MassDOT and the MBTA today withdrew impending changes to the schedules of North Station commuter-rail line, saying they will come up with new proposed schedules next month to go into effect this spring - after public comment.
In December, the MBTA will release in draft form proposed new schedules for both North Side and South Side services, along with specific plans for extensive public engagement. Following the period of public engagement, MassDOT and the MBTA will make changes based on the feedback received and then implement the new schedules for the entire Commuter Rail system in spring 2016.
State officials insist the changes will help "minimize cascading failures and ensure that on-time service can be delivered both safely and consistently." But in a statement, state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack acknowledged:
The MBTA needs to do more than provide reliable Commuter Rail service to our customers - it needs to listen to those customers and understand their needs and concerns and incorporate them into service planning. We understand that even small challenges in long-standing schedules impact the daily lives of our riders and we need to hear and incorporate their feedback before finalizing schedule changes.