New bus service between South Boston and downtown could start by April, power-plant developers say

Three possible new bus routes from City Point to downtown.

Three possible routes. See it larger.

The companies planning to turn the old L Street power plant into a large mixed-use development say they are looking at three possible routes for a new bus line to get South Boston residents to and from downtown - including a possible express bus down Summer Street - and that they are hoping they can get it running in the first quarter of next year.

In a presentation filed with the BPDA this week (4.7M PDF), Hilco Redevelopment Partners and Redgate Capital Partners said they would pick up the costs of the service - although they added they are working with the T to enable CharlieCards on whichever route is chosen.

The developers are making the commitment to the new transit option now, even though they say it would likely take them 10 to 15 years to fully build out their L Street Station project of 1,344 apartments and condos, a 155-room hotel and retail and office space. The project is still going through the BPDA approval process.

In their presentation, they note that the 7 bus, which serves the area, is already packed to the gills during rush hour. They say they've already been "developing and testing ideas for better bus service," and that, as a private concern, they have more flexibility to just drop a new bus line down than the T.

One of the proposed lines would be an express bus from City Point to downtown via Summer Street, another would provide more stops on a longer route via West 1s and A streets and a third would run along D Street.

The developers say that in addition to bus service, they are planning a number of other steps to reduce the traffic impacts of their project, including nearly bike-rack space for nearly 1,800 bikes, lockers and showers for bike riders, BlueBikes stations, space for car-sharing services such as Zipcar, preferential parking for carpool/vanpool and electric vehicles, curbside space for taxis and ride-hail services and a full-time transportation coordinator. They have also committed to extensive work to redo sidewalks around the site.

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Comments

well

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if they are going to spring for some buses then the least the city can do is add bus lanes so the buses work better

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Voting is closed. 43

One Wonders...

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If the bus is just going to be for the residents of the project, or anyone who hops on.

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Voting is closed. 11

They’ve said anyone

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In the last two public meetings they’ve said the buses will be available to anyone and not limited to residents of the site.

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Voting is closed. 24

I would guess

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Free for residents, and at a cost for non-residents.

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I think the reason they're doing this

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Apart from trying to win community support, is that the 7 bus (1) takes a circuitous route from City Point to Summer Street and (2) is already full at rush hour once it reaches First and Summer. So if they run their own bus service with the first couple of stops located at or next to their development, they guarantee there will be seats available for residents.

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Voting is closed. 13

Why "A, B or C"?

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Why "A, B or C"?

Why not all three? With all the development around there, it's needed.

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Voting is closed. 14

That route is pretty much

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That route is pretty much Silver Line 3 which was cancelled (and then that number re-used elsewhere)

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Voting is closed. 15

The old SL3

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ran through the South Boston Transitway (the tunnel) before joining Summer Street at the entrance to Marine Industrial Park -- long before the Seaport and Design Center were as developed as much as today. That route also ended at South Station, which is not quite as useful as going all the way into the Financial District, from Southie when the 7 was already serving that route.

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Voting is closed. 11

The developers are getting desperate

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Going as far as privatizing public transportation to win over the opposition to this development. Once this is built this private bus service will be obsolete with the additional people who live, work and vist this site, not to mdntion the additional car traffic.

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Voting is closed. 12

Love Option A

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I love option A. It would go right by my place and there have been a ton of condo developments along 1st St, 2nd St etc on the West Side and the T just keeps everything status quo and overcrowded.

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Voting is closed. 9

Nope

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Wrong, incorrect, try again.

Reopen Dorchester Ave at the postal annex for buses only.

All other plans are shit!

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Voting is closed. 13

ok but

what route to take from this development to Dot Ave? is the question

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Voting is closed. 7

um

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Great more buses on Seaport streets. Just what we need...

We already are inundated with private shuttles because people are too good to ride the T.

Imagine if we took all the money that these companies were spending on private shuttle service and gave the money to the T to add service?

Right but we can't have that because god for bid MuffyBigPhramaExec has to ride the big old smelly city bus with common people.

Before you say "but the T isn't reliable". See comment above about giving the T more money, maybe they will become more reliable. But you don't know unless you try. But we won't because its better to have city streets clogged up with 348023802 shuttles than one city bus.

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Voting is closed. 17

what seaport are you talking about?

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We already are inundated with private shuttles because people are too good to ride the T.

No, the silver line is a disaster, and private companies cannot attract employees when the transit is such a mess.

Imagine if we took all the money that these companies were spending on private shuttle service and gave the money to the T to add service?

Then they would mismanage it, just like the current Silver line, and 75% of it would go to pensions and debt service.

Have you ever been at the silver line platform at South station at 8am? Have you seen the preposterous mismanagement of how the buses run?

Half the time buses roll into the platform with no indication of what bus it is, resulting in a huge crowd scrambling to get to the right bus, and there have been countless times when it just isn't even close. This is supposed to be an Airport SL1 :https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Di9nxdgU4AANP3R.jpg On top of that, there is usually no one in sight to actually organize or manage anything.

These kinds of easy to fix mistakes are countless and repeated daily. It demonstrates a base level incompetence and a complete apathy to do things properly.

They run multiple buses for the same destination right after each other, so they inevitably end up running out a half full or almost completely empty bus, even though the platform is still full of people.

Hire someone with half a brain to manage these things and it would easily improve, but until then if I were a private company trying to attract employees there is no way in hell I wouldn't just spring for a shuttle instead of hoping and praying against all evidence that the MBTA suddenly becomes competent, organized, and managed properly.

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Voting is closed. 17

Ah, The Tarnished Line...

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Here's an idea...

Have all weekday rush hour Silver Line Waterfront work assignments be built as Run-As-Directed pieces. Say, four hours "straight-time" during the AM and four hours during the PM. Each operator reports to the garage, snags their dual-mode and runs light to Silver Line Way. Upon arrival there they sign-up "SOUTH STA" and proceed on an inbound trip. As they are off-loading folks at South Station, they ask the Inspector via radio which destination to display for their outbound trip. The Inspector, referencing a master timetable, will note which route is due for the next outbound trip and advise accordingly. The operator loops, snags the passengers and runs a round trip on that given route. Upon their return, repeat the process. When they are about due to return to the garage, sign-up "SILVER LINE WAY" for their last outbound trip; then pull-back from there.

PROS:

Equipment + manpower are no longer incestuously cannibalized out of desperation. The official and public timetables can be more easily operated consistently during the hours of greatest passenger demand; for the only requirement is now simply having an empty bus + someone to drive it on hand at South Station. Given there are 32 dual-mode articulated buses in the fleet and an ideal spare-ratio of ~10% {i.e. to allow for shop repairs, vehicle inspections, operator instruction, etc.} you have a maximum of 28 buses available for a given rush hour. That's an oodles-worth! Split betwixt four routes, each Silver Line branch and the short-turn has seven vehicles available for service. One need not be the Bill Belichick of MBTA Bus Inspectors to manage the service well, given such resources.

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Voting is closed. 11

That would require common sense

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Which seems to be lacking these days when it comes to the Silver Line. Like others, it is mind-boggling the amount of outbound buses that enter (and some leave) South Station with "Out of Service" and "South Station" still on their headsigns. Change them in the loop, please, if you are not running "on call" when entering the station. Most of the time the inspector is sitting in the booth and doesn't seem to realize there are 200 people waiting to see where the bus is going.

I seem to remember that they painted two of the "trackless trolley" buses and brought them over from Cambridge for use on the Silver Line. These were meant to be used on the SLW route and were parked at Courthouse Station for a few weeks. I never saw them in revenue service. Whatever happened to those?

I am very interested in seeing the daily boarding figures when the next Blue Book comes out. The last published counts were winter of 2014, and I would imagine passenger traffic (at the Seaport stations) has increased at least three times the amount of 2014. Somehow I guess the amount of service has not increased three times in the same period.

The most important fixes, however, are the ones we could do today. That is, decrease the wait time at the D Street traffic light (that grade crossing should not be there in the first place -- keep it underground); and allow the use of the Silver Line Way on-ramp to the eastbound Ted. The SL1 and SL3 are constantly plagued by 25-minute delays getting through the Ted during peak periods. Every minute we can shave off the trip is precious.

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Voting is closed. 10