Although ridership remains low, the MBTA is preparing to significantly ramp up service across all modes as part of Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Effective June 21, regular weekday service will operate on the Blue Line; increased weekday service will operate on the Red, Orange, Green, and Mattapan Lines; and service will increase for nearly sixty bus routes.
On June 22, Commuter Rail service will be increased and ferry service will resume on weekdays.
While passenger volume continues to be just a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, the MBTA will continue to closely monitor ridership and undesirable crowding in excess of recently-adopted thresholds and, when possible, make adjustments. Weekday service will be added to nearly 60 high-demand routes, including Routes 1, 22, 23, 28, 57, 66, 111, 116, 117, and dozens more. Bus service has also been tailored to specifically allow for operational flexibility, giving dispatchers the ability to make adjustments in response to changing ridership demands and to alleviate crowding. The MBTA will operate a full complement of buses, including 30% reserved to be deployed where there is increased demand for service. Crowding will be closely monitored with these flexible buses deployed as needed.
“As the Commonwealth continues its reopening phases and we begin boosting service for all modes, we will continue to protect the riding public and our workforce through enhanced safety protocols, including cleaning and sanitizing our stations and vehicles,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Thank you to MBTA riders for their patience during these challenging times and for wearing face coverings while using the system. I also want to reiterate my deep appreciation to our frontline workforce, who have come to work every day throughout the pandemic in order to provide essential transit services.”
On March 17, the MBTA implemented service changes that mimicked limited, modified Saturday schedules for most modes with ferry service temporarily canceled in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Customers should continue to make efforts to distance and are reminded that face coverings are required while onboard vehicles and within the MBTA system. The MBTA urges area employers to continue to allow telecommuting and to consider staggered work schedules to promote social distancing on public transit. The MBTA also encourages cities and towns to assist in this effort be expanding available space at historically busy bus stops and working with the MBTA to implement dedicated-bus lanes.
Service by individual mode will update according to the following as staffing permits effective June 21 and June 22:
•Subway and Light Rail:
Effective Sunday, June 21, regular weekday service will operate on the Blue Line with increased weekday service on the Red, Orange, Green, and Mattapan Lines as staffing levels permit.
Customers should note that rear-door boarding on Green Line and Mattapan Line trolleys at street-level stops will continue during Phase 2 with removable barriers installed onboard trolleys in support of social distancing efforts. These measures protect the health and safety of the MBTA’s workforce and customers. Anyone needing to use the front door, including seniors and people with disabilities, may continue to do so.
Customers should also note that planned service diversions are currently taking place on the Green Line.
Effective Sunday, June 21, MBTA buses will operate on a modified, increased Saturday schedule for nearly 60 bus routes, which has been designed to allow for operational flexibility and the ability to make adjustments in response to changing ridership demands. Modifications include more service on high-demand routes; many bus routes beginning service earlier than typical Saturdays and resembling the start of service on weekdays; and 30% of MBTA buses to be deployed every day based on analysis and reporting on where there is increased demand for service in Phase 2. All available buses will operate with service concentrated on about 80 percent of bus routes.
Weekday service will be added to over 50 high-demand routes, notably Routes 1, 22, 23, 28, 31, 32, 57, 65, 66, 70, 104, 109, 111, 116 and 117. Route 39 will now also operate with 60-foot buses all day for additional capacity. Routes resuming service that were previously not operating are Routes 19 and 245, which serve key medical and hospital areas.
Bus routes will also continue run their regular schedules on Saturdays and Sundays.
Effective Monday, June 22, all Commuter Rail Lines will operate increased weekday service. This increase in Commuter Rail service is about 85% of normal schedules with regular midday trains operating and increases to the number of trains during morning and evening peak periods.
Commuter Rail schedules are available at mbta.com.
•Enhanced Decontamination, Cleaning, Disinfecting, Social Distancing, and More:
In addition to encouraging good hygiene practices and social distancing, the MBTA is continuing its enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. This includes:
*Stations and facilities: disinfecting touch points in high-traffic facilities twice a day; disinfecting touch points on surfaces such as handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines in subway stations once every four hours; and hiring additional vendors for disinfecting using chemical fogging, electrostatic sprayers, and manual disinfecting wipes/solutions.
*Bus and rail vehicles: decontaminating all vehicles nightly with disinfecting wipes; performing mid-day decontamination at layover locations daily by wiping down operator cabs and high-touch locations; wiping down cabs, fare boxes, and entrances for first/second shift bus pullbacks; performing electrostatic fogging for 100% decontamination every two weeks for all bus vehicles; isolating and electrostatic decontamination of any vehicle reported as operated by an employee who tested positive for COVID-19.