Keolis adding 4 more stops at Boston Landing
Increased traffic could have implications for West Station
THE MBTA’S COMMUTER RAIL OPERATOR said that four additional trains will stop at Boston Landing Station starting Monday to accommodate increased passenger traffic, which advocates for a proposed West Station say is a positive sign of customer demand in the area.
Boston Landing, located on the Framingham-Worcester Line, opened a year ago adjacent to a mixed-use development that includes the New Balance headquarters. Traffic estimates have varied dramatically for the station, but officials at Keolis Commuter Services decided passenger growth warranted adding one stop on inbound train 500, which leaves Worcester at 4:45 a.m., and so-called flag stops on the outbound 511, 513, and 515 trains. With flag stops, the train stops if a passenger is waiting on the platform or if an on-board passenger asks to be let off.
Currently, 34 trains stop at Boston Landing every weekday.
Jim Aloisi, a former state secretary of transportation and a board member of TransitMatters, said the need for increased service at Boston Landing is a strong indicator of demand for rail service in the area. “For me, that’s an affirmation that if we build a station like West Station you will attract riders. This is not a theoretical proposition,” he said. “I think the demand at West Station would be even greater.”
At Boston Landing, Keolis officials estimate 300 passengers a day are passing through the station just a year after it opened. Occasionally, traffic is much higher; Keolis spokesman Justin Thompson said 575 to 600 passengers used the station during one week in April. A large chunk of the 1.75 million square foot development at Boston Landing is already built out.
Keith Craig, director of development at New Balance Development, said in an interview in December that his company did passenger counts during a week in October and found between 700 and 900 daily passenger trips. The state in 2009 forecasted 2,400 boardings eventually at Boston Landing.
In a telephone interview Tuesday evening, Craig said he expects traffic at the station to increase this summer because the prime office space is now fully occupied and units in residential buildings are currently being leasedAloisi thinks West Station could be even more attractive to riders than Boston Landing because of its proximity to Harvard and Boston University, as well as its access to a possible rail connection to Kendall Square in Cambridge and North Station. Harvard has offered $8 million toward an interim West Station (basically a commuter rail stop between Boston Landing and Yawkey) and $50 million toward the full buildout.
The Worcester-Framingham Line has made a big turnaround over the last year, going from one of the worst performers in terms of on-time performance to being on time at least 90 percent of the time.