Keolis adding 4 more stops at Boston Landing

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.”

Aloisi and other transit advocates want to build West Station toward the beginning of a massive development initiative being led by Harvard University in the Allston area.  By contrast, state officials have suggested holding off on construction of the station until 2040, when Harvard’s development will be further along and traffic models forecast 250 daily commuter riders and 2,900 bus riders.

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 leased

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Aloisi 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.