T Restores Early-Morning Commuter Rail Trips For Health Care Workers

The Blue Hill Avenue Fairmount Line stop, pictured in spring 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.
The Blue Hill Avenue Fairmount Line stop, pictured in spring 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.

Responding to issues raised in a StreetsblogMASS report last week, the MBTA has announced that it will bring back early-morning commuter rail trains that will allow health care workers to get to work for their 7 a.m. shift change, even as the rest of the transit system continues to run on a reduced schedule.

Last week, the T reduced subway, bus, and commuter rail services in response to declining ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those changes eliminated early-morning train trips that hospital workers had relied on to get to work in time for a 7 a.m. shift change.

For most of last week, the earliest commuter rail train on on the Newburyport line, for instance, arrived at North Station at 7:31 a.m., and the earliest train on the Fitchburg line wasn’t scheduled to arrive at North Station until 8:01 a.m.

Steve Poftak, general manager of the MBTA, announced the schedule adjustments while teleconferencing into Monday’s regularly scheduled Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting.

The T has adjusted its early-morning commuter rail schedules to help more health care workers get to work in time for their 7 a.m. shifts. Courtesy of the MBTA.
The T has adjusted its early-morning commuter rail schedules to help more health care workers get to work in time for their 7 a.m. shifts. Courtesy of the MBTA.

“The intent is to provide service into Boston on the commuter rail that allows health care employees to get into the city in time for a 7 a.m. shift change,” said Poftak. “The (previous) schedule was designed as a one or two day stopgap, but given how we may be running in this mode for a significant period of time, we though it was important to adjust the sched so that we can serve these important customers who are providing an essential service to our communities.”

Stephanie Pollack, Secretary of MassDOT, thanked Poftak for the schedule adjustments. “I think the probably the biggest request we’ve gotten is trains arriving in time to get health care workers to their 7 a.m. shifts, so that will be greatly appreciated by some of our most important riders.”

The new schedule will take effect on Wednesday, March 25.

 

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