The T's started soliciting bids from companies willing to bolster WiFi service on the Purple Line and ferries in exchange for advertising opportunities, starting with painting over the AT&T logos now on the sides of commuter-rail trains (unless, of course, AT&T bids and wins). According to a T press release:
No, not because Massport would want to buy some 40-story ferryboats if it agrees to take over ferry service from the MBTA but because the FAA is concerned the authority might use some of its airport revenue to subsidize commuter boats, Jon Chesto reports. T officials have floated the idea of handing the ferries over to Massport as a way to keep them running as the T runs out of money.
Also see: Riders of the Hull ferry talk about the proposed end of their commute:
The Aurora, which normally makes the run between Hingham and Rowes Wharf, had to make an emergency stop at Spectacle Island when its engine caught fire around 11 a.m., according to reports from the Coast Guard and the Boston Fire Department.
No passengers were aboard at the time and the ship's crew put out the fire with an on-board CO2 fire-extinguishing system, the Coast Guard reports. Both a Coast Guard ship and the Fire Department's marine unit responded, along with a Boston fire engine and ladder company.
The ferry will remain at Spectacle Island until repairs can be made, the Coast Guard says.
Wicked Winthrop reports the town's gotten a $950,000 federal stimulus grant to start ferry service to and from Rowe's Wharf.
Looks like the extra revenue from the increase in the sales tax won't cut it for T officials, who have scheduled hearings on possible fare hikes of nearly 20%. Basic CharlieCard fares would go from $1.70 to $2.00, while bus fares would rise from $1.25 to $1.50. Commuter-rail riders would also see increases.
Without the increases, the T says it will have to cut service, including a reduction in bus service of 50% after 8 p.m. and on weekends, elimination of all weekend Mattapan line service, elimination of several "redundant" Green Line stops and the entire E line past Brigham Circle, reducing all midday and post-8 p.m. subway service by 50% and cancellation of all ferry service. Also: the last commuter rail trains out of Boston would leave by 7 p.m. and there would be no weekend service at all on commuter lines.
The first "workshop" on the T budget is Aug. 10 at 4 p.m. at the State House, followed by meetings on Aug. 11 in Revere, Aug. 12 in Braintree, and Aug. 13 in Somerville. The last three sessions all start at 5:30 p.m., which, of course, gives many working people little time to get to them.
More details from the MBTA (PDF document).
The T announced today its ban on employee cellphone use - and possession - has been extended to commuter-rail, ferry and Ride vehicles, as well as operators of private buses under contract to the T.
Jeff Weeks was on the ferry from Salem as it raced to Boston before a storm.
Copyright Jeff Weeks.
The MBTA has begun experimenting with a system that lets commuter-rail and ferry riders pay for parking by cell phone instead by rolling up all those dollar bills to stuff into those tiny slots at parking lots.
The new system, at parking lots along the Kingston line and at the Quincy and Hingham commuter-boat terminals, lets riders set up accounts and then dial a toll-free number to have the day's parking fee charged to their credit cards:
Upon creating a free pay by phone account, customers call the toll free number from their mobile phone, key in the location and parking numbers, and the parking fee is charged to their credit/debit card.
Barnz reports MBTA police conducted a sweep through the Hingham ferry parking lot yesterday - and had a tow company tow every single car with expired inspection stickers and registrations:
... As I do everyday on my way home I got off the commuter boat at Hingham today, walked to the parking lot, up the aisle I thought I'd left my car in... and then down another aisle... then up the previous for good measure... after 30min of this and some concern for my mental wellbeing I walked to the MBTA office and asked a question I never thought I'd have to ask. "Hello... have... uhm... any cars been towed or anything from the lot today?" ...
CoastGuardNews takes a camera about the ferry Massachusetts after its crash with the Laura in Boston Harbor this morning: