Longer buses, fewer spaces on Blue Hill route

By 
Alex Owens, Special to the Reporter
Jun. 24, 2010

Silver Line busSilver Line busThe MBTA will be replacing 25 buses on a key route through Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury this weekend. The new buses will be 60 ft. articulated buses, similar to the ones found on the Silver Line. Some bus stops will have to be lengthened to accommodate the longer buses, eliminating some 60 to 95 parking spaces along the route, Department of Transportation officials say. The change was announced on Wednesday night at the Mattapan Branch Library.

The new buses were purchased with federal stimulus money from ARRA, the same grant that would have been used to buy the buses on the DOT’s and MBTA’s now defunct 28X proposal of last year. Each $900,000 bus is a diesel-electric hybrid, and equipped with video cameras, a “kneeling” capability, lower floors and ramps for disabled riders.

State transportation officials call the parking loss “temporary.” Their solution is to consolidate some of the bus stops in the coming months, which raised concerns over which stops would be cut. The DOT hinted at various types of community consultation, such as advisory boards and public meetings, though no official plans have been announced yet.

“The decisions have not been 100% made, but this community deserves these buses,” said DOT Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Jim Folk.