Wicked Local Needham, May 16, 2016. Emma R. Murphy.
Needham commuters will soon see a change in the commuter rail schedule, the MBTA announced in a press release. The changes, which include morning and evening times, are expected to go into effect on May 23.
The main changes to the Needham line schedule are for the Ruggles stops, which runs a few minutes later than the old schedule. In its press release the MBTA said it restored all a.m. peak Ruggles and Forest Hills stops, and adjusted the p.m. stops accordingly.
The changes are intended to improve problems with delayed trains the press release stated.
According to Representative Denise Garlick, the MBTA has struggled with congestion along the tracks resulting in extensive delays.
With four stops in Needham, the commuter rail is a major attraction for workers traveling to and from Needham. Delayed trains, old equipment and poor communication have caused problems for many commuters looking to avoid the stress of rush hour traffic.
In order to address these issues, Keolis, the operator, hosted public meetings, and met with state officials, including Garlick, to develop solutions.
The MBTA press release states that the schedule changes are based on those public meetings and feedback from customers.
According to Garlick, problems relating to public transportation are among the top three issues in the Commonwealth. Garlick said that her office constantly hears from residents about problems with the commuter rail service.
When determining the changes, Garlick said that the MBTA had planned to eliminate the 7:36 a.m. train to Ruggles – something that would have been problematic for Needham’s many commuters.
“It would have been a hardship for the people of Needham,” she said.
As a result of a team effort between Garlick and Senator Mike Rush’s office, the MBTA decided to keep that morning slot for the Ruggles stop, according to Garlick.
“For us to save that Ruggles stop was a huge win,” she said.
As part of her efforts, Garlick said she rode the 7:36 a.m. train to Ruggles in order to talk with commuters.
Though the Ruggles stop will still operate, Garlick said the new schedule has trains leaving at slightly later times.
Though on paper the changes, a matter of minutes, seem slight, Garlick said in practice they would add up and impact Needham commuters by bringing them into Boston at later times. It is a change she understood would still be difficult for commuters.
According to Garlick discussions surrounding transportation will continue whether it is in relation to the commuter rail, the 59 bus or highway construction.
“I think we have to always be vigilant,” she said.
Further details about the schedule changes can be found on the MBTA website.