Silver Line stats show Southie surge

These stats just in from the T for the South Boston end of the Silver Line for January through August:

  • Total annual year-to-date ridership up 7.0% from 3,148,612 in 2010 to 3,368,580 in 2011.
  • Average weekday ridership up 5.7% from 15,015 in 2010 to 15,877 in 2011.
  • Average Saturday ridership up 67.3% from 5,550 in 2010 to 9,285 in 2011.
  • Average Sunday ridership up 8.0% from 8,422 in 2010 to 9,098 in 2011.

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Comments

Silver Sloth to Silver Rail?

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Well the T said the Silver Bus would be upgraded to light rail if it was successful, so hopefully this means that planning will start for that. Also, it'd be nice if the two silver bus lines were linked as was first promised (that one seat ride from Roxbury to the airport).

light rail??? WHY??

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why would the T spend tens of millions of dollars to have these vehicles travel on steel instead of rubber?? that's not gonna increase ridership. frequent and reliable service boosts ridership...and that is what the Silver Line has been offering (and why it's been a huge success)

Just imagine

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the amount of development that would occur in Southie if the silver line was light rail and ran under the channel to the east side of southie. Thats only assuming developers could build more than 3 stories high.

The Silver Lie and my RER dream

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That one seat ride was always the Silver Lie, since there is no capacity in the Ted for rail. The at grade D St. crossing was just stupid, too, but at least that can be fixed (for a cost of some huge multiple of what it would have cost to have built it properly before the development got down there).

Unfortunately, that same limitation is one of many impediments to my dream - an RER-like east-west express train through Boston with stops at (East to West) Logan, D St. (ish), South Station, Back Bay, Kenmore, Harvard Innovation Village (Beacon Park Yards), Brighton Landing (New Balance Building), the Newton Commuter Rail Stops and a big intermodal facility at 128 (perhaps the Riverside yard expanded across the river (with crossings) to the MassDOT land by Liberty Mutual. We could even call that last part La Defense, where it would connect to the other RER-like train line running up the median of 128 connecting with the (still larger than people think and growing) tech cluster in Waltham.

We can still dream in America, can't we?

D Street light

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The at-grade crossing at D Street is a fiasco, but it would be so easy to improve simply by reducing the amount of time from when the bus pulls up to the light and the light actually changing. It seems the cross traffic keeps their green for nearly a minute before the bus gets to go. As soon as the bus pulls up, the cross street should get a yellow. That shouldn't cost anything more than an environmental review, two or three community meetings, some union-negotiated overtime to have someone change the settings, and probably a police detail to keep an eye on things. So only $552,739 or so.

That still leaves that ridiculous switch from catenary wires to gas engine, which is just a disaster. I'm sure someone got a great promotion for coming up with that idea to save some money, but now they need to add up all the time/money wasted waiting for the driver to take his leisurely stroll to the back of the bus and the two or three attempts it usually takes to get everything working, or the overtime for the guy who's only job is to stand there and do the same thing.

Silver Line time wasters

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It looks like a slightly bigger problem than adjusting the traffic light setting, since it seems there's no detection for the bus. But adding the sensors is trivial compared to the amount of time and money it would save.

The electric to diesel changeover should be totally automatic, without the driver getting out.

The diesel to electric switch was supposed to happen automatically as well, with specially-designed guides that would get the poles onto the wires without the driver getting out. Is that system not working?

D Street traffic light should just be removed

D Street is quite lightly travelled and needs no signal here. The Silver Line bus should be able to easily cross by simply pulling halfway across to the median (blocking southbound D Street traffic) and waiting for a gap in northbound traffic, then continuing across.

A properly designed light

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A properly designed light with traffic sensors would make bus trips quicker than a stop sign. The bus would have to wait a maximum of 4 seconds to get a green light (3 for the other street's yellow, and 1 second of all-red). Less if they put the bus sensor back from the intersection.

The SL2s running from BMIP do

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The SL2s running from BMIP do switch from diesel to electric and electric to diesel automatically. The SL1s (the Logan route) have the poles manually tied off outbound and manually untied inbound as a safety precaution to make sure the poles do not accidently rise in the Ted Williams Tunnel or at low-clearence locations at the airport, where poles accidentlly rising could do damage.

That's totally ridiculous.

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That's totally ridiculous. There are automated pole and pantograph lowering mechanisms that are trusted on transit systems all over the world. Including the Blue Line, where the pantographs would snag the tunnel if they were up.

What makes the Silver Line the only system that needs human intervention?

Pantograph automatic latch

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Pantograph automatic latch downs are very common, automatic poles are not. I think they found out the hard way very early when the Silver Line first opened that the poles can sometimes rise on their own when they are not supposed to.

I wouldn't consider the

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I wouldn't consider the Silver Line as a Southie transit route, this services the waterfront/fort point area.

The #7, #9, #10, #11 buses are Southie routes.

Throws hands up in air

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Will you Southie anons get together and decide just what South Boston is? I write about stuff in "the Innovation District" and somebody gets upset that I don't say "South Boston waterfront," unless it's some crime by the waterfront, in which case one of you anonymi complains I only mention "Southie" in crime stories. Yeesh,.

not to start this... (too late)

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To my mind, which is worth about as much as the paper this comment is written on, "Southie" is a sub-section of "South Boston" and includes only the historically residential neighborhood south of, say, First Street. I would never say the ICA is in "Southie" but I accept that it is in "South Boston".

Whatever... let the flame wars begin.

South Boston is further in

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I never consider the Fort Point/Children's Museum/Big Milk Bottle/ so-called "Innovation District"/Moakley Courthouse/ICA area and the like "South Boston", though technically it is. You have to go deeper in than that to be really SOUTH BOSTON. If you can walk to it in a few minutes from South Station it isn't Southie. I always have to laugh when a news reporter on TV is at the courthouse and says "in South Boston, Amelia Bloopblabloop, Newscenter 5". Not even close to Southie.

There's no chance...

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...that anyone would say the courthouse was NOT in South Boston, not with Southie hero Joe Moakley's name on it! The old timers would have a fit!

look at a map

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You can call it France if you want but it's still South Boston.

No worries...

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It's all Southie, no matter what anyone says. Silver Line ridership is up? Good. But what the T really needs to do is increase the frequency of the 9 and 11 buses in peak times (they're always way too jammed morning and afternoon rushhour, have they even noticed the population increase with all the new condos?), and then create a new bus route or change the current ones so they run closer to the new restaurants and the ICA. It would be good if there was an easier way to get down to the waterfront from say anywhere on Broadway (except for walking, of course, which is an option except when there's a foot of snow on the ground).

Holy Hannah!

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67.3% in one year? Is there anything obvious driving this, like maybe the service didn't exist last year? That is just a big jump, and so out of line with the other days of the week, I can't help but wonder if something might be wrong with the data.

My best guess: The Harpoon

My best guess:
The Harpoon Brewery is becoming a bigger attraction and also conventions at the BCEC. PAX East was there this year and was the largest convention in the history of Massachusetts. It was in Hynes last year.

My experience riding it is that the 3 electrified stops are really not that bad and actually provide decently speedy and regular service.

New Restaraunts, etc.

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I think the new restaurants and other development are driving ridership down there. Too bad they hadn't just made that Silver Line another branch of the Red Line.

I have a hard time considering that area "South Boston". I call it the Seaport District. I suppose I could live with the Seaport District as part of South Boston. If I remember correctly it was later dubbed the "South Boston Waterfront" so that Southie politicians wouldn't miss out on any concessions made by developers down there.

Increasing facility use on Saturdays?

I've noticed a lot of one day events being scheduled for Saturdays, geared toward local population and likely drawing transit users more so than a week long convention. The other thing that probably has an impact is the recent surge in restaurants and bars.

More general comment about the SL/Waterfront service:

These numbers are impressive for such a short transit line, and exceed the utilization found in a number of new light rail lines with more stations that have been built elsewhere over the past 10 years. Clearly, Boston is a transit oriented town, and I hope the powers that be take notice.

The ICA, Courthouse,

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The ICA, Courthouse, Convention Center and everything else up there is in South Boston. Check the city's website.

It is officially called the South Boston Waterfront. Again, check the City's web site.

There is no such neighborhood called Fort Point, Seaport, Innovation District or any other trendy name.

The city-funded Fort Point sign

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There actually is one of those blue ovoid things, but it says "Welcome to Fort Point" as you're about to cross the Summer Street bridge over the channel to downtown, which makes no sense whatsoever (the other side says "Welcome to South Boston").