because to flunk business school is really hard.

  6. I use the 74 and 78 buses, but much less than before COVID-19. My use is down by about 2/3rds. I am able to walk instead, if I choose. My use is before 7am and after 6pm. I am grateful to the drivers and the MBTA for continuing, especially in bad weather or when the walk seems too much (I am over 70). It is a sign to me of continuing community.

  7. I am very concerned about the MBTA. Service had just dramatically improved to Belmont when this happened. I used to take it 5 days a week, but I don’t know if I’ll feel safe taking it once my normal work schedule resumes. I hate driving to work – it’s expensive, wasteful, and I get less exercise. But I may have to resort to that if the MBTA can’t satisfy my safety concerns.

    1. first we need universal testing and contact tracing. Vaccine – consider this. It has been 50 years they have been trying to develop a vaccine for aids with no luck. There is no way a vaccine would survive testing for less than two years. Don’t hold your breath.

      1. HIV is not a good analogue. This twitter thread explains why. Quoting from it:

        HIV is a unique beast, and unfortunately we may never have an HIV vaccine. HIV attacks the host immune system. It also mutates rapidly. Viral diversity within a single person is comparable to diversity of influenza across the globe. SARS-CoV-2 is more stable than influenza.

        We had vaccine candidates for the previous SARS outbreak but it went away before the vaccines could be tested, which means (a) it no longer made sense to waste time and money testing the vaccine and (b) there wasn’t even any way to test it because you can’t test whether a vaccine gives immunity to a disease that no one is getting anymore.

        The infectiousness and relative stability of SARS-CoV-2 means that a vaccine is almost certainly possible; that we are able to use the lessons we learned designing the vaccine for the previous SARS outbreak to accelerate development of this one; and that it will (obviously) be worthwhile to develop the vaccine.

        I have not seen anyone reputable claiming that it would take two years for us to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Most experts estimate 12-18 months for widespread vaccination, and many are anticipating limited vaccinations of high-risk populations (essential workers, medical personnel, first responders, etc.) even sooner than that.

        P.S. HIV/AIDS first became widely known in the 80’s, and HIV wasn’t identified until 1984, so it is inaccurate to claim that we have been working on a vaccine for 50 years. That work has been ongoing for at most 36 years.

      2. Universal testing is useless. It doesn’t matter how many people contracted Covid-19. What matters is now many die.

        We might just as well test people for sniffles. How does that, in any way, stop people from dying of pneumonia? The point is to find out who covid-19 kills…and how.

        It’s like forcing everyone to take allergy tests. What’s the point? Test those with allergic reactions.

        Again, people are going to be stunned beyond their worst dreams when things get “back to normal” and they experience the economic devastation.

        You can’t do much when the basis of “doing” is taxes…and too many people no longer work.

        The Fed’s printing money out of thin air begs the question: why not print tax money, too? Why not, in fact, let everyone use Monopoly money as fiat currency?

        1. Universal testing is useless. It doesn’t matter how many people contracted Covid-19. What matters is now many die.

          Universal testing would tell us when the “herd immunity” you’re so fond of is sufficiently widespread that it is possible to go back to business as usual.

          Universal testing would tell us who has antibodies and is not at risk of being infected from the virus.

          Universal testing would tell us who is currently shedding virus and therefore needs to be quarantined or isolated.

          In short, universal testing would allow us to live our lives as you have so loudly been advocating we should be. Universal testing would give us everything you say you want.

          I suggest you try a little intellectual consistency for a change. It’s fun!

          The Fed’s printing money out of thin air begs the question: why not print tax money, too? Why not, in fact, let everyone use Monopoly money as fiat currency?

          I see that your understanding of economics is as comprehensive as your understanding of epidemiology.

          1. He’s not interested in an honest discussion or educating himself; just wants to sow doubt and make us waste our energy debating him. But he is a good reminder to vote in every election, national and local, to override those who care nothing for the health of their fellow Americans.

          2. Don’t you know? Watching Fox makes you an epidemiologist.

            Remind me: when the country breaks up, we need to do a little in-house cleanup as well.

    2. I would like to second what you have said. I agree. I am concerned that the way this survey is worded, it doesn’t adequately let people explain that they want to be able to rely on the safety of the MBTA, not lose all access to public transportation because they currently don’t trust that MBTA practices can protect them from disease. I fear that by saying I will not be using public transportation until things change, I am risking having government decide they don’t need to take care of any transportation needs of older people who are currently endangered by public transportation. For example, most young people I see around me don’t wear masks and don’t care about protecting older people. If that is permitted on buses, it’s obviously ill-advised for older people to ride buses, but before the covid thing began, loads of people on the buses were older and retired. Keeping old people trapped at home because they’re not “economically contributing” is barbaric. Loads of young people do not contribute economically. Older people also need to be able to move outside their homes and not be trapped because MBTA is too unsafe to serve their needs.

      1. You make an excellent point. One way to address this would be to increase the availability of The Ride, the MBTA accessibility program, so that older people and other people who are at higher risk can use it to get around.

      2. Can a bus still open its windows? As silly as it sounds, that would provide some risk reduction in summer.

        1. Not silly at all. I’d take the bus if it’s uncrowded. Regretfully the new bus designs do not allow windows to open.

      3. Well said, Louise. People wanting to keep themselves safe during a pandemic should not have this survey used against them to support cuts or privatization of our public transit. I support the MBTA and will take it regularly as soon as it is safe to do so.

  8. Regarding MBTA use, I was very concerned when I read in the Globe that the MBTA is not planning to enforce capacity limits or mask wearing. From the number of people in my neighborhood who are currently not wearing masks and who are not engaging in social distancing, I do not believe that T riders can be relied upon to behave appropriately and self-police. We need a better system, and I will not be comfortable using the MBTA unless safety precautions are ACTUALLY put in place.

    1. That puts the safety of the driver at risk. Thoses driver sometimes get assaulted for asking people to pay the fare, never mind a mask. I don’t want a driver, who is just doing his/her job knived because some people have politicized the whole mask wearing. Everyone just needs to listen to those with the medical degrees – wear a mask and wash hands constantly with soap & water. If you cannot because of a health issue then stay your distance. Simple.

  9. Only biked to work, that will not change. I expect that as things “open up” more people will be reluctant to use buses and subways and the roads will be jammed. I’m happy to offer assistance/advices/routes to anyone interested in trying a bike or a scooter instead of drive; I made some mistakes over the years, you can learn from them if you want.

    Regarding the pace of reopening, for me that is very much tied to how well we do on other measures, like mask wearing, hand washing, avoiding crowds, contact tracing.

    Problem #1 is that too many people do not understand that masks are for protecting other people, problem #2 is that for a substantial amount of the time an infected person is capable of infecting others, they do not know it. So you can’t just assume that you’re okay and don’t need to wear a mask, because you don’t actually know, without a mask you might be spreading the epidemic. Other details that matter: taking your mask off to talk is the worst choice, talking seems to be a good way to spread this (and other) respiratory infections; those workshop masks with an exhale valve, those are not good, because the exhaled air is not filtered.

    The third problem is that people don’t understand that we haven’t beat the virus till the number of infections is zero. If we drive it down to a low number, and then get sloppy because we’re “winning”, it will spread again. It is infuriating to me that parts of the country where the infection rate is still relatively low are not going all-out to drive their low numbers to zero; they could do it much more quickly than we can because their numbers are so low.

    1. I said in the last related thread, all of this came from one bad lunch at a farmers’ market in a China.

    2. Infections don’t matter. Deaths do.

      Just like having bacteria in our bodies doesn’t matter. What DOES is ones that kill us.

      US citizens have gone insane. They’re like hysterics who say we shouldn’t drink Coke because it dissolves metal nails. Those same people forget that their own stomachs contain hydrochloric acid…which also dissolves nails.

      Americans have become mice. Some 400,000 people die annually from car deaths. Why don’t we ban autos?

      Covid-19 has killed 98,929 USA souls in 2020.

      The “regular” flu killed 80,000 citizens in 2017…with no masks, physical-distancing, curfews, lock-downs, or economic suicide.

      People today want risk-free, womb-like lives, not freedom. They want to be told what do and be protected by Big Daddy gubmint and Big Mommy social media censors.

      We’ve become a nation of unquestioning ninnies, a country of Howard Hughes germaphobes demanding nannies.

      China, Russia, and others laugh at us. We went from rationally rationing during WWII to refusing to leave baby cribs now as adults.

      If you want proof that America’s leaders and educators created docile, meek sheople…look around. Millions and millions of people have eagerly become socialists, willing to live permanently on-the-dole, obey every Big Brother command. If leaders today said everyone must now hopscotch when in public to stop Martians from invading, 90% of the US would do so. They would also lavish praise on the clothes of naked leaders.

      Sad. Tragic even. The men who died on D-Day are doing 750 RPMs now underground.

      1. The “regular” flu killed 80,000 citizens in 2017

        This is a lie.

        61,000 people died from the flu in the 2017-8 flu season, and the average number of deaths annually from the flu is 37,539.

      2. If that ain’t’ the kettle calling the pot black? The current administration says boo and the fans trip over themselves to follow, repeat whatever, and a couple even go to jail for it. Even when others tell them that there is no basis in fact for a statement. Fanatics are so illogical.

      3. Readers: if you’re uncertain about the facts and don’t know where to turn, ask your doctor. This person has no solutions to our problems; just insults for the American people and a wealth of misinformation.

        I agree with other posters that mask wearing should be enforced on the MBTA. Angry about these restrictions? Blame Trump and his malicious incompetence, which worsened this pandemic and led to much more drastic measures needing to be taken. Remember, Governor Baker had to enlist the New England Patriots so Trump’s administration wouldn’t steal the PPE that Massachusetts paid for.

    3. Thank you, David, for pointing out that wearing a mask protects other people more than yourself, since transmission seems to be worst from unmasked people to masked/unmasked. I don’t think that has been communicated well. Actually, I think the communication around mask wearing has been horrible, contradictory and ever-changing, so it’s no wonder that people are doing their own thing. But not wearing a mask in close proximity to others is just selfish.

      As to the MBTA, I am hesitant to ride because of this disease, but I had stopped riding the T awhile ago because of its horrendous service. It has been bad all my life since I started riding in the 1970s, and doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. Bad management, bad planning, no real investment. I thought years ago that the money that went to the Big Dig should have gone to a new T. That was a lost opportunity that I’m afraid will never appear again.

  10. My comments are of no value as I live in NH but I wanted a chance to say that you are superbly qualified as knowledgeable about mass transportation nuts and bolts, plus gifted with the math skills to balance the risk of running the T wearing masks or not, the case rate and death rate from the virus, and the mortality risks some of which are known, from unemployment (e.g.suicide, which I know of, but suspect there are others). I think this is going to last a long (many months) time before treatment or vaccine. So, buying time, at what costs. Glad you are there. Best, John Merrifield

  11. As I am now able to work from home 50% of the time with parking provided, I have not used my routine bus line, the 65 in Brighton. I have been an avid MBTA user for the past 15 years and will continue to do so but am apprehensive as the 65 bus is very often overcrowded. Without a vaccine I think that more buses are needed to ensure distancing can be in place. I hope there can be reasonable solutions to get us to and from work at our expected times.

  12. I would have answered very differently if I was not privileged enough to have safer alternatives to the MBTA. I am a very light user already (mostly weekends) so was easy for me to stop using. All around, I am not confident in the community taking (or being able to take) proper precautions, including staying home when sick, when things are reopened. However, perhaps with time as cases decrease I will regain my confidence in taking public transport.

  13. As a scientist, I understand that we are not re-opening because it has been deemed safe to do so. We are re-opening because economic imperatives have now over-ridden public health concerns. Mitigation efforts have failed because the response of the federal government was utterly feckless. We squandered the last two months, during which we should have been putting in place adequate surveillance testing and contact tracing to reach and maintain a low number of new cases. That strategy having failed, we are now reduced to damage control. In effect, trying to maintain a “slow burn” of approximately 20,000 new cases and 1000 deaths per day until a vaccine has been developed and deployed. This will result in a staggering number of deaths (far greater than today’s toll of 100,000) and a much larger number of long-term disabilities. I feel terribly for the many citizens who must leave their homes to work in this unsafe environment.

    1. The federal government’s response is feckless and an unmitigated disaster. I don’t think the state’s response rises to that level, or should I say goes down to that level, but Baker could have acted much sooner. There was a lot of time lost.

      1. I couldn’t agree more that not much has changed except the need to get back out in the world economically. The danger is still there. I give the Governor lots of credit for pushing for testing and tracing, that could be a game changer. We will not have a vaccine for some time.

    2. It’s imperative that we don’t enter the final phase until absolutely necessary.

      For example: No one who is now productively working from home on a computer should be forced back into an office until there is a vaccine readily available at CVS. Not for “team building,” not for face time, not so the big guy can look out over his minions. This is life or death here. Eff the big guy.

      I’m keenly aware many people who fit into that category are privileged (though not all—call centers pay nothing yet many are able to send reps home). I don’t mean to imply that’s the end of the story. It’s just the beginning. No worker’s life, nor the lives of their vulnerable family members, should be left to the whims of the venal, incompetent managerial class America is now known for. We need some rules.

      1. Many of us who can work at home are privileged, but it still helps those who cannot. A person not on the T is a person not transmitting the virus; those that must use the T are incrementally safer. And given that Massachusetts is actually on a downward trajectory (if only it could be faster) incremental reductions in the bug’s ability to spread get us to zero-ish sooner — that saves lives, too.

        1. I totally agree with you, it just felt a little self-serving for me to mention it in my original comment. 🙂

    3. > “We are re-opening because economic imperatives have now over-ridden public health concerns.”

      A balance needs to be struck. It’s like life: if you only act when you are guaranteed success, you will never act. Or lead a much-diminished life.

      What good does it do to hunker down only to emerge with a third-world economy?

      > “Mitigation efforts have failed because the response of the federal government was utterly feckless.”

      Like Pelosi urging people to swarm at Chinese festivals? Like Cuomo putting covid-cases in nursing homes to die and kill others? Or are you, let me guess, solely blaming the BOM (bad orange-man)?

      >”we should have been putting in place adequate surveillance testing and contact tracing”

      Yes, yes! Just like China. Soon we, too, will have social credit scores which will determine who pf is gets to dine out, study, buy a home, take a bus, etc.

      >”we are now reduced to damage control.”

      What “damage”? So far, only 18,000 more have died…in a nation of 330,000,000(!)…than did in the 2017 flu season. And 301,071 less than die annually in car accidents.

      >”This will result in a staggering number of deaths”

      Proof? Anything?

      Why not predict that 3 bazillion Americans will die from tainted ramen noodles, too?

      Where are vast numbers of humans dying from Covid-19?

      Most predictions were based on flawed models, like Ferguson’s. Like Fauci’s per AIDS.

      Still, it doesn’t take much to create panic when citizens politicize everything and lack critical-thinking skills…other than to criticize everything American.

      If Fauci today says that the cure to covid-19 was wearing cowboy hats, carrying six-packs of beer, and dancing in streets, tomorrow millions of John Wayne/Annie Oakley-wannabes will carry 12-packs of Budweisers while ballin’-the-jack on sidewalks.

      1. ”we should have been putting in place adequate surveillance testing and contact tracing”

        Yes, yes! Just like China. Soon we, too, will have social credit scores which will determine who pf is gets to dine out, study, buy a home, take a bus, etc.

        Only a mind that is completely deranged, entirely indoctrinated into the right-wing propaganda ecosystem, or rather stupid could make the leap from “adequate surveillance testing and contact tracing” to “social credit scores which will determine who gets to dine out, study, buy a home, take a bus, etc.”

        What “damage”? So far, only 18,000 more have died…in a nation of 330,000,000(!)…than did in the 2017 flu season. And 301,071 less than die annually in car accidents.

        The 2017 “flu season” was before we had flu vaccines and 100-years-advanced medical technology, so to describe your comparison as “apples to oranges” would be a vast understatement. Last year, with a flu vaccine, approximately 34,200 died, and that is typical for annual flue deaths nowadays.

        So far almost three times as many people have died from Covid-19 in the United States in a few months compared to the number that typically die from the flu in an entire year.

        1. Correction: I misread and thought you said 1917 rather than 2017, so “…before we had flue vaccines and 100-years-advanced medical technology…” is obviously not correct. I apologize for the error.

          However, Robert’s statistic is also not correct. Only 61,000 people died from the flu in 2017. So in a few months we’ve lost at least 64% more people to Covid-19 than people who died of the flu in 2017.

          And as noted above, about half that number of people died in the 2019 flu season. Cherry-picking a particularly bad flu season (and that lying about how bad even that one was!) is a particularly nefarious way to lie with statistics.

          The average number of annual flu deaths for the past ten years is 37,539, so the rest of what I wrote above is entirely correct. Ref: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/past-seasons.html

      2. >”This will result in a staggering number of deaths”

        “Proof? Anything?”

        We have lost 100,000 citizens to this virus over the past three months. C-19 continues to kill approximately 1000 Americans every day, and that’s after two months with most people staying at home. As we open up, we can expect this number to increase. But even if it doesn’t, at 1000 deaths per day, this means roughly 300,000 C-19 deaths by the end of the year. Moreover, evidence is accumulating that people who survive severe cases of C-19, which are much more numerous than deaths, are left with long-term (potentially permanent) health problems. These include compromised lungs and kidneys, and even neurological disorders.

      3. Resentment, reactionaryism and romanticism are all about drinking the Kool-Aid, and thinking the rest of us are going to die. They are all also the thought-processes of the illiberal, illogical and old world.

  14. I am VERY concerned that as businesses start opening up more and more and more people once again are commuting to work, that our roads are going to quickly fill with even worse traffic congestion than we had before the pandemic, which was already the worst in the nation. We need to incentivize and make safe as many non-driving options as we possible can. Bicycle sales has seen a huge spike right now, but people need to feel that they can ride to work without risking their lives due to the threat of being hit by a car or truck. We should also being incentivizing personal mobility such as e-scooters, e-bicycles, e-mopeds, etc. Until we have a vaccine, I think it will be very difficult to get people back onto public transit. We do not want them flocking to the perceived safety of their cars instead.

  15. I ride the 65 bus, which serves the Longwood hospital area. I have very strong concerns about riding the bus, without more frequency to reduce crowding or other controls to help ensure social distancing. Forcing us to use the back door protects the driver (who is already protected by plexiglas) but forces riders into CLOSER proximity to each other. Especially on the 66 route, which I also use as an alternative route—on those buses the back door opens into a tiny, tight area where riders are right on top of each other. Much better precautions need to be taken on buses to ensure rider safety.

  16. I have lost my job, and my partner, once a daily rider of the MBTA, has been walking and biking to work (alone in office) since early March.

    We witnessed enough maskless tiki parties from our windows this past weekend, to feel confident that another surge is coming, and it’s probably coming soon. I’m very sorry for those in situations where riding the T is unavoidable, and I pray for the operators, and all workers who are placed in dangerous situations; anywhere near other people.

    As an aside, I concur with others mentioning that it doesn’t feel safe walking outside, let alone boarding the T. Maskless, huffing and puffing, joggers and bikers are so close to my face, even if I’m stepping onto yards, or into traffic to get away from other walkers. It’s depressing.

    1. >”We witnessed enough maskless tiki parties from our windows this past weekend, to feel confident that another surge is coming”

      It most likely will, but not why you think. Like babies sticking things in their mouths, and kids in schools touching everything and everybody, humans build immunity by interacting with others. Over 90% of American Indians died because they hadn’t interacted with Europeans or the domesticated animal they brought with them (horses, pigs, etc.).

      By isolating for months we’ve weakened out immune systems. And forgot that isolating was never meant to cure or save anyone…merely to slow the infection rate. Now it turns out that the infection rate is just death rate from infection is just 0.03%…meaning 99.97% of those contracting covid-19 will LIVE.

      Remember when people gushed over Ivory soap for its being 99.44% “pure”?

      In any case, you’re probably right: mingling again WILL cause more infections… likely worse ones, too… because we collectively weakened our herd immune system.

      1. Over 90% of American Indians died because they hadn’t interacted with Europeans or the domesticated animal they brought with them (horses, pigs, etc.).

        You apparently don’t understand the difference between gradual exposure to minor environmental pathogens which trigger the immune system to strengthen its variety of antibodies, and acute exposure to a deadly pathogen hitherto completely unknown to the population.

        By isolating for months we’ve weakened out immune systems.

        False, already addressed elsewhere.

        Now it turns out that the death rate from infection is just 0.03%…meaning 99.97% of those contracting covid-19 will LIVE.

        This is incorrect.

        The best data we have today indicates that the infection fatality rate is between 0.3% (ten times what you wrote above; do you understand the difference between 0.03% and 0.3%?) and 1%, meaning that if everyone in the country gets it — and we all will eventually, without a vaccine — one to three million people will die.

        Even more will die if we don’t continue taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus until we have a vaccine, because hospitals will be overwhelmed and people will die because they couldn’t get the treatment they needed.

        mingling again WILL cause more infections… likely worse ones, too… because we collectively weakened our herd immune system.

        This is incorrect.

      2. “Now it turns out that the infection rate is just death rate from infection is just 0.03%…meaning 99.97% of those contracting covid-19 will LIVE.”

        You keep making this objectively false claim. The death rate is much higher than this, at roughly 1%. That’s much higher than the bogus number you are citing.

  17. My office is Downtown but it will not re-open till January 2021. I am WFH until then. I had anticipated doing a mix of the bus and driving in since I get to use pre-tax dollars for a bus pass and for parking.

  18. This is not a situation where a lapse in judgement could cause an injury or cost me a job; this is a situation where a lapse in judgement – a disregard for adequate caution – could cost a life.

  19. I have no idea what safety measures are in place for mbta. And I don’t know if other passengers are being safe.

  20. Before I changed jobs, I took the #71 & Red Line to work. Total congestion, unless I went to work before 7:00 AM. No way I would use the MBTA until there is a vaccine or effective treatment. Is it asking too much to have a government equally effective at responding to a pandemic and running a safe and reliable mass transit system? Both are fundamental to economic development.

    And I would like to see those $300 fines levied against individuals not wearing masks.

    1. >”I would like to see those $300 fines levied against individuals not wearing masks.”

      Plus shaving their heads and dunking them in the Public Garden’s pond.

      Also, public floggings of all Karens!

  21. More thought needs to be given to not allowing the attitudes of age discrimination which already existed to be further facilitated by the coronavirus risks. Older people need to be able to participate in society and their needs need to be considered and included in transportation planning. At present, young people are not using masks a lot of the time, and old people are at risk if they ride public transportation with young people who have no masks. Mask wearing needs to be mandatory for public transportation at this time. The virus calls into question the whole model of centralized mass housing and public transportation since we now see they make disease transmission easier. The orthodoxy of recent regional planning has been proven to have an enormous downside. Those who attack single family housing, private cars, and commuting by car from more remote locations need to admit they are attacking a model of planning which is safer in terms of public health. I have studied planning in the U.S. and China, and observed that even in China in the past few years, single family housing developments were being advertised. The government ought to refrain from planning policies which attempt to force residents into dense urban areas.

    1. Currently, you must wear a mask to board on any MBTA service. What will happen when thousands of pent up 18 year olds appear is anybody’s guess, but my guess is it won’t be pretty and will put MBTA personnel at risk for verbal and/or physical abuse.

  22. Answering about multiple issues. I fully support the MBTA and all methods of transportation. I only drive and rarely. When it’s far there are simply no other options. (See previous rant on commuter rail.)
    I’m high risk. I myself will not be doing anything anywhere except trying to rent my major income a vacation house & traveling back and forth on the crappy Steamship ferries. I’m impacted in 02138 and 02478.
    Living on Washington St in Belmont I’m growing hoarse from arguing with facemaskless teens. I will be arrested soon.
    With a biology degree I’ve been waiting for this. I quarantined March 7 & have Never left my house.
    I don’t trust businesses to protect workers but know that people are losing everything due to lack of employment, healthcare, childcare. If this isn’t a wake up call to change our treatment of our workers and citizens what will be? Public transportation is low on the list. Counterintuitive but taking a bus from no home is difficult and those I know take the subway. No low income housing out in the suburbs with access to public transportation.
    We must find ways to support our hourly wage and gig economy. A delivery person heard our dogs bark left a dog toy and begged for work walking them.
    A local Belmont business Hollingworth (Ben Franklin) finally figured out curbside pickup and then was non-essential.
    There are those that need work and are scared to go. For good reason. There are those who clearly have only political agendas and are naive who will put us all at risk with their stubbornness. Just before the lockdown people were asking where they could get a haircut, manicure. Dates aren’t magic. No point in wiping down surfaces or wearing masks if enough people are begging to be vectors.
    I realize that you’re doing all you can and questionnaires must be limited but they weren’t questions I thought useful or answerable. Can I survive? Will you help me refinance my home? Can you help pay early withdrawal fees on my retirement funds? So yes “I can survive” it’s not me who needs to answer that. Those of us responding are a highly skewed demographic. Did you read a response from one person for whom these questions are of most import?
    This is the most devastating disease of our age given the eradication of Typhus, Typhoid, Smallpox; the medicine available for malaria (see Civil war, see Gin & Tonics) and our ongoing struggle with antivaxers: German measles, whooping cough; our loss of antibiotics that work on Superbugs. Legionaries, Noravirus, seasonal flu. Folks this is more than wearing your bike helmet or hormones in your chicken.
    We know Very little about Covid-19. Every day we learn more despite a profound lack of data to make statistically significant conclusions.
    My best friend since 5th grade, a runner and one of the healthiest people I know got Covid. She was very very sick. It lasted almost 2 months. I brought food and cried worrying. Please please just a bit longer. This isn’t something we have fought before. This is what’s killing essential workers and those who are desperately trying to stay well but it only takes one brief second for it all to go to hell.

    1. >”With a biology degree…I quarantined March 7 & have Never left my house.”

      Then you know you’ve weakened your immune system…which depends on interacting with others to stay strong.

      >”If this isn’t a wake up call to change our treatment of our workers and citizens what will be?”

      How will that happen with millions unemployed and not paying taxes to fill coffers?

      >”No low income housing out in the suburbs with access to public transportation.”

      You want even more densely-populated cities for the next pandemic?

      >”No point in wiping down surfaces or wearing masks if enough people are begging to be vectors.”

      As a biology grad, you know that: covid-19 does NOT live on surfaces; most masks do not keep out viruses; and that once you touch a mask it’s useless…right? Same with wearing gloves: once you touch something it’s like you have no gloves.

      >”Can I survive? Will you help me refinance my home? Can you help pay early withdrawal fees on my retirement funds?”

      Key questions. So far people are unjustifiably hysterical about a slightly-more-contagious flu. They will soon be justifiably hysterical over the economy they helped kill.

      >”This is the most devastating disease of our age”

      Wrong. It’s a slightly more deadly flu, thus far killing mostly the very elderly and weak…and 300,000 less than annual car deaths.

      >”My best friend since 5th grade, a runner and one of the healthiest people I know”

      Dunno. So far your “biology” expertise seems wanting. What aren’t you telling us, or don’t know, about her pre-infection state?

      >”She was very very sick.”

      Yet, key point: she did NOT die!

      >”This isn’t something we have fought before.”

      Yes, in fact it IS.

      >”it only takes one brief second for it all to go to hell”

      Nonsense per covid-19. Absolutely true regarding the incoming economic tsunami.

      1. Then you know you’ve weakened your immune system…which depends on interacting with others to stay strong.

        The time and extent to which we have been isolating has not been sufficient to weaken anyone’s immune system. This is a false right-wing propaganda talking point.

        How will that happen with millions unemployed and not paying taxes to fill coffers?

        You do know that the government can simply print or borrow the money it needs to spend its way out of a crisis, just as it has in many previous crises, right? That this is, in fact, how governments typically deal with crises, economically?

        World War II cost the US over $4 trillion in today’s dollars. Do you think that all came from taxes?

        You want even more densely-populated cities for the next pandemic?

        You might want to spend some time reading up on the difference between density and overcrowding.

        How close together people’s homes are has no relation to the spread of Covid-19.

        you know that: covid-19 does NOT live on surfaces; most masks do not keep out viruses; and that once you touch a mask it’s useless…right? Same with wearing gloves: once you touch something it’s like you have no gloves.

        All of this is incorrect. Covid-19 can survive on surfaces, though we don’t yet have enough data to know exactly how long. Masks are not “useless” once you touch them and in any case the primary purpose of wearing a mask is to protect other people from you, not the reverse. And the whole point of gloves is to protect you from virus on things you touch; they certainly are not “useless” once you touch something.

        So far people are unjustifiably hysterical about a slightly-more-contagious flu.

        Covid-19 is ten times as lethal as the flu.

        If we do nothing about it, it will kill 1-3 million people.

        1. Absolutely. I don’t understand why some people are so refractory to facts. This guy seems especially prone to spouting nonsense.

  23. I’m a teacher, and whether or not I will be taking the T more often before a vaccine is widely available depends on what the city decides about opening schools in the fall. I may try walking home, or commuting by bike in order to avoid crowding the T.

    I live in Allston, and although I do see lots of people wearing masks, I see a disturbing number of folks not wearing them, or wearing them around their chins, which is pointless.

    I am worried that Baker is moving too fast in reopening without widespread testing measures in place. I would support much, much more help for people who have lost their jobs — rent and mortgage payments taken care of by the state, stipends for purchasing food — and I would be happy to pay more in taxes to contribute.

  24. I am a teacher and whether or not and how much I work from home will depend on what school looks like in September. Normally I do a combination of biking and busing, occasionally driving. As long as the weather is good, I plan to bike as much as possible. I would much rather take public transportation or bike, but I’m really not sure how safe the bus will be in the fall.

  25. THANKS for doing this,Will

    I think you needed to include questions about wearing face masks in public and also questions about social distancing. Why didn’t you?

    I also am very much in favor of public transportation and am VERY GRATEFUL I do not have to use it now during corona mess

  26. Like many others, I was frustrated by the limited options for many questions. Will I be working from home or transitioning to commuting in the near future? I don’t know because the place I work at hasn’t decided yet. I need the job so it’s not my choice. I could feel more secure on public transportation if masks were required and enforced, cleaning schedules were posted, etc, but that doesn’t sound likely. Also I may not feel safe on the MBTA without those things, but I may have no choice but to use it at least a couple times a week.
    But I do appreciate these surveys and your efforts to listen to and communicate with the people you represent. Thank you.

  27. I wish that we could improve our transport system and make it safe, with increased frequency of vehicles and decreased car traffic, offering jobs to people who are unemployed. We have wasted so much time and caused so much pollution while sitting in traffic. This could be an opportunity to make a change.

  28. Public transportation is vital. But, unfortunately, it has long been underfunded, in poor repair, filthy, ear-splittingly loud, questionably mechanically safe or even safely operated.
    In addition to all the ongoing problems, selfish riders who refuse to take Covid-19 related precautions make it even more unsafe. Somehow the State House should address this issue in particular so that the virus related safety of those forced by circumstance to use the system may do so in relative safety- and that includes having enough safety personnel on board each train to protect Asian-American riders, or anyone else being bothered, from harassment and/or harm.

    1. Alas, the only precautions that suffice to prevent infection would involve wearing respirators and proper hazardous materials suits given anything like even normal off-peak levels of use. That failing, the frequency of bus and T service would need at least to be tripled or quadrupled to prevent otherwise unavoidable close contact—not that the road or underground system could actually bear such service.

  29. The MBTA is grossly under serviced, understaffed and unprepared to handle full the go of people who have an absolute dependency. on public transportation to get them to and from where they need to go. With consistent delays, breakdowns and packing people into buses and subway cars, there is no chance for people to not be on top of each other.

    There is no easy solution to this problem, but the MBTA and the state have been grossly lax in their maintenance of public transportation. Unfortunately, the population that will suffer the most are those that the public have hailed as heroes. The grocery workers, the maintenance and housekeeping staff and the service industry. It is a disservice to subject them to an ill prepared public transportation after they have worked hard to maintain their safety and health all these weeks.

    Not to mention that the overburden that would impact our hospitals once again.

  30. Before covid-19, I used the T, (usually the 78 bus but occasionally the 62/76 and the subway from Alewife six days/week, for all my transportation
    needs: doctor and dental appointments, exercise
    classes, public lectures, meetings. With events cancelled and gyms closed, my need for public
    transportation is currently limited, but I do hope
    that when things open up a bit more, the T will
    return to regular service (sat service on the 78 is only once an hour) and that T users will be
    expected to wear masks. We chose to live in Belmont, in part because of its good public transportation.

    Thank you for your outreach and your commitment to good public transportation. I wish the
    78 schedule had improved when the Belmont Ctr
    service did.

  31. I hope I did not skew the survey – I bike to work about 98% of the time and only use the MBTA to work in truly bad winter weather. My MBTA usage before and after the virus epidemic will be about the same. Currently I am working from home but hope to go back to the office in two weeks or so.

    1. As a biker, I trust you obey all traffic lights/signs, don’t run red-lights, never treat pedestrians as human slalom posts on sidewalks and park paths, plus use lights/reflectors at night. Right?

  32. Until we have either a vaccine or a useful treatment, I will be riding the T less *and staying home more*.

    I will probably combine trips more than I already do. Rather than going out three times, once to get groceries, once to see family, and once if I have a doctor’s appointment, I’ll stop at the supermarket on the way back from the doctor. I won’t get on the 73 just to go to the farmers market, I’ll only shop there if it’s open on a day when I’d be going past anyhow.

    This is based on current advice that spending too much time around the same people is risky; if that’s true, stopping at the bakery on the way home is safer than staying on the same bus for three quarters of an hour.

  33. I wrote that I use the T less than once a week because I commute(d) to work outside the city. However, I support public transportation and depend on the T for non-work travel. In addition, before COVID I had been planning to seek a new job in the greater Boston area in the hopes of commuting by bus or T, rather than car.

  34. I am an occasional user of the MBTA. I will be happy to return to using it when it is clear that effective processes & procedures are in place to ensure that it is safe. In the meantime I worry about those for whom riding the T is an essential activity.

  35. It’s important to remember that many people don’t own cars, often by choice, and the spike we’ve seen in bike sales suggests that many transit riders plan to cycle during the reopening. So, we should make sure we conscientiously run more transit service than demand would warrant during normal times to allow for physical distancing on the T, and we should prioritize new bike infrastructure to keep new and current cyclists safe. Bike/bus lanes in particular would be a great investment along any bus route right now.

  36. Thank you for in informing us and yourself with these surveys. I think it would be useful to survey attitudes about car use. We will be in “covid new normal” until a vaccine is widely administered. That may be years away. How should we use our roads? More pedestrian road closures to provide safer street dining? More parking for retail? If 50% of office work is to be from home then what are the “new normal” transportations investments priorities?

  37. Working from home in lieu of retirement and better able to keep an eye on an elderly, very at-risk parent that I live with, eat healthier and stop wasting two hours a day to travel ten miles. Not particularly worried for myself as regards the T, but my mother does not need to get Covid. I used to joke riding the T WAS my annual flu vaccine, but this thing is somewhat of a mystery still and have heard conflicting information as to whether a person with low/no symptoms can pass this to others. There’s a lot we still don’t know so, as long as they let me work from home, I’ll be working. If or when they require us to return to the physical office space, I’ve already been told I probably won’t have to. If, on occasion, I really NEEDED to, I’d make it rare and off peak hours just to avoid crowds, and yes, in a mask. If it was required full time-I’d go back to plan A, retirement.

  38. We need to start testing as many people as possible and aggressively contact tracing and isolating. Current approach of only limited testing is not enough to stop the epidemic, we have to be much more aggressive. A comprehensive lockdown is only an emergency measure: it is harmful economically, and prolonged loneliness/isolation is very tough for single people. Frequent widespread testing and effective contact tracing could get the infection rate low enough that it would allow the non-infectious people to live a more normal life without inordinate risk. We have to do it this summer, so we can reopen schools in the Fall. If Mass waits for feds to develop a good strategy, or to provide the funds needed for widespread testing and effective contact tracing, we are going to be waiting a long long time.

    1. Unfortunately, the window for putting into place adequate surveillance testing, contact-tracing and quarantines is closing. This is what we should have used the last two months doing. It’s too late now.

  39. I have ventured into downtown (Govt Ctr) a few times since March 16. It terrifies me that there are enough people who are disregarding masks and distancing, that this may indeed cause me illness, regardless of my wearing a mask (which I do ALWAYS outside), and cause me death.
    I am overreacting? I respect nature’s capabilities, and this virus is exceptionally infectious.
    Please keep in mind that pre-COVID-19 MBTA rider density is untenable until (1) daily, immediate testing available for all, (2) contact-tracing available, (3) isolation available, and (4) prophilactic available.
    Thank you for asking, I very much appreciate it. Thank YOU!

  40. My main concern about using the MBTA is whether everybody taking it will behave sensibly and respectfully, and not like members of the crowds we have been shown recently on some beaches and in other locations.

  41. When I become re-employed, and if my new job is accessible via public transportation, I plan to schedule my use of public transportation during off-hours when there are fewer people in the stations and on the trains. That said, it would be helpful if there were more trains to allow for fewer riders per train. Also, I expect that masks will be required of all MBTA riders and staff.

  42. I strongly support public transportation but I am concerned about safety. I would like to know more about the MBTA’s plans.

  43. FYI-,I do not use public transportation into Boston any longer because I bought a car about 6 years ago because the buses just broke me. I was a broken woman. The 73 to HS during morning rush was just too much and I couldn’t take it any longer. I am no longer young and it was unbearable. I felt really bad about getting a car but I had to for my sanity and quality of life. Forget about saving for retirement! I wish the T was more efficient but there are just too many people in this area now and it will never be easy again. Maybe when I don’t have to travel at rush hour any longer then I would be able to use the t again. Thanks, Will, for checking in with everyone. You’re great. Be safe.

    1. Diane: the 73 experience changed completely with the introduction of the bus lanes. It’s like night and day!

  44. I live in Watertown; I do not drive. For the 50 years I have lived here I relied on the T ti get in to Harvard Square and beyond daily. No longer. I haven’t been to Harvard Square since early February. I miss the cafe’s and the bookstores, but because people are not ALL observing appropriate distancing and wearing masks, I don’t expect to use the MBTA until maybe sometime in 2021. I’ll miss it — but I’ll get to do a lot of walking in Watertown.

  45. This survey failed to ask why I did not ride the MBTA before the pandemic. The reason I did not was because it is incredibly unreliable. It takes 3x as long as an uber/lyft and often is broken down. During the summer there are extensive repairs on the greenline and the MBTA is all but useless. This should be taken into consideration too.

  46. I doubt I will survive if I catch this virus. I’m just doing my best to make sure my wife is taken care of if the worst should happen. But I have loyalty to my boss and I will be working as of next week.
    If I don’t make it, everybody take care.

  47. Back in early 2011, I was diagnosed with H1N1 – one of the worst health experiences of my life. The CDC traced it back to the MBTA and determined that is probably where I contracted it. With COVID-19 lurking, I would never even take a chance on the MBTA – the MBTA management has proven time and time again they are incompetent. The MBTA drivers and employees are wonderful and I hope that they, too along with the public are properly given PPE.

  48. My answers to this survey are almost completely predicted by the fact that I am 74. What is safe for many people is not safe for me. Interestingly, if you had asked the mirror image question about auto use, I might have observed that we haven’t bought gas since March. We have been immobile. But I do have to confess to doubts I did not have before about the safety of crowded trains and buses.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to Jonathan Kamens Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *