BOSTON — Dozens rallied at the Bus 55 MBTA stop in Fenway Sunday, pushing to get their bus schedule fully restored.
“It is frustrating because I’m back at work now,” said Gilly Parker, who lives in the Fenway neighborhood.
Parker says she works in Cambridge and has taken this bus almost every day for 31 years.
William Allison has relied on this bus for 21 years.
“It’s not a question of it being convenient, it’s a question of the bus took a whole population of working class people down to their work in downtown Boston, it’s not convenience, it’s the necessity of getting to work,” said Allison.
Since the pandemic, the MBTA reduced the Bus 55 schedule to run only from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“If there is any time that the bus is logically to be restored, it is during the commuting hours in the morning and in the evening,” said Allison.
An MBTA spokesperson says they’ve restored 93% of bus services to pre-pandemic levels depending on the highest demands.
The MBTA says their focus is on bus routes with no other nearby transit, and the Fenway neighborhood has access to other transit options including the Green line at Kenmore Station.
Parker says she has been walking to Kenmore, but it’s not easy.
“It adds another 12 to 15 minutes to my commute and sadly I have a bad hip, a lot of people have a lot worse,” said Parker.
“Also for those people who do have a number of seniors who live here, it’s essential for them to have this as a way to get around, especially when you think in the winter with ice storms and things like that – having a bus is a safe way to get around,” said Charles Martel, who lives in the Fenway neighborhood.
The MBTA says staffing is another challenge, and sent Boston 25 News the following statement:
“The MBTA appreciates the strong advocacy on behalf of the Route 55, but staffing challenges make it difficult to add more service at this time. The MBTA is working hard to hire and train bus operators to fill vacancies that have been created during the public health crisis. The MBTA will continue to closely monitor commuting trends as it revisits and adjusts bus schedules on a quarterly basis.”
Fenway residents say as they get back to normal, their bus route should too.
“We believe it’s important, federal government has given the money to make that possible and we do believe the T should bring back our bus service and make it possible for people to live their lives again,” said Martel.
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