• John O’Rourke

    Editor, BU Today

    John O'Rourke

    John O’Rourke began his career as a reporter at The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. He has worked as a producer at World Monitor, a coproduction of the Christian Science Monitor and the Discovery Channel, and NBC News, where he was a producer for several shows, including Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie CouricNBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. John has won many awards, including four Emmys, a George Foster Peabody Award, and five Edward R. Murrow Awards. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 51 comments on T May Eliminate Two Green Line B Stops

  1. This has been in my top 5 gripes about the B line since I got to BU in 2011. It makes absolutely no sense that there should be four stops over the course of a half mile. Nowhere else on the B line (or any other line, as far as I know) does that happen, probably because it’s incredibly stupid and wastes a tremendous amount of time. To the people complaining about having to walk “a little farther,” it will take you an extra 3 minutes at most, and sure, it’ll suck in the winter, but cold builds character.

    The only question I have is how could this be just “in the works” for four years?! If we’re only at the “let’s meet and talk about it” stage, what has been happening in all of that time?

    1. The rest of the B line used to be like that, too. They eliminated a bunch of stops between Packard Corner and Boston College about 15 years ago, you can see where they used to be on the maps and in many cases you can still see the old unused platform where passengers used to wait.

      Why didn’t they also eliminate stops between Packard Corner and Kenmore? I would guess because the University lobbied against it.

    2. Griggs St, Allston St and Warren St are all basically a block or two apart. Allston and Griggs could be removed and replaced with one stop between to justify the distance. Warren St is kind of needed as it serves as the last stop before the B line takes a long stretch up the hill towards Brighton and BC.

      1. Not only that, you have no idea how hard it was for BU to get the sidewalks widened. It made a huge difference in creating the campus feel at BU. Even though this meant that comm ave was under construction throughout my entire time at BU, the result for the current classes is beautiful. I really hope they don’t transform that into street again, that would be a pity.

        1. They are not talking about the sidewalks and other improvements that were done to BU’s East campus a few years back. All this work is being proposed on the BU West (and beyond) section of Commonwealth Ave.

  2. The rate limiting process of B-line movement is the time it takes to load and unload passengers. Consolidating stops will only serve to make using the T even less convenient. The same passengers that wait to load at the existing four stops would still get on at the remaining two stops. Therefore, if consolidating the stops actually significantly speeds up travel time, it would only be because of reduced ridership.

    In fact, the MBTA has data on this experiment. They temporarily consolidated stops a couple years ago, and if I recall correctly, the improvements were not evident. It would be interesting to see the actual results of that study, including its effect on ridership.

    If the goal is really to reduce travel time, the MBTA could further reduce travel time by eliminating all stops between Boston College and Kenmore.

    Alternatively, of course, the MBTA might consider introducing more frequent train service. This would reduce the wait time for passengers at all stops, and thus reduce the time it would take to load the smaller number of waiting passengers. Then all trains would move faster.

    1. The T eliminated half the stops between Packard Corner and Boston College and the result is that travel times have improved significantly. This is just the continuation of a program that’s already proven successful.

      If you really know as much about transit as you’re claiming, you would know that the way to speed up passenger boarding isn’t to have more stops, but to get rid of the antiquated fare collection model of having a farebox at the front of the train that everybody has to use which means everybody has to board using the single front door instead of using ALL the doors. We’re NOT the only city in the world that uses a light rail system, but I think we’re the only one left that’s using this 100-year-old fare collection model. In most cities with these light rail systems, people pay their fare on a machine at the train stop before they even get on, and fare collection is enforced by random validation checks that are backed up with heavy fines for fare evaders. But here, enforcement is almost non-existent and the fines are a joke ($50? It costs more to buy a monthly pass so you might as well just ride for free and take your chances) and there’s no real punishment for not paying the fine except that you can’t renew your driver’s license, and many riders don’t even have one so they don’t care. So the only way to make sure everybody pays is to force everybody to use that one door at the front, and that’s what slows down the boarding and unboarding of the train.

      1. While I agree the main problem is the antiquated fare collection method, both of you are right. Except in summer’s low traffic, just reducing the number of stops won’t do enough good – especially during peak travel, as it’s too cumbersome to get people on/off, and in theory you will have the same # of people. They may gain a little time, but not much. Better would be to both remove the stops and add readers at each door, with people scanning in and out as they do in several countries in Europe. Or some other method that allows all doors (such as the heavy fine method). The problem with heavy policing is cost of staff. You guys both of valid points…

        1. I was here BEFORE they did fare collections in front of BU. The Green line moved much faster.

          As for collecti0on boxes, in Rome (for example) people board and exit at ALL doors and they add extra doors to their buses. It is a PLEASURE to get on and off and then stamp your ticket, carry your pass, whatever.

          When it is packed tight, people standing near the fare stampers regularly pass tickets back and forth to register their fares.

          When one doesn’t pay, there are lots of words and stares, and a reminder of the fines if an inspector boards the bus.

      2. POP (Proof Of Payment) systems are indeed the single most effective means of limiting dwell time at stops and even improving passenger movement flow within the cars (board from any door). New Jersey’s River Line has employed this system since its inception and fare recovery has always been satisfactory. Only financial burden is the cost of enforcement for the proof of payment system.

    2. You are both correct and incorrect. That is basically what limits speeds in the Eastern part of BU, and why the MBTA has no interest in consolidating those stops. You would not save any noticeable amount of time even though the current stops are far closer together than is considered good design.

      However, the stops being consolidated are MUCH lower ridership, and it means the stop itself is a much more significant point of delay. That’s why these stops are being targeted, consolidating them should actually reduce delay.

      As for more frequent train service, there are capacity issues at every part of the system that have to be resolved for that, from the electrical capacity to run more trains, to capacity in the tunnels to run them, to having more cars to run in the first place. It’s slowly coming, but that costs hundreds of millions/billions and will be many years.

    3. You’re right to think about what is rate limiting. IMO, tho, the limiting step is the excruciating waits at the traffic lights. Without a traffic light override, nothing will make much difference. Loading/unloading is second. It’s made worse by the crazy front door only policy, but most drivers seem to have enough sense to not enforce it at the main BU stops.

  3. Hey Alejandra Flores, stop being lazy and just walk. Don’t like New England winter? Then don’t come to school in Boston, we certainly have no shortage of entitled college kids. The T is funded by MA taxpayer dollars, it’s responsibility is not to be a shuttle for students (most of whom aren’t from this state) on a campus that doesn’t pay property tax (but still gobbles up excessive amounts of useable land).

      1. Property Taxes? The average Bostonian pays rent and does not own property. I’m also pretty sure there would be no B Line if it wasn’t for BU and BC. You can assume the line is specifically meant for college students then who pay sales tax, income tax, and MBTA fares that help pay for the light rail. Any other thoughtless statements out there?

    1. Hey taxpayer, maybe take it easy on a freshman who has never experienced Boston in the winter and still finding her bearings. I’m sure if you had to walk everywhere in inclement weather instead of driving a car you’d be hesitant about the possibility of less stops too.

    2. While universities do not pay “taxes” persay, in their wisdom/fairness/good political sense, they do contribute PILOT payments, or “payments in lieu of taxes” to the city.

      Also, from the perspective of a non “entitled college student” and native to New England – I wonder where it is written that anyone has to like, enjoy, or embrace these temperatures. “T rider for 20 years & BU alum” stated things nicely below and I appreciate that perspective.

      People would adapt, business would continue as usual, etc. but I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for now wanting to elongate their wintry walk.

    3. Boston would be nothing with it’s “entitled college kids” to drive the economy upon graduation, and the T itself would have likely been scrapped decades ago. Don’t discount them.

    4. Dear Taxpayer. NOT every campus is 1.5 miles long, in case you didn’t know. So when students only have 10 minutes to get to their class a mile away in the pouring rain, snow, or wind, yeah, the T is nice.

      Also, please DO NOT judge all students of Boston University as being “entitled”. There are plenty of us here because of financial assistance and would not be able to attend otherwise. A lot of us work 2-3 jobs. We are NOT the “entitled” image that you have of all of us. Please be respectful and think before you comment. Thank you.

  4. Since none of you students ever pay for your rides anyway, who cares what you think about it?

    This should have been done a LONG time ago. While they’re at it, the Blandford St stop should be permanently closed because it’s way too close to both BU East and Kenmore.

    1. “none of you students pay for your rides anyway” – source?
      From what I’ve seen, the people who don’t pay their fares are either from high school or the adults who rarely take the T. In fact, BU has a T pass program for students commuting from off campus. So please check your facts before you blame the students. We are quite a large source of income for not only the T, but lots of other businesses on Comm Ave, so what we say matters. Thanks.

  5. It would also speed up the process if they opened all doors, instead of the front door only policy above ground. It makes getting off a crowded train a nightmare. I’m not sure how they would accomplish that without losing revenue, but they should work on that solution, as well as consolidating stops.

    1. They just recently closed all the doors above ground. Before, riding outbound was free because all the doors opened and it was faster, but MBTA decided they could bring in more money by only opening the front door, and require pay above ground outbound. they normally make these changes right after graduations so there
      is very little push-back on any decisions including price heights
      while you’re away for the summer. They should re-open the above ground trains and keep the Babcock Street, because it’s the last stop before a 3 mintue Stop Light.

  6. I agree with Paul. Consolidating stops may only create more congestion at the new platforms. This is mostly due to the MBTA’s painfully slow and unreliable fare collection system at the front door. Couple that with “front door exit only” during non-peak hours, and I don’t see the B-line moving any faster down Comm Ave. But, perhaps the MBTA will review their fare collection system on the trolleys. Who knows?

    Also, bravo to the folks who are attacking a woman for expressing her discontent about the weather. If you were truly “Hearty New Englanders,” you would embrace her right to complain, in general, since you seem to have no shortage of complaints yourselves. Keep it classy!

    Ms. Flores, I’m right with you – walking around in wind-driven winter may be fun for some, but not all. Stay warm!

    1. The shuttle does not have the same stops on both sides of Commonwealth.
      So sometimes we can only get to the T at BU west and HAVE to take the T. Because with the Snow, Fast Wind, and temperature everyday ONE STOP does MAKE a difference!
      The shuttle and the 57 DOES NOT have the same stops in the same places. Shows how much you actually know.

  7. Oh cool, are they going to increase the price to ride by 3 cents too? That way it’s an even more oddly priced trip that works out even less nicely with a $5 bill?

  8. Even as a CFA alum who frequented both BU West and Babcock Street, I completely support this move. Having grown up in New Jersey, and now as a Brooklyn resident, I’ve grown accustomed to NYC’s distances between stations, some of which are quite long. There’s no reason the B line should have so many stops.

    Nonetheless, I still think the best deal is T on the way in and 57 bus on the way back. If you only need to head by Kenmore for the book store or something, you can make it within the 2 hour transfer window to get a free ride back. I did it all the time.

    1. The 57 is a hidden gem. Not many students know about it, but it is truly the best way to get to and from campus, especially for those who live in the GAP area. Thanks for raising awareness (although now it might be more crowded for those of us who knew about it!)

      1. I would hope you students would stop thinking of the 57 as a “hidden gem” for getting from Kenmore to West Campus between 4:30-6:30pm. Then those of us trying to get the 57 bus to get home to Brighten and Watertown would not have to wait for an hour while packed buses pass us by without stopping only to empty out at West Campus. Have a heart and give us a break. Please try to use the BU shuttle or the Green line. The 57 is the only way to get to Watertown.

        1. Sorry for being rude but if you decided to commute into Boston by finding a cheaper residence in Watertown, you’re going to have to accept its downsides. Students pay the same bus fare regardless of their destination; they shouldn’t be discouraged from riding the 57 for commuters. BTW, you could always ride the #71 bus from Harvard Station if you find yourself waiting an hour. There are many ways to get to Harvard Sta. from Kenmore besides the Green Line.

        2. Didn’t there used to be a sem-express 57-Watertown bus that didn’t stop at most (if any) BU stops? I remember seeing those in the past when I was waiting for T trolleys that skipped by the BU stops.

  9. This is phenomenal! Much of what I would want to say has already been said, but I’d like to add that I hope this change also comes with fewer trains unpredictably and frustratingly going express at the new stops. Also, I’m STRONGLY in favor of new bike lanes. As a cyclist, I can say that Comm Ave is wildly dangerous as it currently exists, considering the number of cars that stop in the bike lanes forcing cyclists into traffic plus all the all the stops that the 57 and BU Shuttle make, often cutting over the bike lanes without turn signals or checking for cyclists first.

  10. This is the best news for all commuters. Students and general public.
    Two stops means you are involved in your campus more (having to walk an extra 1500 feet means more interaction with your community.)
    We think T stops are spread out in Boston…Try NYC where a stop is between a 1/4 and 1/2 mile apart. People should expect to have to walk 1/2 mile to a transit stop. This is normal in other countries. And if it is cold out… wear a jacket… oh and real pants not yoga pants.

  11. With so many other issues, consolidating stops will only be a hindrance. Platforms will be more congested and service will be slower especially since people never seem to understand the concept of having a Charlie Card with the proper fare on it!!! Not to mention riders who have no qualms with jumping on and not paying their fare! The trolley schedule is very irregular ESPECIALLY during “rush hour” and then there is the stupid schedule adjustment they do at Kenmore during rush hour!!! The service on this line is so messed up, that they need to do a FULL assessment of problems, consider impact of improvements and then prioritize!!! With all the other problems and issues, consolidating stops won as a priority?? Really?? This “quick fix” will become another problem especially during the winter season.

  12. There are lots of opinions on this, with some very good ideas (especially about slow and antiquated fare collection), and then those folks who see eliminating two stops as an inconvenience. Everyone has a voice! Attend the “public meeting outlining a proposal to consolidate four MBTA Green Line B trolley stops, from BU West to Babcock Street” that will be held tonight, Thursday, October 23, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon meeting room at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston? By public transportation, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley Square.

  13. All payment for the T should be done via Charlie Card. Eliminating payment on the T or by way of paper tickets that take an inordinate amount of time to scan would speed things up greatly. Adding an extra car to the B line would also be a major improvement. Judging by the number of inbound riders pre-Kenmore and outbound riders post-Kenmore, one-car and two-car trains are not cutting the mustard.

    1. The reason there are few three car trains is because they draw too much power in some sections of the line, so there can’t be two of those too close to each other. MBTA are looking into fixing that.

    2. Eliminating payment by cash or Charlie ticket would expedite loading of the trains, but it would also make it difficult for those who don’t ride the T a lot and don’t have Charliecards and those who are visiting the Boston area. I do have a Charlie card, but for example, when my sister was in town for a wedding, she did not; she bought a Charlie ticket for her ride into Boston (D line, from Woodland). Are you expecting her to go to a 7/11 or wherever in order to get a CharlieCard for her 1 T ride? (There’s nowhere to get a card at Woodland, and there’s little in walking distance other than the hospital.)
      I would suggest a bigger difference in price when not using a Charlie card (assuming payment in general can be enforced). On the commuter rail, one either buys a ticket/pass or pays cash on the train, but if you get on at a stop where tickets are purchasable and pay cash, it’s three dollars extra … $3 is more incentive to pay the preferred way than 50 cents.

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