Regarding the proposal to change
the destination of the #39 bus
The Gazette reported on June 11 that the Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) at its June meeting discussed the MBTA’s proposal to change the destination of the #39 bus from Back Bay to Porter Square, Cambridge. At that meeting, I indicated that the change in destination raised questions relating to service reliability and ridership, among others. At its May meeting, The Arborway Committee for Public Transit, Inc. (ACPT) identified those questions and indicated that it was seeking answers from the MBTA. The questions raised were:
1) what are the ridership projections in making the change? Will overall ridership rise or fall? Has the T data that show a ridership increase?
2) in view of traffic through the Longwood medical area and Brookline Ave in particular, is there data that confirm that projected headways of 15 minutes are realistic? Are there any plans for bus lanes along Brookline Avenue?
3) will dispatchers be assigned at both destinations and actually “dispatch?” There is a history at Forest Hills and Back Bay of little or no adherence to scheduled departure times for the #39.
4) will signal priority for the #39 be implemented in Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge to expedite bus movement through an arguably circuitous and tortured dog-leg routing?
5) in view of the loss of the one-seat ride to Back Bay for many JP commuters, especially at heavily patronized stops in the Hyde/Canary Square area at Perkins and Bynner streets, is the change in the routing of the #39 to be coupled with an extension of the Green Line to Hyde/Canary Square in order to continue the one-seat ride for these commuters?
These in addition to other likely questions need answers before any considered response to the MBTA’s proposal can be given. We await those answers and will report on any responses we receive.
Franklyn P. Salimbene, Chair
The Arborway Committee for Public Transit, Inc.