Last year, the MBTA launched a website at www.betterbus.mbta.com as part of the T’s project to improve bus service in neighborhoods like East Boston.
Through the Better Bus Project, the MBTA was trying to find new ways to improve the experiences of people who ride buses.
In Eastie the MBTA got feedback from residents and T riders for proposed changes to the 120 Bus Route that runs through Eastie and connects Orient Heights with Jeffries Point.
This week the MBTA announced that starting Sept. 1, the 120 Bus Route will no longer stop in Liberty Plaza in Central Square. The bus route will also begin and end in Jeffries Point instead of the Maverick MBTA station.
Through this change, the MBTA hopes to provide a faster and more reliable service on the 120 Route by removing loop around Central Square. While the stop at Liberty Plaza will be eliminated, the MBTA will maintain the existing bus stop to access Liberty Plaza from Meridian Street.
The MBTA believes this will Improve reliability by starting and ending trips at Jeffries Point instead of Maverick Square.
According to MBTA removing the loop in Central Square would make a bus trip three minutes faster for 69 percent of the riders that use the 120 Bus. This would translate into 74 passenger hours saved each week if the loop is eliminated.
The MBTA started the Better Bus Project after listening to the needs and concerns of more than 3,000 riders at bus stops, community meetings, and online.
What the T heard from people in Eastie is that residents “wanted more reliable service on more routes that run more frequently all day, not just during peak hours.’’
“These are good and long-overdue changes,” said the MBTA in a statement. “Taken together, they lay the foundation for a bus network with more frequent and reliable service—and one that provides better connectivity.”
“We haven’t made significant changes to the bus network in almost a decade. And, in that time, travel patterns have changed and traffic has only gotten worse. With the Better Bus Project, we’re trying to ensure that existing resources and upcoming investments are helping the most people and doing the most good,” continued the statement.
However, some riders are not very keen on the idea. While most have been supportive of the proposal as long as it means a quicker bus ride, others feel eliminating the loop in Central Square might negatively impact students traveling to Umana. If the loop is ditched, one critic of the plan pointed out, students at the Umana will have to get off at Meridian and cross more used streets in order to get to school in the morning.