MBTA considers replacing Mattapan trolleys with buses

Peter Howe at NECN reports the T is getting tired of the expense of maintaining heirloom trolleys from the 1940s when it has billions of dollars worth of unmet needs and so replacing the trolleys with electric buses is "on the table."



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Buses won't be able to go through Cedar Grove Cemetery.

I have family at Cedar Grove

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I have family at Cedar Grove as well. It's a beautiful place and I always smile when theres a pause in ceremonies when the trolley comes by.

Where else?

Bus vs Bridges

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The issue with the Mattapan trolley is one of weight and width. The older PCC cars are short-based and smaller than a newer LRV-type Green line car. As a result they weigh less. There are two bridges over the Neponset River that are quite old as well. One is just outside of Mattapan Station approaching Capen Street and the other inbound of Milton Station on the way to Butler St.

Newer LRV units have a weight that is approaching the weight limits currently placed on those two river crossings. Also the newer LRV units use a pantograph to pick up the power from the overhead wire. The PCC cars need a trolley pole. Either the wire service woul dhave to be replaced or any LRV unit be retrofitted with a trolley pole.

If they tried to run an electric bus through there they would still need to rip up the tracks and pave it over, then find a way to plow that in the winter. That isn't happening. If they did use an electric bus they would bring in units from Cambridge to meet the weight limits. Oh yes... and replace most of the wire service to add a second line. Electric buses need two connections.

No, if they are considering buses they mean they will kill the trolley completely and run a bus in its place.

Keep in mind they are now in process of selling off the commuter parking lot at Mattapan.

There is some historical significance to the line especially given I believe it is the only place in the USA where a rapid transit line passes through a cemetery (Cedar Grove). The public and the politicians need to get on this band wagon fast.

The worst of the bridges was

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The worst of the bridges was fixed when the Ashmont viaduct got replaced during the station renovation. If either of the river crosses still have a weight limit, they're scheduled for rehab in the systemwide bridge repair program well before time runs out on the PCC's.

And swapping a pantograph for a trolley pole is no more than a couple grand in parts and labor. Seashore Trolley Museum up in Maine doesn't have any trouble running our recently ex- Blue Line cars with a pole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mBMDchcfl8 .

Biggest thing they'd have to do is rig up a maintenance shed with the right equipment for jacking up an articulated LRV. Either do it with a retrofit of the existing shed in Mattapan or some shared-use retrofit of the Red Line shed at Ashmont.

Stations except for Valley Rd. all have those ADA mini-high platforms for level boarding with a high-floor car...so you don't even have to punish Mattapan by foisting on them those Breda pieces of @#$%.

Other than that...not nearly enough of a dilemma for them to be yelling "BUS!" in a crowded room when every light rail option--in-house or external--is at their disposal and remaining items on the repair bucket list are either pre-scheduled or trivial. Somebody's trying to shovel money at their politically-connected friends in the asphalt double-billing business by inventing false dilemmas.

And swapping a pantograph for

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And swapping a pantograph for a trolley pole is no more than a couple grand in parts and labor. Seashore Trolley Museum up in Maine doesn't have any trouble running our recently ex- Blue Line cars with a pole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mBMDchcfl8 .

This is the MBTA; that "couple grand" will turn into $20,000 and take six years.

How about replacing 1940s

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How about replacing 1940s trolleys with 2010s trolleys? The fact that we are looking at losing so much of our existing and promised infrastructure is truly insane at this juncture in history.


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They're called streetcars.

Measured by the Fair box I

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Measured by the Fair box I would say that is pretty off - I take it daily and its jam packed from 5-7pm/during rush hour. Probably 75% of the time they also don't collect fairs at Ashmont, and I have never seen them require it going to Ashmont either.

It used to have a strange fare structure

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At one point, you only paid getting off inbound and on outbound. The thought was that everyone was transferring at Ashmont, so the fares were being paid. Now they have transfers, so they collect more.

This proposal makes more sense. Were this to happen, I would do it after canceling all expansion projects, which means it should not happen. They've done too many capital upgrades to do this.


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Because you'd have to build new infrastructure? The rail system there works really, really well. The cars are old but were all rebuilt in the last decade, as was the trackage. Unless you use diesel buses, you'd introduce more local air pollution. This just doesn't make sense.

Most already have, there are

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Most already have, there are probably one 1 or 2 small bridges left that would need to be done.

This is why we can't have nice things

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So there are 10 of these. Lets say it costs $50k in maintenance a year per car. That's $500k in savings. And even new cars will still need maintenance. Net cost is peanuts in a $2 billion budget. It's what politicians and their minions do to distract you from the real problem. They also use this tactic to keep the nice things but justify tax and fee increases.

They are offering a package to a bunch of older workers. Average salary is $80k. But with taxes and bennies it costs $120k per employee. That's a 50% premium over salaries for each employee.

Keep the trolleys. Dump the ridiculous bennies.

Why doesn't Baker just

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Why doesn't Baker just replace the commuter rail with buses? Wouldn't that be cheaper than to keep maintaing the aging fleet of cars and locomotives? Oh, does a different demographic use the commuter rail than the Mattapan trolleys?

Why dont we

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Jack-up the month cost of a pass to say $182 to help pay for it, that's what i pay to travel from Roslindale on the commuter rail!

Poor baby

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The next time you are at the station, look over at the Square. All big yellow and white things going by? They are called buses, and if you got a pass to ride them and the subway, you could save yourself over $1,200 a year.

Of course, you'll have to commute with "those people."

The Mattapan Line is a part of the Red Line. The fare structure is a bit different from your fancy Purple Line.


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Agree to a point, but it should not cost $182 a month for a CR pass from Roslindale.

What should a Zone 1 pass cost?

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I've dealt with this troll before (not you, the anon) so I am a bit short with his almost racist screeds.

It should cost the same to get to Roslindale that it does to get to Melrose, Belmont, and Quincy on the commuter rail, since they are all the same distance from the start of the lines.

Not sure..

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..if I agree that it is racist that the anon wants a faster more convenient,direct mode into downtown Boston. I live along the Needham line in Roslindale and use both the bus an the CR. The CR is expensive (IMO) for where it is. The 35,36,37 all run along Belgrade to Washington st, sometimes one right behind the other. I think that this adds significantly to traffic all along that stretch and turns what should be a 12 minute ride from WR Parkway into,at the busier times,a 45 minute slog. Too many stops along Belgrade and Wash combined with a heavy traffic and stops lights make the CR very appealing to me except for the cost. Again, IMO, that route would be better served with an option that wasn't cost prohibitive for a lot of people on that route.

As for the cost. Orange line costs $2.25- Add $1.50-$2.00 to that fare and I think that is reasonable. I think the $5.75 is a little much to Rozzie Sq. $3.50 for 1 stop a little over a mile away is steep if you ask me.

I am not sure about the anon's previous comments,and how can we tell if it is the same anon, but I do not see this as not wanting to ride with "those people". I would rather see "those people" be able to afford what I would consider a better option.

Oh, he's trolling, alright

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You see you and I (and a bunch of other people) could have a reasoned discussion of the issue. I'd like to think my argument is better (the pricing structure is pretty much system wide and has no bearing on municipalities, along with a side argument that were they to drop Roslindale and West Roxbury to 1A, the trains would be PACKED before hitting the Square), but your argument has points.

But let's look at what he wrote-

Jack-up the month cost of a pass to say $182 to help pay for it

For a trolley line, that ends at a place where people have to transfer to the subway. Essentially what I do to avoid the $182 cost.

No, this guy has a certain thing against those who live on the other side of the Northeast Corridor, and I think I got him to slip up and admit that it has something to do with the "tone" of the areas in question. He's a bitter man.

I will defer ..

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...to you on the anon's posts,troll or otherwise.

It looks like,from a more recent post that just what we are talking about is being talked and questions asked by the City Council. Again, I don't think we should be paying a subway fare,but that $3+ bucks for a mile is a kick in the arse for me. I do use the CR and the bus and both serve a purpose. I would just like to see the CR be a little less expensive and then if the amounts of people using it (as we both think the ridership will jump significantly) then maybe the powers that be will look at expanding the service along that rail strip.

Would love to have a civilized debate and exchange ideas on this.

I take the CR because it

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I take the CR because it saves me time...
When I get out of work, CR is 35 minutes, Orange Line is 1 hour...
That includes walking to the station.

I like the 2 hours "extra", I get a week.

I live in Rozzie, and just

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I live in Rozzie, and just hop on the Needham line at Forest Hills, saves me $100/month

The Needham line isn't the

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The Needham line isn't the problem here. You're still in Boston, and there's a plausible argument for just extending the Orange Line. Roslindale and Mattapan have some demographic differences, but no point pitting the two against each other. Boston as a whole needs good transit. The issue with "the commuter rail" is in focusing too much attention on people way outside 128 where rail is less important.

And I mean, even then, commuter rail is still important, just sometimes overprioritized.

Not the best article to suggest expansion after reading

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I mean, they cannot maintain a line that has been in service since before World War II. Even though I am on record saying that expanding the Orange Line to VFW Parkway would be a great move, I wouldn't want them doing it while shutting the trolley down (or cancelling GLX.)

Well you could take the bus

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Well you could take the bus to forest hills and then the train but you probably like the cushy spacious seating and being able to read the paper and get something to eat and drink and let the ticket guy come to you and.. oh and aren't there bathrooms on the commuter rail too? I think that's really why you pay for the commuter rail - because otherwise you'd take the regular bus and train.
And for your info the Mattapan High Speed Trolley is one of the remaining lovely rides on the MBTA - why can San Francisco manage to pay for their system and have antique trolleys (some of them ours)? Sure we have snow but they have earth quakes - and seem to manage just fine. Our T is beyond fucked and the MBTA/state needs to fix it.

You have obviously never ridden the commuter rail

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Seats?! Cushy?!!! Refreshments??!!!! hahahahahahahahah!!!!! The Neehdam Line by the time it get to Roslindale is often standing room only in cars designed only for sitting. The cars are rolling scrap heaps. There are no refreshments of any kind whatsoever. The bathrooms? Let's not discuss it so close to breakfast. I have often thought a stiff belt might be in order after I get off.

Not to metion

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The average bus trip from the Square to The Hills during rush hour can take 20-30 min during the school season.

You have obviously never ridden the orange line

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Jimmy Carter was President when the trains on the line went into service. Yes, the oldest cars on the commuter rail are about that old, but the oldest bi-levels came into service while G.H.W. Bush was in office, and the newest cars were purchased by Deval Patrick.

As far as seating goes, unless things have changed from back when I took the commuter rail from Forest Hills (buying a zone 1 pass while living in Roslindale is not fiscally prudent) about 10 years ago, there was always seats available on the train getting in to South Station by 8:45, as along as you were willing to ask the person on the outside of the 3 seat row to move in (or sometimes ask the guy in the 2 seater to move his bag and/or move to the window.) Nice, cushy seats, and a quicker ride that bus/orange line.

Taking the commuter rail from Roslindale is not a necessity. It's a luxury.

If you have to get to

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If you have to get to Cambridge on the red line, the CR saves you 30-45 minutes. To Harvard Square, for instance, this turns what could be a 1.5-hour commute (bus in traffic, orange line, transfer at Downtown Crossing, red line) into a 45-60 minute one (CR, red line from South Station). I used to do this daily with a 4-year-old who had preschool near my Harvard Square office. It was well worth the extra money for the CR, especially on the way home when my kid was fried from the long day -- an additional 45 minutes on crammed trains and rush-hour traffic bus would have been pretty much the end for both of us.

Or you could save more money

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by taking the 51 bus to Cleveland Circle (15 minute ride), then transfer to the 86 (30 minute ride to Harvard Square)

To be clear- I do not begrudge anyone taking the commuter rail. Yes, I do have my issues with the griping about the costs, but whatever. Depending on child care costs, I might have done the same thing you did, since in uncertain days we were weighing going zone 1 to Hyde Park for daycare. I just don't get the bitterness.

Actually I DID used to go

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Actually I DID used to go that way. Problem is that the 51 bus schedule is erratic at best -- especially going home. We'd be sitting at Cleveland Circle waiting for nearly an hour sometimes, even though we'd get there when the schedule said the bus would leave. Nope. Not fun in weather. Plus you have to coordinate the 2 schedules. It's not like the 86 fits perfectly with the arrival/departure time of the 51 and vice versa. And, the 86 bus can take absolutely forever to get to Harvard. Way more than 30 minutes with traffic. Akin to the 66 from Brookline Village -- you can crawl to Harvard square faster than riding that bus. I got really good at entertaining a small child with nothing but a sticks and leaves and an empty Dunkin cup, though.

After I posted that

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I looked at the morning commute, which could be doable. But believe me, I've sat in the shelter at Reaervior to concur about the 51. Scenic ride, though.

Transit as tourist attraction

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San Francisco has a lot of experience with transit as a tourist attraction, and also lots of experience at maintaining obsolete equipment. One of the two cable car lines (the one that goes to Fisherman's Wharf) is primarily used by tourists. Tourist ridership on the other one (Financial District) and on the trolley line that runs PCCs is also significant.
And yes, there is the little matter of winter. Snow and ice make the maintenance of transit equipment more challenging and expensive; doubly so when you are maintaining antique equipment.

The Mattapan line is a poor candidate for a tourist attraction. It runs through parts of Boston that tourists rarely have any reason to visit. The Green Line is also a poor candidate because the parts of it that go through the areas of the city that tourists visit are underground, so running PCCs on it would not be a big draw. Underground systems in general are not a tourist draw except to the small community of transit geeks.

Finally, the Green Line doesn't run PCCs because they would significantly increase the labor cost of running the line. Each car needs somebody to collect fares and it would take three PCCs to match the capacity of two articulated LRVs, and thus a 50% increase. When the MBTA bought the Kinki cars (the older of the two types currently in use on the Green Line) they also evaluated shorter non-articulated trolleys, but chose the longer cars because of the labor factor. Evaluating the Boeing Bombs was before my time in Boston, but I gather there was strong pressure from the feds to Buy American so other options were not seriously considered.

Shirley is right

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I can assure you that San Francisco's historic streetcars, while lovely, are NOT for commuting. Even at non-peak hours, a mile's ride on the F down Market Street can be slower than walking. I would hate to see the historic streetcars disappear, but I am happy to have a green line-esque streetcar that I commute on every day. (My commute in SF is comparable in distance to taking the Green B from Washington Street in Brighton to Downtown Crossing in distance)


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A fair number of mattapan trolley riders are middle class white, and nonwhite, people (myself included), many of whom get on in cedar grove or one of the 4 Milton stops for a quick and efficient ride to and from Ashmont. Regardless of race, I assume most trolley riders would oppose this change as it seems to run quite well as it is, at least compared to the Ashmont line (if the red line can be used as a standard of operating public transit!) or the buses stuck in traffic around Ashmont.

How is maintaining

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How is maintaining mechanically simple trolleys more expensive than buses?

Cut some no show jobs and intentionally engineered overtime before screwing over the public for once.

The PCC cars have no new

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The PCC cars have no new parts being manufactured in any quantity. While there are other cities still running PCC trolleys they differ slightly between cities. Some parts need to be rebuilt on site at Mattapan or have to be built from raw materials at the MBTA blacksmith shop in Everett and trucked in. Any serious mechanical work would require they truck the car out to a shop out of state.


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Mattapan trolley uses 10 PCC era streetcars, which are all former green line trolleys.

Mattapan-Ashmont Fleet (10

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Mattapan-Ashmont Fleet (10 PCC cars):

Unit serial numbers 3087, 3230, 3234, 3238, 3254, 3260, 3262, 3263, 3265, 3268 (All cars rebuilt 1999-2005, and are painted orange, cars had air-conditioning equipment installed in 2008).

3234, 3238, and 3265 out of service, awaiting parts.

6 are needed at peak service times (rush hour service hours)

Those old cars have had a few

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Those old cars have had a few overhauls and rebuilds over the years.

Some years back, I was working for a consulting firm and briefly met Shirley DeLibero - then head of NJTransit, later head of Houston's transit agency. She had started out with the MBTA in the late 70s, working on streetcar overhauls (I think it was at the old Oak Square car barn (long before they ripped up the A line tracks)).

Now that I think of it... it was around that time (mid/late 90s) that NJ (and the Feds, I guess) invested in modern light rail. They modernized and extended the Newark City Subway. That was a short line - mix of a few subway stops downtown, one short streetcar/grade crossing segment, and a run on its own right-of-way alongside a park (in a filled canal bed, as a matter of fact). Features reminiscent of elements of the Ashmont/Mattapan line or maybe a bit of the Riverside line. They were running a small fleet of PCC cars - all purchased used from someplace like Minneapolis or St. Louis in the early 50s.

They brought in modern LRVs. I don't recall there being any bridges on that line, so weight wasn't a show-stopper. The new LRVs fit on the old right-of-way, though they had to make some adjustments for the tight turnaround loop in the subway section (the LRVs being longer than the PCCs). They extended the line, adding three light rail stops into a neighborhood that had only had buses for decades. They built a car barn and maintenance shop at the new end of the line. They did the power/line upgrades before bringing in the new cars - temporarily removing the trolley poles and installing pantographs on the PCCs.

It's a shame that isn't likely to happen here. I do hope that they continue to support the Ashmont/Mattapan line as currently configured.

The Newark City Subway does

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The Newark City Subway does have one bridge, over the Morris & Essex Line tracks, and that bridge did have to be completely rebuilt, though I think that was because it was old and falling apart, and not specifically due to the weight of the new cars. Some of the old PCCs are still running, incidentally: SF Muni bought some of them for their fleet of historic cars that they run on the F Market line.

Well they'd have to pave the

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Well they'd have to pave the tracks, retrofit the elevated Ashmont Loop to handle buses, and retrofit the storage yard to handle bus storage/maintenance. How could that possibly end up SAVING the T money?

I'm still waiting for all the waste that the Governor is planning to cut. So far, he's delayed the GLX and proposed fare hikes in excess of the legislation intended to limit fare hikes. Now, he's going to replace our beloved historic trolley line with buses. So far, it sure seems like a lot of the same old cut service and raise fares tactic that every other Republican Governor has tried in the past. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but my patience is running very thin...

Pave The Tracks? Retrofit a 10 Year Old Loop?

Retrofit Storage? Save Money? Surely you jest.

The T loves, loves, loves, loves construction and the federal dollars and construction jobs that come with it. Maintenance is not sexy and does not make the lobbying wheels go round.

You get Republican donor contractors using federal dollars to remake a line that has been essentially rebuilt over the past 20 years, including mind you, the trolleys.

This smacks of the anecdote in The Rascal King when a principal ran out of his school to see his roof being re-roofed for the third time in as many years. He was told to clam up, Mayor's (Curley's) orders.

Mattapan, Dorchester, and Milton riders get crappier service but who cares, they didn't, and are not going to vote for Charlie anyway.

Just like Marty doesn't give a care about JP and Beacon Hill because they voted against him.

Get used to the term "Guided Busway" people and the loss of the charm of the Mattapan line. I am sorry I voted for Charlie every day.

Republican contractors? Last

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Republican contractors? Last time I checked the union dominated contractors here donated and voted solidly for the DNC.

So a train which need to be replace

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may that be with newer trains or buses, both of which would require engineering companies, lobbying firms and a project management firm. But some how in your mind this is a Koch Bro/Republican money grab if they go with buses.....

Dude lay of the paint!

And yet they cancelled the

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And yet they cancelled the biggest construction project they've had in years up in Somerville

Once money is spent to put

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Once money is spent to put regular buses on the line, then the maintenance costs for the line become the same as any other buses. The buses on this line are interchangeable with any of the other hundreds of buses the MBTA runs all around the city. Rather than how it is now, where there are excessive maintenance costs, including making custom parts, in order to keep this tiny set of ancient trainsets running.

If you were wasting $1,000/year keeping an old beater running, wouldn't you finally bite the bullet and go out and buy a new car, even if it cost $10-15,000 at once?

And the same objective can be attained

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by upgrading the line so it can use the same LRVs being provided on the Green Line.

This proposal is nothing more than another attempt by MBTA management to do away with the "evil" light rail.

The red line

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What about extending the red line to Mattapan? I don't believe the community will accept buses they stopped the X28 Bus project and they will fight this proposal.

What about the intangible benefits?

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I loved riding the heritage streetcars in cities like Dallas and San Francisco. It would be a shame to lose them in Boston.

Well regular people take them

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Well regular people take them every day - and unlike busses they aren't stuck in traffic. Fight this tooth and nail especially since there is now a bike/ nature / walking path from Mattapan that follows the tracks through cedar grove cemetery.

And the Neponset River

And the Neponset River Greenway will be expanding this spring, filling in the missing link between Mattapan Square and Central Ave in Milton. When that's done, the Greenway will stretch from the Neponset Valley Parkway in Readville, all the way to Squantum Point Park on the harbor in Quincy. You could connect to the Blue Hills trail system on the upstream end or the path at Wollaston Beach on the downstream end.

Pretty impressive!


Maybe not to go to Mattapan

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Maybe not to go to Mattapan but I have taken it to River Street to get to the walk way. I think people do that. It's worthwhile. I just wish the northerly parts of the walkway and Pope John Paul Park had T access as good as the southern half of it does.

Due to their route in San

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Due to their route in San Francisco they're as much a tourist attraction as they are a commuting option for locals. I'd be surprised if any tourists in Boston knew where Mattapan was or that it had a small heritage streetcar line.

You would be surprised

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Check out the forums on railroad.net. There are ALWAYS railfan tourists coming to Boston, and just about all of them know about the Mattapan Line. It's actually a must-ride in the city.

Whenever I've ridden the

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Whenever I've ridden the Mattapan Line, I've been the only person who wasn't obviously a bored local commuter.

They are off the beaten path a bit

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But they still deserve to be saved. Maybe it's mostly railfans who make the trip to Ashmont just to ride the trains. But even if it's mostly locals, it's nice to have historic equipment.

Must be nice

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On top of their bloated pensions.

It was done in 1992

I went to the mass retirement party the T through in 1992 for all those who took the buyouts then. I have never seen so many people over the age of 50 dancing to Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes and the O'Jays.

The culling of the herd then did not do wonders for the system.

My Dad was one of the early

My Dad was one of the early retirees in 1992 buyout. He was miserable though. He started on the Green Line then went to busing in Quincy Center, where people would cross the street when they saw him driving. He softened up when he retired.

My Dad was one of the early

My Dad was one of the early retirees in 1992 buyout. He was miserable though. He started on the Green Line then went to busing in Quincy Center, where people would cross the street when they saw him driving. He softened up when he retired.

Green Line trolleys, or

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Green Line trolleys, or streetcars, ran for a century on rails down S. Huntington Avenue and Centre and South streets between Heath Street and Forest Hills. In 1985, the MBTA “temporarily” suspended the service at Heath Street for maintenance reasons. The Route 39 bus acted as replacement service.

A previous lawsuit required trolley restoration by 1997 as an environmental mitigation for increased car pollution from the Big Dig. Planning happened fitfully in the 1990s and early 2000s as the deadline was missed.

- See more at: http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/2011/08/26/trolley-comeback-killed-by-cou...

In other Green Line trolley news today,
Green Line extension project gets new leader


This line works, people ride

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This line works, people ride it, people love it. It is one of the nicest parts of living in Lower mills and Mattapan. The DCR wants the land for the Neponset Greenway, they should maintain what they have already built. Buses break down and need to be replaced every couple of years too, what a bunch of crap.
Find a real problem to work on Govenor Baker. The t is shoddy enough already. Only a Philistine, anti art Republican would go for this crap. I have a feeling Boston and The State is being contracted out to friends' companies.


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the only major city in america that has been consistently SHRINKING it's rail system over the last 30-40 years. It makes my head spin!!

Keep the trolleys, add more

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Those trolleys have lasted for 70 years. The buses are falling apart after 10 years. Riding a trolley is a better user experience even when it's riding down the middle of the street like they used to in JP. Keep the trolleys in Mattapan and build them everywhere else.

Not like they build transit now, with crazy infrastructure like Courthouse Station...that must be the world's most expensive bus stop. Just tracks and wires and a bus with metal wheels and a pole on top. Those seem to last forever, if we let them.

If Courthouse Station is the world's most expensive bus stop,

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then World Trade Center is the second most expensive.

It's actually pretty disgusting these monstrosities serve as bus stops, and not as light rail stations, since the Silver Line (at least the SL1) is woefully overcrowded most times. For a bus that serves the airport, it has a terrible design to accommodate luggage.

The Silver Line needs to be light rail from Silver Line Way to South Station, with the grade crossing at D Street eliminated and placed underground as it should have been from the start. The SL1 to the airport should either begin on Summer Street outside South Station, or at Silver Line Way. It took 45 minutes to get from South Station to Logan in December, and we left people behind at each stop.

Agree on the idea that the

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Agree on the idea that the Silver Line between South Station and Silver Line Way should be converted to light rail. Seattle has a tunnel in where both the light rail cars and buses share the same right of way so it's not impossible for SL1 to stay as a bus and maybe SL2 be converted to light rail.

Massachusetts considers replacing MBTA with State Agency

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Look, the right way to do this is to reverse the "forward funding" bullshit of 2000. Put the MBTA back on the state's tab. Start increasing its budget with an eye towards good maintenance let alone system expansion in required as well as needed areas and make this a reason for why the gas tax is increased (NOW IS THE TIME TO DO THAT WHILE GAS PRICES ARE LOW).

Giving the MBTA an independent budget short-sightedly projected on infinite sales tax growth while simultaneously lumping all the transit-related state debt onto its books at the same time was a well-intentioned, but irrational, mistake. UNDO IT. It was an abrogation of duty. Instead of the state taking charge of the state-based quasi-public agency and nailing down its budget better by not allowing it to overrun costs freely, the state chose to let it do whatever it pleased but put it in a kiddie pool and told it to sink or sink. A leader would have done something similar to Charlie's move to oversee the agency board with a financial control board...but doing that *now* is pointless because you're still just financially in control of the kiddie pool and pretending like you're going to improve the service by making it live under that artificially and stupidly small restriction.

Make the hard decisions, Charlie. Take the MBTA back into the general budget. Take the debt back into the state's concerns and use the state's fiscal tools available to refinance and pay it off. Put the MBTA under MassDOT and tell MassDOT its marching orders to make the MBTA a priority over any non-critical road/bridge projects.


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This x100000

The only way to 'fix' the MBTA is to replace the entire agency with something else. Either a new division under MassDOT that is the T itself, or a combination of all the regional transit orgs in the state as one big agency. The state would save a ton of money on administrative costs, riders would get the benefit of being able to use their Charlie Cards anywhere in the state, debt would get reign in, and better funding would happen because any funding increase would increase it for all agencies under this umbrella, not the T. (this would make it harder for W Mass to cut transit funding since it would be cutting theirs in the process also)

None of this bandaid crap that won't amount to a hill of beans when it's all said it done. Don't make the agency smaller than it already is, you're just hurting it in the long run.

Expanding his attacks on state government

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When Governor Kock came in, he imposed a hiring freeze on state agencies, but it was till possible to hire if approval was received. Now those approved jobs are being held back due to this latest bullshit fake emergency, even though most of those hires are required hires under federal grant and contract agreements.

He's trying to fuck up everything. MA will lose that federal money an even have to pay it back, but he doesn't give a shit. These jobs are also for people to do important things to keep us healthy and safe. He's working to destroy our economy.

I agree with everything you

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I agree with everything you said, but just want to point out that you already can use your CharlieCard on any public transit in the state.*

* I'm sure there are some exceptions, but it's accepted at virtually all of the RTAs, at least.


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I didnt know you could. But I guess you can :-)