In an unbelievable move that seems like it should have been released on April Fool's Day, the MBTA has instituted the following budget cuts to take effect immediately following the adoption of the 2010 budget in July, 2009. They are, and I quote:
"The MBTA [will] halt all evening and weekend commuter rail service, eliminate six Green Line stops, discontinue lightly used bus routes, and lay off 805 employees if the agency does not get legislative help with its $160 million deficit, according to a state document."
Seems a little drastic, right? Well, perhaps you don't quite understand the severity yet. Exactly what does "all evening and weekend rail service" mean? You'll be irate. It means that after 7 p.m. no commuter rail trains and no T lines will run. Anywhere in the city. At all. Ever again. As of right now, the T continues until around 1-2 a.m., and commuter rails continue up to and after midnight, including on weekends. This initiative would also eliminate all trains, including the T, during the weekend.
This means anyone wishing to visit Boston will either have to drive in or stay from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. Anyone wishing to visit a Red Sox game will be unable to do so. Anyone working on the weekends, including hospital employees, will be unable to get to work. Anyone taking college courses, including commuters, or students wishing to go home on the weekends, will be unable to get into the city. Oh, and for all those restaurants accessible off the T lines that receive heavy traffic on the weekends (including museums, bars, etc.), they'll lose all their business, forcing the city into looking like a ghost town.
Missed the 7:00 p.m. train because you had to stay late at work past your usual leaving time of 6:30? Sorry. Looks like you'll be checking into a hotel for the night. Need to get into Boston on a Saturday for a course at Northeastern? Sorry. Try arriving during Friday mid-day, then check into a hotel. Want to go to that new restaurant Saturday night? The one in Cambridge across from Porter Square? Oh, look's like we won't be able to get there...unless you can hitch a ride with a bike messenger.
Do they propose people skip to work? Park their cars on the no-longer-used rails during the weekend? This is ridiculous and absurd. I can't believe this is seriously being considered at all. In effect, Boston will become isolated, will lose much more money than they would by keeping the rails going, and many more people will lose their jobs. It's a terrible domino effect that will shatter Boston and could drive it back into the stone age. Just because a 'traditional work day' goes from 8-4, 9-5 or 10-6 doesn't mean the trains should stop after that and not run before it, and that the weekends are just for sitting at home, staring at the wall.