Improving Public Transportation

Public transportation provides numerous benefits: it can be more cost effective than driving to Boston/Cambridge, it gives riders time to relax and it cuts down on fossil fuel automobile pollution that exacerbates global warming – our greatest environmental challenge.  Massachusetts needs to provide reliable public transportation for people who don’t have a car, truck or motorcycle and as an alternative to automobile travel for those who have a choice.

What can we do to improve conditions so that more of us can enjoy using public transportation and forgo parking fees and traffic jams while lowering our blood pressure in the process?

To achieve and maintain excellent public transportation, we need to invest in infrastructure improvements and necessary ongoing maintenance.  The average age of the railroad engines used to pull our commuter rail cars from Acton, Concord, Framingham and Lincoln into Boston, Worcester or other destinations is a couple of years greater than their life–expectancies – small wonder that they frequently break down or have long delays.  These breakdowns and delays cause riders to get to work/home later, aggravation and added repair costs.  We need to invest in new engines, maintain rail beds, and keep fares affordable.

In addition, we need to improve public transportation in our district.  Currently, if folks in Marlborough, Sudbury or Wayland want to use public transportation to get into Boston for a Red Sox game, work, shop or commute to a college/university they have to first drive to Framingham, Concord or another neighboring town to hop on a train or bus. There are a few buses during the rush hour commute, but, for the most part, service is grossly inadequate.  One resident, an experienced transportation professional, proposed the idea of using the abandoned east-west railroad right of way near route 20 for a shuttle bus service and possibly combining it with a bikeway.  This is an idea that the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation could explore to improve service in the district.

Providing better and more convenient service will make public transportation more attractive to potential riders, which will help reduce the number of cars on the roads.