An MBTA bus in Watertown. Watertown public transit riders will soon see some changes to bus routes as part of the MBTA’s Better Bus Project. Beginning Dec. 22, 2019, the 70 and 70A buses will see changes in its service to north Waltham,, and the 71 bus will have shortened routes during the morning and evening rush hours. Also, stops will be eliminated on the 52 bus, which runs out of Watertown Yard.
The following announcement was provided by the MBTA:
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and its Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) accepted a report from the MBTA Safety Review Panel on Dec. 9 that offers 34 recommendations with 61 corrective actions to improve safety for MBTA riders and staff. The panel, commissioned by the FMCB in June after a series of derailments and other safety incidents, comprises three nationally recognized experts in transit safety: former US transportation secretary Ray LaHood; former Federal Transit Administration acting administrator Carolyn Flowers; and former NYC Transit president Carmen Bianco. “While the agency performs the necessary core functions to be considered a relatively safe system, many aspects of the T’s approach to safety and operations need immediate attention,” the report states. “In almost every area we examined, deficiencies in policies, application of safety standards or industry best practices, and accountability were apparent.”
FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello praised the Safety Review Panel’s 63-page report.
The MBTA Transit Police arrested two Waltham brothers who threatened a bus driver at the Watertown Yard on Galen Street when he refused to let them on the bus. The Transit Police released the following account of the incident:
On Nov. 19, 2019 at approximately 11:55 p.m. Transit Police officers assigned to the North District received a radio call to respond to the MBTA’s Watertown Sq. Bus Yard for a report two males threatening an MBTA bus operator. Upon arrival offices were met by the victim, an MBTA bus operator, and Watertown Police.
The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:
A closer look at recently-reported traffic numbers offers hope that expansions of rail service can make a real difference in rush hour congestion. I was discouraged by two analyses that came out over the summer. MassDOT’s report, Congestion in the Commonwealth, showed that daily vehicle volume dwarfs daily commuter rail ridership along the major radial commuting paths into the core of the Boston area. Around the same time, preliminary results from the Rail Vision model showed that even major expansions of commuter rail service outside 128 would garner ridership increases apparently too small to make a dent in vehicle volume. For example, the Congestion report shows at page 89 that on I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), there are roughly 150,000 vehicles per day as compared to only 18,000 daily riders on the parallel Worcester line.
The Express Buses going to and from Watertown Yard will be impacted by changes made by the MBTA beginning in September. Planned changes to improve some of the MBTA’s bus routes will take effect on Sept. 1, 2019, including some that go to Watertown. The changes are part of the Better Bus program, and on Sept. 1 the express bus routes to Watertown Yard will see some changes.
The following information was provided by MassDOT:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising Labor Day travelers to make informed decisions, utilize all the available technology tools including www.mass511.com, and consider public transportation if possible to reach destinations. MassDOT is taking several steps to ensure reliable travel for members of the public who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down construction outside of fixed work zones for the Labor Day travel period effective at 5 a.m., Friday, August 30. Scheduled road work will then resume at the start of normal business hours on Tuesday, September 3. “We know there typically are higher volumes on some state highways during Labor Day weekend, and we advise everyone to make smart decisions before getting behind the wheel and heading to their holiday travel destinations,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Everyone should utilize the appropriate technology tools and wayfinding resources, consider the best route and time to travel, remain sober or use a designated driver, and exercise safe driving behavior at all times.”
The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have normal morning hours this week and open early for the afternoon commute at 2 p.m., on Thursday, August 29, and 1 p.m., on Friday, August 30. The HOV lane will be closed on Monday, September 2, and will then re-open for regularly scheduled hours on Tuesday, September 3.
The following information was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:
Please see also 7/26 update further below. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak called me this morning to brief me about the Red Line’s troubles and his response. Below is a summary of our conversation. The Timeline for Service Restoration
Normally during rush hour, there are approximately 14 trains per hour. Unfortunately, at least through Labor Day, there will only be 10 trains per hour.