The MBTA will not be able to add more buses to crowded routes or add new routes until they add more buses – but before that can happen the buses need a place to be stored and serviced.
During a meeting to discuss transportation on the Arsenal Street corridor last week, MBTA officials said the need places to store and service 80 buses to meet existing needs. The Watertown Yard, on Galen Street near Watertown Square, could be part of the solution.
The facility used to be a center to service trolley cars when the Green Line’s A Line ended in Watertown. Now the area is only used as a bus stop and turn around at the end of routes such as the 57, and express buses to Boston.
The land would not be big enough to hand many buses, but one Watertown resident suggested building a second deck so more vehicles would fit there. The MBTA has plans to do something similar at a new facility being built on the Arborway in Jamaica Plain.
While Watertown Yard would not be able to accommodate all the new buses, it could be part of the solution, MBTA officials said.
The other issue is the cost of the new buses. Each one costs between $400,000 and $500,000, plus the cost of staffing and operating them.
Some of the developers and property owners at the Arsenal Corridor meeting wanted to know how much it would cost to add buses to the 70 bus route, which goes along Arsenal Street. MBTA officials said they would have to figure out the amount. They also said the MBTA has not entered into “pay to play” deals where companies, towns or other groups pay for additional service in their area.