Boston’s T looks for ‘creative’ ways to boost capacity

January 27, 2016

By Andy Metzger, State House News Service, in the Sentinel & Enterprise

BOSTON — Some “creative” solutions to boost Red Line capacity could be presented in the next few months, according to MBTA officials who detailed Monday how even on-time trains during rush hour can be overcrowded.Website Insert Call Me State DOTs copy

“We are going to be looking at other ways that we can work within the existing system right now to make headway improvements, potentially a few other creative ideas that we’re working on, and will be presenting to the board in the next coming months,” MBTA Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gonneville told reporters Monday.

MBTA Assistant General Manager Charles Planck told the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board that even when trains are at their optimal average of pulling into a station every 4.5 minutes during morning rush hour, the system is over capacity at several stations.

“We know that people are squeezing on,” said Planck, adding that others opt to skip crowded trains.

The T has counted a train with 200 people on one car — about 20 percent above what the cars are designed to carry, he said.

Ridership on the Red Line has grown about 2 percent per year, dating back to the introduction of Charlie Cards in 2008 and more reliable passenger counts, according to Planck. Weekend ridership growth on the Red Line has outpaced weekday growth, and Red Line ridership is growing faster than overall ridership on the T, according to Planck.

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