MBTA passenger numbers are down amid slowdowns and fixes to safety issues. (Staff photo credit: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Attention Public Transit Entrepreneurs and Innovators: MBTA customers are on the hook.
T’s series of troubles continues to progress slowly. Each week brings one or more stories: an accident, service outage, power outage, or a subway car falling off an object (track or delivery truck). Is it any wonder that T’s passenger numbers haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels?
As State House News reported, the bus and commuter rail networks are outperforming the system as a whole and drivers are getting back on the roads, but total ridership remains at just over half of pre-pandemic levels. .
Officials at T have acknowledged that the decline in passenger numbers is part of the impact of service disruptions and the month-long closure of the Orange Line. MBTA Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann O’Hara sounded the alarm at a subcommittee meeting on Thursday. lowest forecast. ”
Passengers who give T a pass do so.
“Personally, I think we are in the new normal,” said Betsy Taylor, chairman of MBTA’s board of directors and its audit and finance subcommittee.
The new normal is not good for T or its riders.
The transit agency is proceeding with a corrective action plan submitted by the Federal Transportation Administration to address issues discovered during the investigation. Officials at Company T said Thursday that they had completed one of their to-do lists. There are 37 more times.
Riders don’t want to refill their Charlie cards.
As Herald reported, T also added 39 new speed limits last month, already slowing it down.
The subway system is even slower, with 83 speed limits covering 10 miles of track. Do your best to arrive at work or anywhere on time.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets, said she expects the slow zone to continue for “several years” across various sectors.
Informing riders about slow zones is a plus for transparency, but it’s no wonder these permanent slow zones discourage them from getting T’s as often as they used to. is not.
The MBTA quagmire presents opportunities for entrepreneurs with savvy transit solutions. Remember Bridj, the on-demand shuttle service?
Provided bus routes based on passenger demand. Passengers were able to hail a bus and reserve seats via an app. The company he closed in 2017. This is partly due to a lack of capital and a plethora of other ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.
That was before T trains were involved in derailments, fires and other suffocating commuter accidents.
Today, Massachusetts is considering congestion charges to reduce traffic, and drivers may reconsider commuting on Boston’s streets. It can also affect Uber and Lyft ride prices.
But if transportation innovators such as Bridj or another company launch public transportation alternatives in this environment, they are likely to find a receptive audience.
T will drive the customer base and they will be held accountable.