BOSTON (WHDH) - In the face of serious service cuts, MBTA officials began a month-long public comment period Tuesday night and invited concerned commuters to give their feedback on a series of cutbacks.
The pandemic has crushed ridership across the board, according to transportation officials. But during the virtual meeting, they received a clear message from riders and community leaders.
“I want to state unequivocally that this plan will harm my community,” State Representative Denise Garlick said.
The agency proposed eliminating commuter rail service on weekends and after 9 p.m. on weeknights, cease running all ferries, scrapping 25 bus routes, halting subways and buses at midnight, and scaling back more transit options under a package of service cuts officials unveiled Monday.
One MBTA employee said cutting night and weekend commuter rail lines would hurt medical workers and first responders who work late nights or overnight shifts.
“Some of these people are gonna be completely stranded and left out in the cold, literally, as we enter winter,” the employee said.
According to the MBTA, the cuts are targeted to maintain service in areas that need it the most.
One ferry rider told 7NEWS she understands why this decision was made and feels some communities can afford the cuts.
“If they stop it, it will be a bummer but I get it. Hingham has money. Inner-city, they are the ones who need the money,” she said.
As rider levels go up, officials said they would increase service back to normal levels. But, many said they cannot afford to go a few months without a ride.
“When that one person loses his or her job and can no longer take care of a family of five to six to eight people, what’s happening then,” rider Ellen Fine asked.
The vote on these proposed changes is set to take place on Dec. 7. If they are approved, the changes will not take place until spring of next year.
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