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Proposed MBTA ferry, train cuts infuriate South Shore

An MBTA proposal that would completely suspend of all ferry service and reduce commuter rail service has many on the South Shore furious.

"The town of Hull will essentially be cut off from all public transportation if these cuts move forward as currently proposed," said Jennifer Berardi-Constable, a member of the Hull Board of Selectmen.

"This is a short-sighted response to the COVID crisis faced by Massachusetts," said Joe Fisher, a member of the Hingham Board of Selectmen.

A bipartisan group of legislators and local leaders on the South Shore came together to oppose cuts proposed by the MBTA, cuts that would mean reducing commuter rail service and halting ferry service.

"The Hingham and Hull Ferry and the Greenbush Line -- our lifelines between Boston, which is our economic hub, and the South Shore," said state Rep. Joan Meschino, a Democrat representing the 3rd Plymouth District.

"All of us – collectively – have also reached out to members of the administration, calls even today that we're going to be having, and we're going to make sure that not just through grass roots advocacy, but through the power of the offices that we hold – representing the people of the South Shore – that we're going to let them know this is irresponsible," said state Sen. Patrick O'Connor, a Republican who represents the Plymouth and Norfolk districts.

The MBTA said ferry service is “currently averaging seven people for each trip … each boat has a capacity of 149 passengers.” It's not just the ferry or the commuter rail. The T says ridership -- and therefore, revenue -- is low across the system.

“The T is still only transporting about 330,000 trips on an average weekday, but it's running roughly the same level of service as it ran to serve 1.26 million trips prior to the pandemic. This level of service delivery, along with the loss in revenue is not sustainable," said MBTA GM Steve Poftak.

The MBTA said the changes are just proposals and it is in the process of doing a comprehensive outreach and wants to get feedback from the public.


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