Does anyone else get annoyed at the way the MBTA releases its schedule changes now? “Please find your route at www.mbta.com/schedules/bus and check the December 23 schedule for specific changes.” I get that this is more intuitive for people who only care about the routes they use, but I miss when we got a nice list of routes with links to their upcoming schedules. Thus, I present to you my guide to the MBTA’s winter 2019 service changes, as well as what the changes specifically are (versus the vague “weekday schedule changes” statement that we usually get). Enjoy! And let me know if you want to see this kind of thing for future service changes.
SL2: The first weekday inbound trip of the day is shifting from 6:03 to 6:06 AM, and its return outbound trip is shifting from 6:13 to 6:16. Nothing too crazy, but it does even out the morning schedule a little better.
SL3: Apparently weekday inbound and outbound trip times are being “shifted”. I can’t for the life of me find a difference between the current and future timetables, so this is definitely a minor change.
CT3: The 7:42 AM weekday trip from Andrew has been shifted to 7:48, and the 8:13 AM is now an 8:20. I assume this was done for timekeeping purposes, but it leads to an annoying quirk where full trips to Longwood Medical Area will leave slightly before short-turns to BU Medical Center, versus now when they leave slightly after. This will probably mean overcrowding on the full trips followed by empty buses doing the short-turn. The MBTA also didn’t upload the winter schedule to the CT2 page, so here it is (you can just replace “2018-fall” in the URL with “2019-winter” to see the winter schedule for any route).
1: Okay, get ready for this huge change: weekday midday service, which used to be every fifteen minutes, will now be every fourteen minutes! This is an attempt to squeeze out as much frequency as possible on the overcrowded route, but I wish it was a more substantial change. Also, evening rush service is now every 9 minutes instead of every 8 minutes, probably because the 1 is sooooooo unreliable at that time. Yeah, this route is just a complete mess, let’s face it.
7: There are some very minor time shifts from 8 to 8:30 AM in the inbound direction, but the route is so ridiculously frequent that it doesn’t matter too much.
19: Inbound morning rush service will be every 17 minutes instead of every 16. Also, a former school day-only short-turn trip at 6:55 AM has been moved to 7:01; it now does the full route to Kenmore, and even when school is out.
28: A school trip at 2 PM will be eliminated.
32: Unfortunately, this route is generally losing service to keep buses on time. It will be less frequent at rush hour (though nothing more crazy than running every four minutes versus every three, for example), but weeknights are what really lose out. Buses come every 12 minutes instead of every 10 from 8 to 9:30 PM, and from 10:30 to the end of service, it’s gone from every 20 minutes to every 22 minutes! Ew!
47: Sick of waiting a long time for your 47? Fear not, for weekday midday service has gone from every 23-25 minutes to a consistent…every 22 minutes. That’s with another bus added, too! Can we please cut into the 24 minutes of layover each vehicle will take at Central and make the service every 20 minutes? It would be a lot easier to remember! Heck, while we’re at it, no one would complain if it went down to every 15…
62: A weekday outbound trip at 3:44 PM has been shifted back to 3:40. Also, a few reverse-peak inbound trips are scheduled to take slightly longer – those buses probably run late to begin with, anyway.
64: The poor 64. Morning rush service will run every 18 minutes instead of the current 13 minutes, while weekend service will now be every 75 minutes (down from every hour on Saturdays and every 70 minutes on Sundays). A bus has explicitly been taken off the route for the morning rush, while the weekend service deductions are to keep the service reliable. At least one good thing will come out of this, though: the last trip on weekdays and Saturdays will run all the way to Oak Square, versus now when they end at “Faneuil Square”, mere blocks from Oak. I don’t exactly know who this is helping (since it’s probably faster to take the last Green Line to the last 57 if your destination is Oak Square itself), but it does make the route less complicated.
66: The 66 is in the same boat as the 1; the MBTA is trying to squeeze as much frequency out of this thing as it can. It currently runs every 16 minutes, but it will soon drop to every 15. This is actually a really welcome change, since every 15 minutes makes so much more sense than every 16. Again, though, a more substantial increase in frequency would be great. Morning rush service towards Dudley will also now run every 10 minutes instead of every 9 minutes, probably to keep buses on time.
69: Three trips out of Lechmere at around 2 PM have been shifted by five minutes.
76: The 5:35 PM trip from Alewife will be shifted to 5:37.
80: The 80 will no longer have increased frequency at rush hour. Effectively using three buses all day, peak service will drop to anywhere from every 30-40 minutes, when now it runs in the region of every 20. At least midday service will now be a clean every half hour, although that is technically a downgrade from every 25 minutes, which it does now. Saturday service drops from every 35 minutes to alternating 40-45 minute headways (blech), and while Sunday service is every 70 minutes now, it will become every 80 (double blech).
85: Because of a long-term diversion in Union Square, the 85’s schedule is being appropriately padded. Service will stay every 40 minutes for most of the day, but it will drop to every 50 during the evening rush.
86: Just a few time shifts by a few minutes here and there. Sometimes it makes the headways more even, sometimes it makes them less even. I’m sure there’s a reason for each one. Hopefully.
87: The first major change for this route is that all inbound trips will take longer because of a long-term diversion in Union Square. However, service is generally getting improved! Morning rush service is every 20-30 minutes right now, but it will become about every 16. There’s no increase in service during the evening rush when buses come every 20 minutes, but they will run at that frequency for a longer time. Also, on Saturdays, the 87 will see an increase in service from every 30 minutes to every 25 – this will create service every 12-13 minutes between it and the 88 from Lechmere.
88: Right now, morning rush service on the 88 is every 10 minutes from Clarendon Hill to Davis Square, but only every 20 minutes from there to Lechmere. Starting in winter, every trip will do the full route, so overall service will run every 14-16 minutes. I don’t know how busy those Davis Square short-turns got, but this seems like a decent change overall, and it will simplify the route. Midday service will be less uniform than it is now (it’ll be about every 15-25 minutes, whereas now it’s a clean every 20), but evening rush service will be more even (every 20 minutes, versus every 15-25 right now). Why we can’t just get uniform headways across the board, I don’t know.
For weekends, Saturday service has been downgraded from every 20 minutes to every 25 minutes, although this will lead to coordination with the 87. I would rather see both routes run every 24 minutes, since that would lead to 12 minute coordinated headways – much easier to remember. Also, the MBTA isn’t advertising this coordination anywhere, which is a bad move. If you’re going from Davis Square to Clarendon Hill, for example, you’ll have to check both schedules separately to see what’s coming first. Finally, for Sundays, most midday trips are shifted forward by three minutes, which will make the every 20 minute 87/88 get a little…wonky in the outbound direction. It might be to accommodate the 87’s longer travel times due to the construction in Union Square.
89: Oh, 89, what have they done to you? There’s a lot to unpack here; let’s start with rush hour. Right now, it’s every 10 minutes, split between the Davis Square and Clarendon Hill branches. It effectively ends up running alternating 8-12 minute headways, but that’s not terrible. Now, the route will run theoretically every 15 minutes, but split in the most ridiculous way! During the morning rush, for example, we’ll have headways of 3 minutes, 19 minutes, 7 minutes, 19 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, 21 minutes, 8 minutes, etc. all in a row! The evening rush is just as bad, although there is a nice part where only Davis Square trips run, and it’s a clean every 12 minutes until a Clarendon Hill run screws it up. Hmm…maybe the 89 should only run one branch?
Middays, the 89 is super clean right now: every half hour, with buses to each branch every hour. Now, it will kinda be every 40 minutes with 80 minute service on the branches, but again, it’s completely nuts! Here are some sample departures from Sullivan: 10:02, 10:28, 11:22, 11:41, 12:40, 1:00, 2:06, 2:20. So easy to remember! On Saturdays, the route will go from every 35 minutes to every 40, but at least the coordination between the branches will be a lot better. There’s a twist, though: now every third trip will go to Clarendon Hill, and the other two will run to Davis. That means Clarendon will get a bus every 110 minutes, which is next to useless. Hmm…maybe the 89 should only run one branch.
Sunday service stays at every 70 minutes, but whereas every bus used to go to Clarendon Hill, they will now be split evenly between Davis and Clarendon. Except in the early afternoon, where two trips in a row run to Clarendon. For some reason. The last trip on Sundays will also no longer wait for the last train of the night. Again, for some reason. Finally, some weird quirks: the last trip of the night, which used to serve both Clarendon and Davis, will now run straight to Clarendon; the first trip of the morning, which used to run straight from Clarendon, will now serve both Clarendon and Davis. Okay, sure. Here’s an idea: MAYBE THE 89 SHOULD ONLY RUN ONE BRANCH!!!!!!
99: Okay, this one’s a lot less drastic: most weekday trips are being shifted by about ten minutes, and a one-off morning rush short-turn from Woodland Road to Malden Center will be eliminated. I particularly like the latter cut, since one-off variants make the route unnecessarily complicated; as for the first one, it leads to a few odd frequencies, but it doesn’t change too much. Outbound service even gains a trip at night!
100: Most Saturday inbound service has been shifted back five minutes.
101: The weekday schedule is mostly untouched. One morning short-turn trip from Sullivan to Medford Square is cut, as are all weekday trips that go “via Malden Square” – thank goodness! I’ve never been a fan of that deviation, since it’s confusing, takes a while, is very well-covered by other routes, and is only about a ten-minute walk from the station. Saturday service will now be every 40 minutes instead of 35, probably to keep buses on time, but I would like to see half-hourly service someday. And Sunday service? It remains as horrible as ever.
108: Minor change first: Sunday departures are shifted back by 20 minutes. More importantly, though, they’re getting rid of the Pearl Street deviation!!!!! Take a look at the current route map to see why I’m so happy they’re killing this thing. It’s gonna save as much as ten minutes of running time once the route doesn’t have to do it!
116/117: I never noticed that the 116/117 bunch together so egregiously on Saturday nights! The two routes leave two minutes apart from each other, so you end up with headways of 2 minutes, then 28 minutes! Luckily, this will end this winter, and they’ll depart on a clean 15-minute frequency.
119: The first few weekday trips of the 119 will stop serving Tomasello Way, leaving The Shops at Suffolk Downs without bus service until around 10 AM.
120: Weekday times are mostly being shifted by around five minutes. There are a few odd gaps in the morning rush, but it’s nothing too terrible. Saturday will also have half-hourly headways all day now, which is great – currently, it’s every 35. Finally, Sunday outbound trip times are shortened, but the schedule itself is the same.
214/216: At the moment, the 214/216 exist in a wonderful harmony where each route comes every 30 minutes midday, allowing for 15-minute service on the trunk section. Well, no more. The 216 will stay every half hour, but the 214 will leave every 34 minutes. I know it’s to keep buses on time, but you can imagine how that messes up the beautiful coordination that used to exist. Similarly, rush hour gets crazier, but at least the two routes run frequently enough then that it doesn’t matter. Finally, a bus has been taken off Saturday afternoon service, so buses on the combined 214/216 will come every 20 minutes instead of every 15.
215: Weekday midday service is every 35 minutes now, but it will be stretched out to every 40.
220: The noon Saturday trip is shifted to 12:02, making it the only trip of the day that doesn’t leave at a time ending in 0 or 5. In other words, it sticks out.
225: Hey, it’s a good change! Saturday afternoon service will go from every half hour to every 20 minutes, plus there will be a new Saturday morning round trip to Columbian Square, leaving Quincy Center at 7.
238: Four inbound trips in the morning rush are departing 5-10 minutes earlier.
240: A few random weekday trips are shifting by no more than 5 minutes.
326: Don’t trust the T with this one – they say an outbound trip at 8:45 PM is being eliminated, but it’s actually an 8:45 AM trip.
428: Whoa, it’s a surprisingly big change for this thrice-daily express bus! The route is getting cut back about two miles down the road to its original (pre-1991) terminus of Oaklandvale (the intersection of Main Street and Lynn Fells Parkway)! I mean, I don’t think anyone takes this thing to the Wakefield High School, so I guess the cut makes sense. Morning rush trips are shifted back 5 minutes, but the evening departures from Haymarket are the same.
435: A couple of time shifts: the 6:40 AM weekday inbound trip will become a 6:28, while the 7:15 weekday inbound trip will become a 7:02.
436: A few random weekday departure times will shift by about 10-15 minutes.
439: Three out of the route’s ten daily trips will shift by no greater than 13 minutes. I’m confused, though, because those shifted trips are scheduled to leave Nahant before they arrive there! I have no idea how that will work.
441/442/448/449: The 448/449 will have the same number of trips, but they’re shifted around to better slot between 441/442 trips. Meanwhile, the 441/442 will come every 20 minutes during the evening rush instead of every 15. Middays and Saturdays, an effort has been made to run buses at a clean half-hour headway. It…sometimes works. Finally, we see an unfortunate drop in frequency on Sundays, from every 25-30 minutes to every 30-40 minutes.
450: When the MBTA says “weekday inbound and outbound times shifted”, they apparently mean one early-morning round-trip will be shifted back by ten minutes (the 5:10 from West Lynn Garage will become a 5:00, and the 5:40 from Salem will become a 5:30). The broad description from the T made me think the changes would be a lot more drastic than this.
Phew, that’s a lot of changes. Remember that these will come into effect on Sunday, December 23rd. Also, like I said, let me know if you like this kind of post, and I can do it for subsequent schedule changes.
Amazing digging in on this season’s changes. Not sure if it’s terribly fun for you, but I’d like to see the T just link to this page instead – I think a lot of us look up schedules or the next bus via apps for “just in time” trips in any case, but if we ever need service at the fringes of the day, this would be handy to keep in mind.
Thanks, Jules! I actually had a blast writing it – I generally look at the changes anyway, so writing a post about it gave me more reason to shuffle between PDF schedules looking for time shifts.
Even though I rarely go to Boston, this was still kinda helpful. Funny, too. Please do more of these!
Thank you so much!
I agree. Since the T isn’t giving detailed info anymore (they stopped last season, actually), I humbly thank you for providing this service. I think it’s a good idea.
Please continue this series.
Useful information, wrapped in a fun way.
Thank you for this! As a long-suffering 89 rider I appreciate your unpacking of the latest changes.
Thank you so much for putting this together!
It’s baffles me that they are cutting down on 64 morning rush service. The buses are already infrequent and crowded enough that I sometimes just walk from Union Square to Central and then taking the Red Line one stop to Kendall- at least I know when I’ll get to work and I’m not standing around in the cold. This pushes the needle even further in that direction.