Welcome news came today for the 22,800 commuters who pick up the D Branch of the Green Line from an above-ground station every day. Starting next week, the MBTA will offer three-car trains to accommodate more travelers.
"As a green line commuter myself, I know how bad the congestion can be," said MBTA general manager Rich Davey. "It's the most-utilized light rail system in America. We hope with this new service we can alleviate some of the crowding."
The service will begin on Monday morning at 7 a.m. In total, four trips with three-car service will take place throughout the day; later trips will be at 8:30 a.m., 4 p.m., and 5:40 p.m.
The service, offered for the first time since three-car service was discontinued on the B branch in 2005, was developed after residents asked MBTA general manager Rich Davey to consider adding more cars during peak hours.
If the service is successful, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said they would consider returning three-car runs to the B branch as well. Though the B branch, with 28,000 commuters a day from above-ground stations, is even busier than the D branch, its interaction with cars creates concerns regarding traffic.
"Congestion will be a factor in our decision," Pesaturo said. "A final decision on the B branch has yet to happen. We want to see how the D branch service works out."
Davey said the trial period was to work out kinks in the mechanics of the trains, and make sure they were up to the task of taking more cars.
"If we can run it reliably, it will be a success," Davey said.
Pesaturo said similar service could not be initiated on the C or E branches because some platforms on those branches are not long enough to accommodate three cars.
Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m. firstname.lastname@example.org.