There has been no shortage of discussion about what people think about public transportation service in Chelsea, but many of those conversations don’t always include the elderly, and that is one of the largest populations to use the service.
On Monday morning, GreenRoots staff and a graduate student from Boston University gathered to speak to seniors in a multi-lingual, confidential discussion about what needs to be improved.
“We wanted to have this conversation because so many seniors depend on public transportation,” said Sarah Levy of GreenRoots. “We want to know what is working and what is not working. We hope this will being a conversation on how to improve public transportation for you all. It’s not going to be us coming one time and going away.”
The group was lively and many seniors turned out for the meeting.
Some of the answers were unique to the older popular.
“The strollers are often a problem for us,” said one woman. “Seniors get on with canes or walkers and the baby strollers block the space. When the bus starts going, they can’t get to a seat because the strollers slow them down. They can fall down.”
Added one woman, “I would suggest that they have strollers get on in back. That gives more space for seniors in the front.”
Another request was to educate the young people and adults about getting up to provide a seat for an elderly person.
“I hope the T can have an educational campaign to better let young people know that they are supposed to get up and provide a seat for an elderly or handicapped person,” said one man.
By and large, though, the biggest complaint for seniors was the infrequent service and the inaccurate time schedule.
“If you don’t come at the right time, you have to wait another hour,” said one woman. “The 111 is usually ok, but the 116, 117 and 112 are always late and they are too crowded. Sometimes you can’t get on because it’s full and then you have to wait an hour for another bus.”
Added another woman, “Many people are left behind because the buses are so crowded. They are left standing there in the cold because there is no room for them.”
Other major concerns were:
- There needs to be more places to get a Charlie Card in Chelsea.
- The MBTA needs to schedule a time to come to Chelsea to do photos for Senior ID Passes.
- There needs to be more regular 111 buses and fewer 111C buses.
- The Chelsea loop bus to the Mystic Mall needs to be more predictable, and it needs to also go to the Parkway Plaza.