In a letter to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak earlier this month, State Rep. Dan Ryan urged the agency to include the 111 bus among the routes utilizing the real-time crowding application rolled out in June.
In the letter, Ryan asked for clarity between the MBTA’s announcement of the 111 being included in the flexible deployment program, but not actually included in the real-time app program. He further urged, “I would also ask that the Route 111 be included in future additions of routes to the real-time crowding app.”
That wish was granted this week, according to the MBTA. Real-time bus crowding data is now available on routes 1, 8, 10, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 44, 66, 70, 71, 73, 77, 86, 104, 108, 109, 110 and 111. The data used to determine how crowded a bus is comes from automated passenger counters (APC’s) installed at the front and rear of the buses. The data is displayed on the MBTA website or the available Transit app. This data, along with traditional bus schedule programs, will enable riders to better plan for safe transit in the COVID-19 era.
“The MBTA assured me that the 111 was not left out of the equation. But, rather, the agency was testing the new technology in a limited number of routes before expanding. I’m glad to see the MBTA made good on their promise,” said Ryan. “We’ll have to see how it goes before giving it an ‘A’ grade.”
The 111 is historically one of the most utilized and over-crowded routes in the MBTA system. Traversing the Mystic River by way of the Tobin Bridge, the 111 takes many essential workers to downtown Boston. During the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, the 111 has received even more media attention than usual. The flexible deployment program, which included the 111 from the outset, will give the MBTA the ability to keep thirty percent of buses from other routes in reserve to be deployed when necessary to more crowded routes.