T notes: New Silver Line service launches April 21
Bus will allow 1-seat trips between Chelsea and S. Station
THE FIRST MAJOR SERVICE EXPANSION at the MBTA since 2007 – an extension of Silver Line bus service (which currently runs between South Station and Logan Airport) to East Boston and Chelsea – is set to launch April 21.
The so-called SL3 bus will offer a one-seat ride from Chelsea and parts of East Boston to the Seaport District and South Station. Currently, passengers trying to reach South Station from Chelsea have to take the Blue Line to the Red Line or take the commuter rail to North Station and then make their way from there to the Red Line.
Jessica Casey, the T’s deputy chief operating officer for service planning, said the SL3 bus is expected to serve 8,700 passengers a day at a cost of $5 million annually. Four new passenger boarding stations have been built in Chelsea, complete with bike storage. Officials hope the line will spur housing development in the community.
The one major obstacle to quick service is the bridge at Chelsea Creek, which is often raised at irregular intervals to accommodate boat traffic. Casey said a bus could wait 20 minutes if the bridge goes up. She said the T is trying to coordinate with bridge operators to minimize delays and to find a way to alert passengers when the bridge is about to go up.
Brian Shortsleeve, a member of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, suggested one way to keep passengers informed is to provide a video feed of the bridge that would allow travelers to see if the bridge is down or up.
Low bids for T garage overhauls
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board awarded a contract to overhaul the Braintree and Quincy Adams parking garages at a cost of $64.3 million, an amount 27 percent less that what the T had estimated the job would cost.
Indeed, all five bids on the project were below the $87.9 million cost the T had estimated. The winning bidder was identified as McCourt/Consigli JV1.
T officials said replacement parking will be provided during the construction work, which is scheduled to start in April and finish in 2022.
Keeping tabs on T assets
Using specialized software, the T is taking an inventory of all of its assets and assessing their quality and maintenance (or replacement) needs. Much of the information is required to comply with federal regulations, but T officials hope to use the new data to better manage the assets and track where the agency stands in meeting a state of good repair.
“Without this, I don’t see any way of managing the MBTA,” said Luis Ramirez, the T’s general manager.Derailment still a mystery
MBTA officials apparently still haven’t determined the cause of the derailment of a Red Line train near Andrew Station on February 21. No information was provided at Monday’s meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board on the derailment, which occurred at 9:20 a.m. in the morning and led to service disruptions on the Red Line until 5:21 p.m.