NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 13, 2009

Rail cuts would threaten efforts

NEWBURYPORT — Mayor John Moak said reports that the MBTA might end all weekend commuter rail service is "disturbing."

Citing internal MBTA documents, The Boston Globe reported Friday that the T could cut all rail service on weekends and all weekday trains after 7 p.m. as a cost-saving measure. The agency is facing a deficit of $160 million.

There would also be cutbacks in bus and subway service and fare hikes. MBTA officials have declined comment. The Globe reported that the agency has not revealed its plan, which also includes station closures and layoffs, pending the Legislature's decision on a gas tax increase aimed at bailing out the state's troubled transportation system.

Exact ridership figures could not be obtained Friday, but numbers from 2006 indicated 683 people rode between Boston and Newburyport daily. That statistic is for weekdays; weekend numbers would presumably be lower.

Moak said the city would be hurt on several levels if weekend rail service were discontinued.

Newburyport is trying to market itself as a tourist destination and is also trying to promote a "green" image as an environmentally sensitive community, he said.

"We want to get people downtown, but it's more than that," he said. "If we're a green community, we're encouraging people to use public transportation."

The city has already contracted for a summer shuttle bus service to meet four trains each weekend day and transport passengers to downtown and Plum Island destinations, he said. Without any trains to meet, that service would be put in jeopardy.

In the long run, he said, Newburyport's overall train usage could slide, as has happened before.

By the early 1970s, only two trains a day ran between Boston and Newburyport, one inbound in the morning and a single one outbound at the end of the workday.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Special Features