October 7, 2019 (BOSTON, MA) – At today’s MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) testified in support of a City of Boston proposal that would increase service on the Fairmount commuter rail line with eight more trips per weekday beginning in Spring 2020. The line is the only one within the MBTA rail system where more than half the riders identify as people of color, and it mainly serves environmental justice communities that lack access to reliable transit.
“Passenger growth on the Fairmount Line is surging, and it’s time the MBTA provides more frequent service,” said Staci Rubin, Senior Attorney at CLF. “With more service, riders also deserve fair fares. These neighborhoods have been overlooked for too long, and the Fairmount line must become true rapid transit with affordable fares at all stations and service frequency to match.”
The Fairmount Line has seen a significant increase in passengers since CLF succeeded in getting stations built in Dorchester and Mattapan. Boston is also offering free student passes, which has further increased ridership.
Peak hour trains on the Fairmount line currently run 45 minutes apart, with residents and workers calling for more frequent service. CLF, along with the rest of the Fairmount Indigo Transit Coalition, is asking the MBTA to add eight new weekday trips on the line and eventually transition it to subway-like service.
At the same time, a pilot starting in two weeks to extend the commuter rail to Foxboro via the Fairmount line threatens to further degrade service for low-income, working-class riders in Boston with increased delays and capacity issues. The coalition supports the extension to Foxboro and is calling for expanded service that ensures available seating for Boston riders.
CLF experts are available for further comment.