This is the fifth in a series of articles on the issues discussed at the June 22, 2009 public meeting for the Greenway District Planning Study with a focus on transportation.
It is ironic that a shuttle bus geared primarily for tourists along the Greenway might replace a bus route previously used by North End/Waterfront residents & workers. As part of an effort toward “tourism transportation” along the Greenway, the BTD is proposing the Greenway Shuttle. The route would serve the Greenway’s linear parks connecting Haymarket, North and South Station and potentially serve Commercial Street around the North End neighborhood. This was nearly the exact route previously served by the No. 6 MBTA bus that was taken out of service in March 2009 despite public opposition.
The Boston Transportation Department is studying how to finance the project, perhaps with a start-up subsidy or Greenway branding initiative. Officials would like the shuttle to be free but it’s unclear how this could be feasible after the MBTA declared the No. 6 bus uneconomic. The timeframe for service is in 3-4 years. Residents at the meeting questioned why a regular MBTA bus or Silver Line extension could not serve the same purpose sooner.
My thoughts: It is baffling to me that the BTD is now looking at a new bus route primarily for tourists when the MBTA just canceled service on a nearly identical route. The elimination of the No. 6 bus route left the North End as the only Boston neighborhood without public bus service. Bringing back the No. 6 bus could be achieved nearly immediately and not only serve the Greenway’s visitors but also residents and workers.