T police target bus stop parkers

(Gazette Photo by John Ruch) A delivery truck serving Harvest Co-Op Market parks illegally in a bus stop at South Street and Carolina Avenue on Sept. 21.

MBTA Transit Police say they will crack down on illegal parking in bus stops after an informal Gazette review found the problem to be widespread in the neighborhood.

“We’re going to hit it. We’re going to hit it hard,” said Transit Police Lt. Stephen Salisbury.

The big culprits appear to be delivery truck drivers coping with Boston’s tight parking, and regular drivers who think it’s OK to park briefly in a bus stop.

MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said it is vital that bus stops are left open so that buses can pull all the way to the curb. Forcing a bus to stop in the street creates a “serious customer safety concern and a barrier to accessibility,” he said, noting that buses stop on busy routes like JP’s about once every five to six minutes.

“Even if it’s just for two minutes, it’s an issue,” said Salisbury, noting that JP’s routes are heavily used by seniors and hospital patients.

The Gazette reported last month about delivery trucks parking in bus stops at South Street’s Harvest Co-Op Market and Centre Street’s Whole Foods Market. Salisbury said he visited Whole Foods about the issue, and it appears to have cleared up. A Harvest spokesperson previously told the Gazette that he would contact delivery drivers about the issue, but the Gazette has seen trucks in bus stops there twice since then. Harvest did not respond to questions for this article.

The Gazette has seen widespread illegal parking in bus stops along Centre and South streets since then. A favorite is the outbound stop at Centre and Eliot streets, where culprits included delivery trucks, a school bus and even an MBTA work truck whose driver was buying lunch.

Salisbury said that MBTA buses are equipped with a button the driver can push when they spot an illegal parker. The button triggers a report of the stop location, creating a “hot list” for targeted enforcement of stops with heavy illegal parking. He said that Transit Police generally generate a “hot list” monthly, but that he will start creating one for JP stops every week.

Pesaturo said that illegal parkers can be reported to either Transit Police or Boston Police by calling 911 or 617-222-1212. The MBTA also has an iPhone app called “MBTA See Say” available on iTunes that allows submission of reports with photos.

Corrected version: This version corrects the MBTA Transit Police phone number.

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