The MBTA is heading into the second round of public meetings as it looks to improve service on its 15 busiest bus routes.
The “Key Bus Route Improvement Program” will tackle the 15 most heavily used routes including the 15, 22, and 28, which serve Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.
The program is being paid for with a $10 million federal grant.
Because the money has a time limit, all the improvements and adjustments must be completed by the end of 2013.
At a sparsely attended meeting Monday night in Uphams Corner, T officials along with their consultant team laid out recommendations for new amenities and bus stop placement.
While many welcomed the new amenities such as bus shelters and trash receptacles, some expressed concern about the proposed elimination of some stops to speed up travel times and reduce bus congestion.
“We are not trying to save money,” said Greg Strangeways, manager of service planning for the T. “We are only focusing on the things that will improve overall service.”
According to the T, four to seven bus stops per mile or stops every 750-feet to 1,320-feet, is the optimum spacing for stops. In comparison the 15’s stops, which was the route most heavily discussed Monday, are on average every 600-feet.
“This is really the first time the MBTA has taken a comprehensive look at these stops,” said Ralph DeNisco, a senior associate with Nelson Nygaard a consultant firm with the T.
Under a draft proposal by the T, seven inbound stops (to Ruggles Station) and five outbound stops (to Kane Square), not including stops shared with the 28 and 22, would be eliminated from the route bringing the total stops to 12 inbound and 12 outbound stops.
Many agreed that the bus could use some help speeding up, but worried that if some stops were to be eliminated it would affect the riders who use certain stops.
“I think it is wrong to take away that stop when people are very happy using it,” said Nancy Conrad, a local resident.
Conrad’s concern had to do with a stop on the 15 before Dudley Station that is at times used by riders to bypass the station. T officials however defended the elimination of the stop because of its proximity to the station and the impact it has on traffic in the already congested Dudley Square.
Monday’s meeting which only had two residents in attendance also briefly touched on the 22 and 28 routes, which are anticipated to be more heavily discussed at upcoming meetings.
On the 28 the T has proposed to bring the number of inbound stops (to Ruggles Station), not including those shared with the 15 and 22, from 41 to 37 and the number of outbound stops (to Mattapan Station) from 46 to 36.
On the 22 the T has proposed to bring the number of inbound stops (to Ruggles Station), not including those shared with the 15 and 28, from 22 to 20 and the number of outbound stops (to Ashmont Station) from 22 to 20.
Monday’s meeting was just the kick-off of another round of meetings that will be happening throughout June.
The next meeting regarding the 28 will be held at the Mattapan Branch Library Jun. 19.
The next meeting regarding the 15, 22, 28 will be held at the Grove Hall Community Center Jun. 26.
The final meeting regarding the 15, 22, 28 will be held Jun. 28 at the Dudley Library.
To read about past meetings, click here.
To read more about the “Key Bus Route Improvement Program”, provide comments, or find out about upcoming meetings, click here.