Merged stops, rehabs on tap for four bus routes in Dot, Mattapan

Four bus routes that run through Dorchester and Mattapan and are among the 15 busiest routes in the MBTA system are set for improvements this summer, transit officials said this week. Aiming to reduce trip times and improve reliability and comfort for riders, officials plan to consolidate some stops and add shelters, benches, trash barrels, and signage to others.

The Dorchester and Mattapan routes include the No. 15, which runs from Fields Corner through Uphams Corner to Ruggles Station in Roxbury; the No. 22, which runs from Ashmont to Ruggles via Talbot Avenue and through Jackson Square; the No. 23, which runs from Ashmont to Ruggles via Washington Streety through Grove Hall; and the No. 28, which runs from Mattapan Station to Ruggles with stops in Dudley Square.

Work dates for routes are set for June 24 to July 12 for No. 15; June 17 to July 17 for No. 22; June 17 to July for No. 23; and June 17 to August 30 for No. 28.

Those routes and 11 others have 885 stops, and make up 40 percent of the MBTA’s entire system. On a typical weekday in fiscal year 2010, the entire bus system transported 361,676 riders.

Officials plan on eliminating 25 percent of the 885 stops, according to spokeswoman Kelly Smith. Many of them are redundant and easily seen down the road, she said. Each bus stop’s elimination is expected to save 15 seconds in travel time.

In some cases, Smith said, bus stops are being moved from one side of an intersection to another in order to get the bus past a traffic light so it’s not blocking a lane and hurting traffic flow.

The buses on these routes are meant to come every 10 minutes or better during peak periods on weekdays, but they are often slowed by traffic and the number of stops.

The $10 million improvement project, funded through federal stimulus funds, is the result of over 50 public meetings, Smith said. The agency is “still listening” to public comments, she added, noting that at one point, they had planned on moving a stop away from a Jamaica Plain health center until a local lawmaker pointed out that 200 people a day are serviced by it.

In a statement, MBTA general manager Beverly Scott said,
“This aggressive and ambitious project will reduce trip times, enhance customer comfort, accessibility, convenience and safety, and make service more reliable and cost-effective.”