See What Concerns and Ideas Residents Have About the MBTA

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MBTA bus.

Charlie Breitrose

MBTA bus.

Crowded buses and new ways to pay bus fares came up as issues facing users of public transportation at the first Watertown Task Force on Public Transit meeting.

Forty people came out to the meeting on May 1 at the Watertown Free Public Library, which was organized by Sustainable Watertown.

Frequent MBTA bus riders run into over-crowded buses – to the point that buses cannot pick up passengers – and bunching of buses so they come one right after another, said Joe Levendusky, an East End resident, who moderated the first meeting.

“The solutions that were most commonly suggested were a) more buses on the routes and  b) better real time management of the route,” Levendusky said.

People would like to see easier access to the Charlie Cards. They suggested having machines to add money to cards at major stops, such as Watertown and Coolidge squares. Another improvement would be having more retail stores sell pre-paid Charlie Cards, Levendusky said.

Riders also said they would like to see the on-board payment system improved. They suggested having turnstiles at Harvard Station for the 71 and 73 buses so people would not have to pay when they got off the bus when heading outbound from Harvard Square.

While people had complaints, Levendusky said most came in with a positive attitude.

“The overall tenor of the conversation was ‘I love my town. I love my transit. But the service issues are driving me nuts!'” he said. “It amazed me how committed out citizens are to using public transportation.”

The group will continue to meet to discuss particular issues, and could be part of a multi-pronged effort to improve transit in town. State Rep. Jonathan Hecht said that this is a good time to raise concerns about the MBTA and transportation, according to Levendusky.

Those interested in finding out about the Watertown Task Force on Public Transportation can send and email to

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