WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

Your List: 10 Innovative Ideas to Fix the T

By WGBH News

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On Tuesday, WGBH News' Phillip Martin looks at some innovative possibilities to fix the MBTA. But you, our readers and listeners, have also been weighing in on that very question. Here are the top 10 creative, bold ideas we've seen so far in the responses to our survey. 

Do you have a suggestion on how to fix the T? Let us know.

And now... your ideas.

 


1. Fare: $0
The T should be free with more frequent service paid for by a major increase in the gas tax and much larger tolls on driving into Boston. More people would ride the T, help the environment, help city congestion. I do drive, by the way, and would be happy to pay the higher gas tax and tolls if it meant the T could be made a fantastic, world-class public transportation system.
— Submitted by Nancy Gold, Cambridge; uses the Bus System, Red Line, Green Line, Silver Line
 
2. No more paper bus schedules
This is a very small thing, but I figure that every little bit helps. I have compared schedules for the routes I ride for all four quarters and the differences seem insignificant enough to me to merit the cost of printing and distributing the schedules. Some times change by only 1 minute, others 3, 5, and some 10 minutes. But given the not-on-time-ness of the buses I have taken, does the schedule difference matter?
— Submitted by Evelyn Persoff, Somerville; uses the Bus System, Red Line, Green Line, Silver Line, Orange Line
 
3. The Red Sox Red Line
Sponsorship: From Charlie Cards to the Green Line, everything should have a corporate sponsor's colors and logo emblazoned on it. For example, the Boston Red Sox Red Line, the Boston Bruins or John Hancock Blue Line, the Fidelity or Boston Celtics Green Line, the AARP or the Coors Light Silver Line, the ING or Home Depot Orange Line, the New England Patriots or Samuel Adams Brewery Commuter Rail, Royal Caribbean or Belmont Springs Ferry Service and the New Balance or Legal Seafood The Ride. Of course, extensive planning, full disclosure and citizen input would be key.
— Submitted by Bob Damatin, Dorchester; uses the Red Line, Silver Line, Orange Line, Ferry Service
 
4. Extend the Blue Line to MGH and Lynn
I would extend the Blue Line from Bowdoin Station (which should be closed due to lack of usage as well as close proximity to Government Center Station), to Charles/MGH linking with the Red Line. I would extend the Blue Line to downtown Lynn via the original right of way. This would bring jobs and increase tourism to the area and would also help reduce the strain on traffic and local bus routes. The stations on the new route would include one in the Oak Island neighborhood on Oak Island Street, one in the Point-of-Pine neighborhood, then one in the existing Lynn commuter rail station.
— Submitted by Andrew Toksoz-Exley, Chestnut Hill; uses the Bus System, Red Line, Green Line
 
5. Cabbies take over The Ride
Find out the cost of the "Ride "program. Can't that be done for less by giving vouchers to those who need it and let the cab companies run it? I have heard many people have to wait for the "Ride" and I mostly see empty vans on the road.
— Submitted by Doug Friend, North End; uses the Red Line, Silver Line
 
6. Measure usage and adjust schedules to match
To fix the T, I would approach it from an optimization perspective using principles from operations research. First, identify the utilization of each train on each line in terms of how many passengers each train has, and track that over the course of the day. Second, we would need to identify the expected number of customers who miss a train at any given time. With these figures, we can identify when the true "peak" hours are, and remodel the schedule around these times.
— Submitted by Faried Beladi, Dedham; uses the Green Line, Orange Line, Commuter Rail
 
7. A special lottery
I would have a special, once or twice a year lottery to subsidize the T budget that would share proceeds 50/50 between winner(s)and state.
— Submitted by Kimberly Siebert, Bedford; uses the Bus System, Red Line, Green Line, Silver Line, Commuter Rail
 
8. Charge cars per trip
Every Massachusetts auto ought to be equipped with an EZ Pass transponder and every major road passing under I-495 and 128 ought to assess a small fee from every car passing. The money collected would be used exclusively to support the T.
— Submitted by John Haule, Chestnut Hill; uses the Green Line
 
9. Make T execs commute on the T
Require management and executives at the T to use it for commuting. This should be mandatory. If they saw how badly it was run they might come up with some creative management solutions.
— Submitted by Mary Ann Krebs, South Boston; uses the Bus System, Red Line, Green Line, Ferry Service, Commuter Rail
 
10. Digital aids for the parking garage
I am a regular user of Alewife and love the T. I typically drive there and struggle to find a parking spot. It would be wonderful if there was a way to note at the top of each floor whether parking is available and where. I assume there is an app for that method. Also, is it possible to tie parking payments to the Charlie Card? Alewife requires cash, which seems a bit outdated.
— Submitted by Ann Guay, Bedford; uses the Red Line


Which ideas are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.



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About WGBH News Focus: The MBTA

Love it, like it or lump it, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority touches nearly everyone's lives in eastern Mass. And it's in financial crisis, with newly announced fare hikes not enough to cover next year's projected $100 million budget deficit. WGBH News features special focus coverage of the tracks and troubles of our public transit system.

About the Author
WGBH News
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 

"If I Ran the T ..."

Everyone who's ever rode on the T has an opinion about what problem they'd change first. If you were in charge, where would you start? Let us know.

The Fare and Service Plan

On July 1, the T will introduce fare increases and service cuts to cover a $159 million budget gap for the next fiscal year. Read the plan on mbta.com.




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