Dozens of people protested MBTA's planned service cuts at a rally at the Heath Street Station in Boston Wednesday.
The station is one of five at the end of the Green Line's E Branch that would no longer be served under the MBTA cuts proposed this week amid low ridership and a funding shortfall.
Holding signs saying "No service cuts" and "Save the Mission Hill trolley," protestors heard from state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Boston city councilors Kenzie Bok and Matt O'Malley.
The plan would also cut bus service, eliminate weekend Commuter Rail service and pause ferry service.
A final vote by the MBTA's Fiscal Management and Control Board is expected to take place next month.
The T is facing a nearly $580 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2022 with ridership and revenues down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The MBTA said the changes are intended to match service to new ridership patterns caused by the pandemic. The T is now only transporting 330,000 trips on an average weekday but has continued to run the same levels of service as it ran to serve 1.26 million daily trips prior to the pandemic.
Subways are running at about 24% capacity when compared with pre-pandemic numbers, buses at 41% and commuter rail trains at 13%.
Some of the other potential changes include temporarily forgoing ferry services, scaling back subway frequency between 20% to 40% and doing away with more than two dozen bus routes.
The cuts will target routes with the fewest passengers, according to the agency. Public transportation advocates are urging state lawmakers to step up to keep the services running.
Photo by Michael Day on Flickr/Creative Commons
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"It’s going to be a game changer," Chang-Díaz said. "I know it's going to take time for the MCAD to fill the staffing shortages that they've been experiencing in recent years, but this is a huge step forward."