MBTA Struggles To Provide Transportation, Promote Social Distancing After Cutting Back

BOSTON (CBS) — The MBTA is facing a dilemma amid the coronavirus pandemic[1]: how to get people to essential jobs and appointments without breaking the rules of social distancing. “It’s a little nerve-racking,” said passenger Nekia Clark. “Anyone could have it and not even know they have it.” Some frustrated T riders snapped phone pictures showing commuters packed into trains Tuesday morning.

The MBTA scaled back its schedule[2] since ridership dropped with coronavirus concerns. The result had more people jammed on fewer trains on the Red and Blue Lines during the morning rush hour. “When people were getting off of the train, it was basically like hundreds of people had to be in a small area,” said Jeremy Banchiere. “We could be potentially spreading infection now all the way up these Commuter Rail lines.”

Certain lines of the T were busy after the MBTA cut back on the number of trains amid the coronavirus outbreak (Photo Courtesy: Mauricio Ramirez) An MBTA bus driver, who wanted to stay anonymous to protect her job, agreed. “One person can infect the whole bus,” she said. She showed WBZ a mini hand sanitizer and disposable gloves her supervisors gave her. “It’s a joke,” she said.

She said the buses are not properly disinfected, and thinks the T should do more to protect drivers and the public. “They’re right on top of each other. It needs to be shut down, cleaned, whatever.

I don’t think they understand the magnitude of a pandemic,” she said. MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said the buses are cleaned nightly. He also said there are plans to have an extra train staged at the Wonderland Station on the Blue Line, in order to ease crowding.

“The MBTA will continue to assess ridership needs with a particular focus on workforce access for hospitals, as well as food distribution locations operated by the City of Boston,” said an MBTA statement. “As part of that ongoing assessment, the T will continue monitoring customer volumes and make service adjustments accordingly; this means if the T experiences an increase in ridership, capacity will be added as necessary.”

On Tuesday night, the MBTA announced it will be adding Blue Line service, additional Green Line capacity on the E Branch, and additional service on certain key bus routes to reflect demand at specific times of day.

References

  1. ^ coronavirus pandemic (boston.cbslocal.com)
  2. ^ MBTA scaled back its schedule (boston.cbslocal.com)

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