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Proposed MBTA Cuts Would Affect Wakefield

Cuts would affect bus routes and the commuter rail in Wakefield.

Two Wakefield bus lines and weekend and weeknight commuter rail service would be cut, and prices would rise under two proposed scenarios for changes to MBTA service that officials say are necessary to help remedy a projected $161 million budget gap.

Both plans released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Tuesday would heavily impact Wakefield commuters who utilize public transportation, through cuts to service and price increases.

Cuts to Bus Service
The proposal calls to eliminate both the 136 and 137 bus routes, which run between Reading Depot and Malden Station. Under scenario one, Route 136 would be maintained on weekdays, but eliminated on Saturdays and Sundays. Route 137 would be eliminated on Sundays. Under scenario two, Routes 136 and 137 would both be eliminated.

According to the MBTA, the greater number of service cuts would facilitate the lower fare increase under the second scenario.

Cuts to Commuter Rail
Under both plans, the MBTA would eliminate weekend commuter rail service, while ending weeknight service at 10 p.m.

Price Increases
Currently, a one-way commuter rail fare between Wakefield and North Station costs $4.75. Under the first scenario, the fare would increase to $7. Scenario two would put the cost of a one-way ticket at $6.50. Parking at the nearest subway line, Oak Grove Station in Malden, would rise from the current $5.50 to $7.50 under scenario one, and increase to $7 under scenario two.

Under the first scenario, the cost of bus CharlieCards would rise from $1.25 to $1.75, while subway cards would rise from $1.70 to $2.40. Parking fees would increase 28 percent, while the second scenario calls for an increase of 25 cents on bus cards and subway CharlieCards increasing to $2.25. Parking fees would rise 20 percent.

Under both plans, commuter rail tickets would be good for only 14 days, instead of the current 180, multi-ride tickets for the commuter rail and ferry service would be eliminated and THE RIDE, which serves the handicapped, would become more expensive. 

Additionally, both scenarios call for the elimination of weekend service on the Green Line E branch and the Mattapan high speed line.

Public Hearings
The MBTA is planning to host more than 20 public hearings over the next several months to get users engaged in the process. The closest these will get to Reading is Malden, on Feb. 16, between 6 and 8 p.m. at the City Council Chambers. Click here for a complete list of public meetings.

Sara Jacobi January 05, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Who uses buses 136 and 137 in town, or the commuter rail on the weekends, and how will these proposed cuts change daily life for you?
Laurie Hunt January 05, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Many years ago when I worked in town I would use a mixture of the commuter rail and bus to the orange line. I would have missed the bus for sure if it was eliminated. I don't take advantage of the commuter rail on the weekends often at all but it would be a shame if it were not there for people to utilize!
Kimberly Bova McDonald January 05, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I use the bus to Oak Grove a few days a week now and I used it 5 days a week for my first two years in Wakefield. I know people in both Melrose and Wakefield who chose the location of their homes for the proximity of public transportation getting them into Boston for work. I think it is detrimental, not just to the commuters, but to the towns and businesses to eliminate these lines.
Dave Gray January 05, 2012 at 05:29 PM
By multi-ride tickets do you mean the Zone 2 commuter rail passes, which are also good on the subway? Instead of costing $151 a month, eliminating them would then cost a commuter $14 a day for commuter rail and $3.50 for the subway, or $402.50 a month for someone who uses both rail and subway. That's a 165% increase. What are these people thinking? Ridership will decline to the point where the fare increases will be offset by the decline in riders. Who can afford that kind of an increase?
Fred January 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I used the bus for about 3 years commuting to school. While slow, never on time, and just generally a crappy experience, it was nice to have a lower cost alternative to the Commuter Rail. In my opinion, Instead of being totally scrapped, the schedule should just be whittled-down to rush-hour...too many of the off-peak-hour buses are often totally empty.
maureen howland January 06, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Can the T do anything right? There are so many people that would be affected by the elimination of the 136-137 bus routes it boggles the mind. What are these people thinking??? My experience with the buses is that they are rarely reliable as far as time is concerned but at least they do provide a way to get to and from Oak Grove for people who need the service and eliminating it is certainly no answer. Cutting back during off hours or on weekends would be understandable but elimination - of course not!
maureen howland January 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
P.S. Don't raise the rates either. They are high enough already. It is mismanagement not fares that are too low that are the problem with the MBTA.
Marietta Haeg Schwartz January 06, 2012 at 06:16 PM
My guess is that the "multiride" passes they refer to are the 10-ride (or it might be 12, I forget) passes that get punched by the conductor. I ride the commuter rail every day, and I see a LOT of people using those; it's a better deal than a single ticket, but more cost-efficient for someone who doesn't take the train every day and doesn't want to spend the $151 for the pass.
John Bengtson January 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Like Laurie, when I worked downtown I use to take a combination of T services. While I used the bus line the least, it provides a indispensible backup to the commuter rail line. Anyone who has ridden the rails knows that on occasion they are delayed or breakdown. When that happens, people immediately head for the bus stop.
S. Day January 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I use the bus every day to get to work at the Pru Center. I don't have to pay for parking as the bus goes near my home. The buses have a much better on-time record than they did a few years ago. I can safely get to work without driving in the snow and ice. The buses are the least expensive transportation in this area. Many of the people who use the buses are the ones who will be disproportionately affected by the cost increase and lack of service.
Sandy Panico February 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Before I got my license I was a regular customer on the T. Now not as much since I have a car but, a couple of my friends do not drive and depend on public transportation, which costs so much less than driving and owning a vehicle. Some of my friends have medical restrictions that prevent them from driving. Cut the service and you cut transportation for those who would otherwise be stuck in their houses all weekend long. Now most of the time I take my friends out but that's only twice a week. That's not fair to people who can't drive, they need independence too. I hope the MBTA is considering the impact of the lives of those who can not provide their own transportation.

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