Transit moves us. Our city is built around the MBTA, and everything we love about it could not exist without a robust transit system. It is why our population and employment base have exploded in recent years — nearly 10 percent in the city of Boston alone — and MBTA ridership has skyrocketed. Even conservative estimates show an additional 130,000 people in the Boston region by 2030.
Yet even as ridership on the rapid transit and major bus lines has increased as much as 30 percent in just 10 years, MBTA service hours and frequency have remained the same and the quality of service has actually declined in a culture of austerity. This is causing severe strain that is breaking the system.
We advocate for investing in a fast, frequent, reliable and comprehensive MBTA network to more effectively serve the growing population and employment base of our cities.
Today we have several critical challenges:
- Neglecting our infrastructure is coming back to bite us in the form of disabled trains, signal problems, overcrowded buses and inability to operate reliably in any weather.
- Rapid transit and most major bus lines do not have enough capacity for their current riders.
- The network has not grown or changed to accommodate the city’s growing population, and existing service patterns do not match desired travel patterns.
- A lack of vision and expert transit management (as well as inadequate funding) have caused many simple, cost effective upgrades to be ignored.
- The housing crisis is making areas with rapid transit unaffordable and pushing people to areas with poor transit service. A four-mile commute can take over an hour.
- Failure to invest in transit has worsened traffic congestion and many locations — including on most major bus corridors — experience near gridlock for several hours per day, making these buses slow and unreliable.
We have a long way to go but in only one year TransitMatters is making progress in shifting the conversation around transit issues. We host monthly social events where transit planners, advocates and other riders can learn and get involved. In addition to pursuing alternatives to fare increases and further austerity, we have started to pursue small but meaningful changes on the streets: things like dedicated bus lanes, signal priority and improved bus circulation around major stations and bottlenecks.
In this difficult political climate, our voice is needed more than ever. However, we are all volunteers and can only do so much. We would like to hire a director to ensure our efforts can continue.
Please support TransitMatters -- volunteer; join; donate -- and help us continue the fight for effective transportation. Learn more about Our Vision for Transit, read our position statements and advocacy initiatives, listen to our podcast and let us know how we can help you. And most of all, get involved!