Boston sees growth in public transit ridership despite MBTA incidents

A girl looking at the red line map.

A recently published mobility trends study revealed that the percentage of people using public transit in Boston has increased by 30 percent compared to its pre-pandemic amount. This increase in ridership is the highest in the U.S. 

The study was conducted by CommercialCafe, a nationwide real estate platform which provides original research regarding the commercial real estate market, real estate development, the nation’s job market and more.

The study utilized data from Apple’s Mobility Report, which used data from anonymous searches for driving, walking and public transport directions. Per CommercialCafe, the data was collected from “the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas by population,” between Jan. 13, 2020 and August 2021.

Boston also saw some changes in mobility trends via other methods of transport.

Walking mobility in Boston had increased by 85 percent in August 2021 compared to data from January of 2020. Following an initial fall of 54 percent in April of 2020, Boston experienced a rate of growth of 53 percent in driving mobility by August of 2021.

Despite the increase in the percentage of people using public transit in Boston, the MBTA has seen several notable incidents in the previous weeks.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, BU professor David Jones was found dead underneath a set of rusted stairs near the JFK/UMass T-stop. The stairs had been judged to be unsafe, blocked and closed for roughly 20 months by that point.

By Sept. 20, the rusted stairs had been removed and replaced by fencing. The exact nature of Jones’s death is still unknown. 

On Sunday, Sept. 26, an escalator at the MBTA Back Bay station malfunctioned, injuring nine individuals. The nine individuals were sent to the hospital, and the injuries were deemed minor by Boston EMS. 

Those who witnessed the escalator malfunction recounted a gory and bloody scene. One witness originally thought there had been a shooting in the station due to the amount of people covered in blood. 

Following the malfunction, several trains were delayed. MBTA officials have not yet revealed the cause of the malfunction, and report that the investigation is still ongoing.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, a red line train car derailed at Broadway station around 9:45 a.m. No injuries were reported, however, several trains were delayed, affecting students, staff and faculty at UMass Boston. 

Shuttle busses replaced service between the Park Street and JFK/UMass stations “through the evening rush” on Tuesday, per MBTA officials. 

Due to a five year, $8 billion dollar capital investment planwhich promises station renovations, and upgrades in subway, bus, and ferry servicesthe MBTA has also planned for several changes in service.

Currently, the planned service alerts will affect branches B and D of the Green Line.

On the weekends between Oct. 2 and Oct. 24, shuttle busses will replace subway service on the B branch of the Green Line between the Kenmore and Washington Street stops. The shift to shuttle busses will begin on Fridays at 8:45 p.m.

Shuttle busses are replacing subway service on the B branch of the Green Line between the Kenmore and Babcock Street stops from 8:45 p.m. until the end of service on Mondays through Thursdays until Oct. 28. 

On the D branch of the Green Line, shuttle busses are replacing subway service between Riverside and Brookline Village on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:45 p.m until the end of service until Oct. 21. 

For more information on planned service alerts, visit: https://www.mbta.com/alerts/subway?alerts_timeframe=upcoming

To view the full mobility trends study, visit: https://www.commercialcafe.com/blog/people-are-walking-more-than-ever-apple-mobility-trends/

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