We’ve all seen the crowds of people spilling out onto the street waiting for the MBTA buses each morning. Sometimes it’s a handful, at primetime rush hour some corners can have as many as 20-30 people waiting. If you’re driving past a bus stop, you know you have to pay attention so you don’t run over a commuter. You think to yourself, “This doesn’t seem safe?” And it’s not. It’s a public safety issue that no one is really doing anything about.
Bringing out our inner Nancy Drew, we began to ask questions. We tweeted at both the City of Boston and the MBTA, who is responsible for shoveling the bus stops. We even reached out to “people in the know.” So who’s responsibility is clearing out the bus stops? The T is saying, “Not us!” The city is claiming it’s not their responsibility either. Both the city and the T suggested that it was the abutter’s responsibility. The abutter’s?
We get that the homeowner or business owner should shovel the sidewalk in front of their property. Sure, that makes sense but what about the street in front of the stop? What about the giant mounds of snow that the city pushing to the corners of the intersections? It sounds like it’s some weird loophole and no one is taking ownership.
Back in the day, my father told me a tale about how the MBTA used to go around to the barrooms and ask for people to shovel out the bus stops for cash. Do we need to resort to old school tactics?
The MBTA then sent us a link about winter weather and bus stop clearing and snow removal. Evidently, the T is only responsible for “key routes” including 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116, 117. Gheesh! What do you gotta do to becoming a key route?
So what are all the other bus stops suppose to do? According to the T website:
Virtually all other bus stops are the property owner/abutters responsibility. The municipality in which the bus stop is located may have the ability to enforce snow removal, depending on the local ordinance. If you notice one of these stops is obstructed by snow/ice, refer to this municipality contact list to find the contact information for the department that may be able to help resolve the problem. It then gives the number to the mayor’s office of constituent services.
Basically, the MBTA compares shoveling bus stops to shoveling shit against the tide due to the fact that the city keeps plowing the bus stops in.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with unshoveled bus stops. So whether it’s the T or the city, someone needs to pick up a shovel. The T suggests commuters contact either them, or your neighborhood liaison in the event that a stop remains unshoveled. So we encourage you to do just that.
David Cotter (Dorchester Office of Neighborhood Services) 617-635-4819 [email protected]
Flavio Daveiga (Mid-Dorchester and Cape Verdean Community – 617-635-1880