Photo: Commuter rail service will see cuts in 2021
With the COVID-19 pandemic essentially keeping workers at home and away from crowded public transportation, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority announced it will be making significant reductions to the level of service in the next year.
For Belmont residents, the reduction will be felt by those who travel on the commuter rail out of Waverley and Belmont stations, while those who take buses are being spared at this time.
There will be a virtual meeting on service cuts for the region Belmont is in on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.
“In order to protect essential service for those who depend upon it, we need to reduce service where there are fewer riders,” said the MBTA in a press release on Monday, Nov. 9.
The cut in service will impact the Fitchburg line of the MBTA’s commuter rail service. Currently, the commuter rail trains are running at 10 percent of pre-COVID-19 ridership levels, according to the T.
Starting sometime near May 1, 2021, the commuter rail will:
- Suspend weekend service.
- Halt service after 9 p.m.
- Reduce the number of trains during the weekday peak by more than 10 percent.
While Belmont two stations have some of the smallest ridership numbers, they were not on the list of six stations that will be closed due to passenger reductions.
While bus ridership has seen a reduction of 40 percent since March, the MBTA will continue all bus lines running in Belmont with only the 554 (from Newton Center to Waverley) will be “shortened.”
All other routes that travel throught Belmont – 67, 73, 74, 75, 78, – could see possible reduction of service levels if ridership continues “below baseline.”
Starting in summer 2021, the T is planning systemwide changes to buses:
- Stop all service after midnight althought early service will continue on “essential” bus routes.
- Reduce frequency on essential routes by system-wide average of 5 percent – will vary by route, high ridership will not be changed.
- Reduce frequency on non-essential routes system-wide by 20 percent; will vary by route based on ridership.
For Belmontians who use the Alewife and Harvard Square subway stations, the subway system will see all service ending at midnight and a reduction of overall service by 20 percent.