Meeting Summary

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

Pilot Transit Working Group

November 12, 2020, Meeting

2:30 PM–4:30 PM, Zoom Web Conference

Meeting Agenda

1.     Welcome and Meeting Guidelines—Tegin Teich, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff, and Michelle Scott, MPO Staff

M. Scott welcomed the attendees to the third meeting of the Pilot Transit Working Group and introduced Tegin Teich. T. Teich explained that the Central Transportation Planning Staff provides staff support to the MPO and its committees and also carries out technical and planning studies to support the MPO’s partners in the region. She mentioned there is a new page with frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the MPO’s website.

T. Teich explained that the Transit Working Group is a good forum for transit providers to discuss topics of common interest.  She noted that this working group is still in a pilot phase and that MPO staff’s goals are to determine the structure of the group moving forward and to foster stronger connections between transit providers and the MPO. MPO staff hope to host these meetings on a quarterly basis. More information about the group is available on the MPO website.

T. Teich explained that at this meeting MBTA staff will speak about Forging Ahead, which is an MBTA initiative and not an MPO initiative. The Forging Ahead initiative focuses on what ridership and economic recovery may look like after the COVID-19 pandemic and how to develop a service package in light of budget challenges. T. Teich noted that the MBTA holds a seat on the MPO board and that the MPO has the responsibility of approving the allocation of federal dollars for capital projects. The MBTA determines its priorities and brings proposals to the MPO that explain how it wishes to allocate the federal funding available, and the MPO board has the opportunity to approve that allocation. MBTA staff will be coming to the MPO in upcoming weeks to discuss how they would like to change their allocation of federal funding as part of the Forging Ahead process.

T. Teich asked attendees to use the Zoom chat function to introduce themselves and note their affiliations if they have one. Kate White (MPO staff) noted that there were attendees representing non-profits, transit providers, transportation advisory groups, state and municipal representatives, and transportation management associations (TMAs).  

M. Scott stated that the MPO’s Pilot Transit Working Group has two functions. The first is to provide a space for transit providers in the Boston region to connect and coordinate with each other. The second is to help connect the region’s transit providers, other agencies, and other groups operating in the transit space to the work of the MPO.

2. MPO Transit Activities Update—Sandy Johnston, Michelle Scott, and Paul Christner, MPO Staff

Community Connections Program

S. Johnston introduced himself as the project manager for the MPO’s new Community Connections program within the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), for which the MPO has allocated approximately $2 million dollars per year. He explained that the MPO seeks to fund first- and last-mile solutions, community transportation, and other small nontraditional transportation projects. Eligible participants include municipalities and regional transit authorities, transportation management associations (TMAs) or other organizations that have partnered with eligible entities in the Boston region can also apply. Grants are given directly only to a governmental entity. Information about the Community Connections program is available at

S. Johnston described the eligible project categories for the round of funding available for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022, which include automatic vehicle location (AVL), bike supportive infrastructure, bus lanes, education about transportations options, E-lnk signs for MBTA bus stops, parking management, transit operations (new bus or shuttle service), and transit signal priority. He explained that Community Connections (CC) applications were released on October 30, 2020, and are due December 11, 2020. In January and February of 2021, MPO staff would score projects and selected projects would be approved with the TIP. Funds become available at the start of FFY 2022, which begins in October 2021. MPO staff will provide a more detailed presentation about the program on Monday, November 16, 2020; registration details are available on the MPO meeting calendar.

Brad Rawson (City of Somerville) noted that Somerville’s seat on the MPO board represents the 21 municipalities in the Inner Core subregion, and he thanked MPO staff for the creativity of the Community Connections program. He said that the Inner Core seat on the MPO board has been emphasizing transit operations and moving people instead of vehicles, and that this program is an important way to leverage federal financing processes to do what the Inner Core communities are asking for. Somerville worked on a successful application focused on transit signal priority in a high delay bus corridor in Davis Square and the City has a fantastic partnership with the MBTA’s transit staff. He encouraged all in the Inner Core to know that Somerville represents them and he encouraged them to reach out.  S. Johnston replied that he encourages collaboration between different entities for this program and all programs the MPO maintains. The project that Somerville and the MBTA have put together is a strong example of coordination.

Regional Transit Service Planning Technical Assistance

Paul Christner (MPO Staff) described the Regional Transit Service Planning Technical Support program. This program offers funding every FFY to provide technical support related to route planning, ridership, cost effectiveness, and other service characteristics, such as fare policy and transit service. Eligible applicants include regional transit authorities (RTA), TMAs, municipalities, and MAPC subregions. He noted that MPO staff provides technical support for transit services that are open to the public, but not for private or limited transit services.

P. Christner noted that in recent years, MPO staff have worked on a fare policy analysis for the Town of Lexington and worked with the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) to explore incorporating microtransit into part of its service area. MPO staff have also worked with Crosstown Connect to support connectivity to the MBTA’s commuter rail system. Information about this technical assistance program is available at  

Other MPO Transit Studies

P. Christner also spoke about upcoming transit-related studies included in the MPO’s FFY 2021 Unified Planning Work Program. He described a Future of the Curb Phase 2 study that would focus on producing a guidebook about curb management for municipalities. He also mentioned an Access to Central Business Districts Phase 2 study. The work scope for this second study will be discussed at the November 19, 2020, UPWP Committee meeting. The previous Future of the Curb and Access to Central Business District studies can be accessed at  

TIP Criteria Update

M. Scott mentioned that at the July 2020 Transit Working Group meeting, MPO staff spoke about a process to update the TIP project evaluation criteria. She explained that the TIP is a short-term investment program that puts funds toward capital and operating projects to support the transportation system. M. Scott said this new set of criteria was adopted in October 2020 and thanked those who were involved in the decision making. Transit elements are interwoven throughout the new criteria, and include items related to improving transit assets and improving bus mobility on the region’s roadways. More information about these criteria is available at  

3.    Taxi/Livery Transportation Partnerships Grant Program—Marah Holland, Metropolitan Area Planning Council




M. Holland described the Taxi, Livery, and Hackney Transportation Partnerships Grant Program, which is supported by a partnership between MAPC and MassDevelopment. An initial amount of funding was provided through this partnership program in the summer and fall of 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic—25 grantees in Massachusetts received approximately $1 million dollars to partner with taxi, livery, and hackney companies. This funding was provided specifically to help vulnerable populations access essential services. State and local agencies, RTAs, and health and human service providers were eligible to receive this grant funding. 

M. Holland explained that the second round of this partnership program opened at the end of October 2020. It supports the taxi and livery industry, in partnership with public agencies and non-profits, to provide new public transportation as well as non-emergency medical transportation and food and prescription deliveries. She anticipated that the maximum grant award to a single entity would be $250,000, and 95 percent of funds would be passed directly to taxi, livery, or hackney partners. Grantees may use up to five percent of the grant for administrative costs.  

Eligible entities include state and local agencies, regional transit authorities, health and human service providers, and non-profits. These entities must partner with a taxi, livery, or hackney company currently registered to do business in Massachusetts and not debarred on any state or federal list. There are no restrictions related to the types of trips or populations served.

M. Holland noted that the source of funds for this program was established by state law in 2016 and comes from a 20-cent fee on rides from transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft. Five of those 20 cents goes to MassDevelopment, five goes to the municipality where the ride originated, and ten cents goes to the MBTA. MassDevelopment allocates two-thirds of its share of the funds to a program that provides taxi, livery, and hackney operators with financial assistance to secure products or services that help them compete and enhance their safety capabilities as the for-hire transportation industry evolves. That grant ended in September 2020, but future cycles are anticipated. The remaining third of these funds support the Taxi, Livery, and Hackney Transportation Partnerships Grant Program. The program is currently distributing funds that were collected in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The amount of funds that will be collected in 2020 is uncertain, because there has been a decrease in the number of people using Uber and Lyft during the pandemic.

M. Holland explained that today was the last day that interested parties could submit questions about the program that would be addressed in a frequently-asked questions document. Applications for funding are due November 20, 2020, at 5:00 PM. The program is expected to announce grant awards in December. The legal notices page for the program includes application materials, scoring criteria, and other information.


Laura Gilmore (Massachusetts Port Authority) asked about what types of projects and grantees received funding during the spring program cycle. M. Holland responded that most of the recipients supported deliveries, trips to the grocery store, or non-emergency medical transportation. Because the program focused on vulnerable populations, grantees served veterans, home-bound individuals, seniors, the homeless populations and others who depended on transportation that became unavailable during the pandemic.

M. Scott asked about the types of criteria that are used to evaluate and select projects.   M. Holland said that when reviewing project descriptions, they look at whether Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transportation services are available, how well the safety measures comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) transportation safety guidelines, and how the project coordinates with transit to ensure that the project is not providing duplicative service. She added that reviewers look at the project budget, how trip requests are handled, how well their program exemplifies the goals put forth in the grant description, and how achievable their timeline is for their program. She noted that funds from this grant program need to be spent by December 31, 2021.

Susan Barrett (Town of Lexington) asked how much funding will be distributed this cycle. M. Holland replied that they have $2.5 million to distribute. S. Barrett asked if the program collects trip origin-destination data, noting that there may be privacy issues involved in collecting and sharing that data. M. Holland responded that they have not been collecting that type of data. They have collected information on trip purpose and the people being served, but they have allowed grantees to run their programs as needed. M. Holland said she expected that there would be a similar reporting approach for this grant cycle, although they may consider collecting and sharing information that could help identify and address transit gaps.

Dan Carty (Town of Sudbury) noted that Sudbury received funding in the spring to launch its taxi program, which has been helpful getting older residents, financially vulnerable people, veterans, and essential workers rides to where they need to go. Sudbury has been operating its program for about five weeks, and one priority of the program has been providing rides to wheelchair-bound people while senior center vehicles are not running. He offered to provide information about their experience to others who are interested in applying.

4.    Transit Provider Exchange

M. Scott explained that this agenda item is an open exchange for transit providers to share updates and questions. She offered a few questions for starting conversations.

S. Barrett described recent changes the Lexpress bus system has made to make things easier for its most transit dependent riders, who make up the majority of Lexpress riders. The bus routes now travel out to destinations and back as opposed to following one-way loops, and Lexpress now offers service to Lahey Hospital in Burlington. She noted that Lexpress’s ridership has decreased. Sixty-five percent of typical adult ridership is now using the service, and these riders typically work in retail, childcare and grocery stores. S Barrett added that approximately 20 percent of Lexpress’s senior ridership, made up of people who typically use Lexpress for grocery or medical trips, has returned. She added that Lexpress has received a taxi grant to provide non-emergency medical transportation. The largest decrease in ridership has been among Lexpress’s youth riders because of the shift to remote learning.  

S. Barrett noted that it can be difficult to align an approach for taking advantage of funding opportunities because of the grants’ varied timelines. She added that it is difficult to plan for future years, especially given the uncertainty related to changes in MBTA service. Lexington has developed its budget for FY 2022, and while it will not be approved until the following spring it is difficult to make changes at this point. She said she was curious how other towns are planning given the unknowns.

Eric Burkman (MBTA) described how the MBTA is working on transit priority in response to the pandemic. His group focuses on bus lanes and transit signal priority (TSP) to help buses move faster and more reliably. In the early phase of the pandemic, the MBTA had to change the way it defined crowding on buses, which cut the overall system capacity in half. The MBTA directed capital funding to routes that had high levels of crowding even after the early days of the pandemic, with the goal of implementing bus lanes to provide better service with the same number of buses and operators, and to spread crowds out over more trips. The MBTA is implementing a rapid-response bus lanes program to achieve the level of capacity it had before the pandemic by offering more trips, and it has formed partnerships with Boston, Everett, Cambridge, Somerville, Revere, Lynn, Chelsea, and others as part of this program. He added that the MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces grant program has helped this initiative. The MBTA did not take advantage of MPO funding because these projects were happening on a different timeline. He offered to talk with RTAs to address TSP or bus lane issues and provide technical assistance.

B. Rawson thanked the MBTA for offering a great resource in this area, and he commented that the knowledge base built intentionally by the MBTA has resulted in an incredible growth of professionals that Somerville leans on every day. He mentioned that he meets with E. Burkman and his team weekly and that Somerville has five active projects that it can accomplish because of their knowledge about scheduling, routing, geometry, operations, safety, and other tradeoffs.

5.    MBTA Forging Ahead Plan and Service Options—Laurel Paget-Seekins, MBTA, Assistant General Manager for Policy

1.    MBTA Forging Ahead


M. Scott introduced L. Paget-Seekins, who has been with the MBTA for six years and works on initiatives involving the intersection of data, policy, and community engagement. Her team works on policy for fares and service, and she is coordinating a cross-agency working group for the transition following the COVID-19 pandemic and playing an important role in the Forging Ahead initiative.

L. Paget-Seekins explained that Forging Ahead is the process the MBTA is using to focus its operating and capital resources on the riders who depend most on the MBTA for frequent and reliable service. She stated that the MBTA is evaluating internal spending, assessing its capital program, and reallocating limited funds from capital to operating funds, and defining a core of essential services. She provided an overview of the MBTA’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget spending by category, as well as approaches for addressing the MBTA’s anticipated budget gaps in FY 2022.  

She noted that ridership has decreased dramatically due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and weather events. She said that the MBTA currently provides 330,000 trips per day, which is down from 1.2 million trips a year ago, while effectively operating the same amount of service. As part of planning for an uncertain future, the MBTA has worked with the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (OTP), which offered three different scenarios reflecting variations in travel patterns, the economy, and the course of the pandemic. The MBTA then projected ridership by mode to consider how much capacity it may need in the future. When planning for the future, the MBTA is also considering how it can build upon pre-pandemic plans to improve its bus and rail networks. She noted that this will be an iterative process, and the MBTA will monitor data and add back service as ridership and revenue return.  

L. Paget-Seekins explained that the MBTA is focused on core essential services that the MBTA has identified based on ridership potential and whether they serve transit-critical populations. The MBTA reviewed its various services on a common set of metrics and aimed for these services to perform as good or better than MBTA Service Delivery Policy standards for frequency and span. 

She then described the MBTA’s proposal for base service for commuter rail, ferry, rapid transit, bus, and The RIDE paratransit. Base service is the proposed new service level that reflects the majority of essential service and a reduced level of non-essential service. The proposal reflects 85 percent of pre-COVID service hours for bus, 70 percent of pre-COVID service hours for transit, 65 percent of pre-COVID service hours for commuter rail, and suspension of ferry service. The MBTA anticipates that its coverage metric, which is the share of households in the MBTA service area that have access to the MBTA within a half-mile, will drop from 82 percent to 78.5 percent. Approximately one percent of pre-COVID trips on The RIDE would be shifted from ADA fares to premium fares, and the scheduling window would increase from 30 minutes to 40 minutes.  The base package would also eliminate funding for the suburban subsidy program, which supports five services that have that have low ridership.

L. Paget-Seekins also described packages of service changes that could be added on to base service as funding becomes available. The MBTA is seeking feedback from the public and the Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) so that it can make service-related decisions more quickly. The MBTA presented proposed service changes to the FMCB on November 9, and staff will present proposed service changes again on December 7, after a public engagement period. The FMCB’s vote will be contingent on the results of transportation equity and air quality analysis. Changes will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as part of the MBTA’s quarterly service planning process.

She explained that the MBTA is seeking feedback on whether their approach is right, what improvements could be made to the base service, and how the MBTA should prioritize service packages as it adds service back in the future. She listed online public engagement tools that people can use to provide feedback, including an interactive map, comment form, email address, and a list of upcoming public meetings.


S. Barrett noted that she has received calls from people who have no real way to participate in the Forging Ahead public meetings because they need to participate by phone. L. Paget-Seekins replied that the MBTA is working on a solution for this issue.  

Brian Kane (MBTA Advisory Board) asked where the MBTA planned to terminate five bus routes that it proposed to shorten and how it would consolidate a proposed set of 14 bus routes. L. Paget-Seekins responded that most of these changes reflect service the MBTA is running now, with several bus routes terminating at Newton Corner, and added that she would email more details to him.

Sarah Lee (MAPC) said that she has heard about COVID-19 vaccines coming out in the spring and noted that people will be eager to get back to work at the same time the MBTA may be starting to implement commuter rail and other service changes. L. Paget-Seekins replied that she had met with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to get the best information available about the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts, when it will be happening, and how it will be phased. She said that commuter rail will be operating at 85 percent of previous service around that time, so options will be available for people returning to work. She noted that one challenge facing the MBTA is that fare revenue growth will lag behind ridership growth, especially since more people are traveling on the bus as opposed to commuter rail right now. The MBTA will need to monitor ridership and revenues to determine how to best restore service, and the scenario planning being done will support these decisions. S. Lee asked if service on the commuter rail could return to pre-COVID levels if the MBTA was given additional funding from the federal government or important information in April or May. L. Paget-Seekins responded that it takes time for decisions to be made and that the MBTA expects ridership to return gradually, especially given changes in telework levels, so there should be enough capacity in the short term.

L. Paget-Seekins responded to a question from the chat box about the MBTA’s bus network redesign by saying that it is still in progress. An update about the effort will be provided at the November 23, 2020, FMCB meeting in the context of Forging Ahead to make sure these projects are aligned.  

Todd Blake (City of Medford) asked if the MBTA considers making decisions at the community level. He noted that four of the 25 bus routes proposed for elimination are in Medford, which seems disproportionate. L Paget-Seekins replied that they reviewed proposals at the route and community level and acknowledged that proposed changes would have more impacts on some communities than others. She said the MBTA is open to having conversations with communities to see what can be done.

L. Paget-Seekins answered a question from S. Lee about proposed schedules. She stated that proposed headways for rapid transit can be found at the MBTA Forging Ahead website on a dropdown menu. The MBTA is awaiting more data on current and possible future ridership before creating bus and commuter rail schedules.

S. Barrett commented that one of the MBTA’s online survey questions asks for the route number of a bus the respondent has taken during the pandemic. She noted that respondents cannot indicate that they have taken bus routes that have been suspended. This is a concern because suspended routes may be ones the respondents have relied on before the pandemic. She expressed hope that the MBTA will be able to get a sense of that kind of information. She added that she appreciates the MBTA’s attention to transit-critical riders, but she noted that those riders live everywhere. It will be difficult to close those gaps with alternatives like the taxi program, and it may not be sustainable to support commutes with demand response service. S. Barrett also asked if the region as a whole will be saving money because of these changes, or if only the MBTA will be saving money. She encouraged the MBTA to continue to hold regional meetings as service is restored.

S. Barrett noted that the MBTA plans to eliminate subsidies for the suburban bus programs, which support transit-critical ridership. She noted that the MBTA reports the revenue miles from these services to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and receives funding that is passed on to the suburban services. She added that this process, which she would like to learn more about, does not cost the MBTA anything and the MBTA might even benefit financially from it. She also commented that the students’ return to schools and colleges will mean that more people, including parents, will be returning to workplaces, which create uncertainties in addition to the vaccine rollout.

L. Paget-Seekins answered a chat-box question about the estimated savings that would come from the proposed changes. She said overall the MBTA estimates there will be approximately $128 million in gross annual savings from the service reductions.

B. Rawson asked if L. Paget-Seekins could comment on specific proposals to move capital dollars into operational funds, given the importance of Red and Orange Line projects and other improvements. He expressed appreciation for the recent work that the MBTA has done to accelerate capital improvements during the pandemic. L. Paget-Seekins responded that the MBTA will discuss a proposal about this at the December 3, 2020, MPO meeting. Information is also available in the presentation made to the FMCB on November 9, 2020. In general, the proposal would limit the amount of money and the number of years that money can be transferred from the capital budget to the operating budget to ensure that the MBTA can continue to do work needed to upgrade and rebuild the core system. The proposal would pause some projects that the MBTA would later revisit during its capital investment planning process.

M. Scott asked L. Paget-Seekins to revisit her request for feedback and comments. L. Paget-Seekins mentioned that some of the MBTA’s community liaisons were on the call and taking notes that they will forward to her. This feedback will be considered in the MBTA’s decision making.

Caitlin Allen-Connelly (A Better City) asked for more detail about the feedback the MBTA is seeking in terms of the service packages that would be added on to the base service. L. Paget-Seekins explained that they are seeking feedback that will help the MBTA make tradeoffs between frequency and span of service, which will be necessary when service can be added back. Feedback from customers about the convenience and level of access those service packages provide is helpful. The MBTA is also interested in feedback about how the agency should respond to new travel demand patterns. MBTA would like feedback to support both immediate and future responses. C. Allen-Connelly asked if the service packages reflect what could be prioritized as the MBTA is restoring service. L. Paget-Seekins concurred and added that the base service package and other proposed service packages may be refined in response to public comment in the near term, and that comment would inform other changes that could be made as more funding becomes available. She added that the balance between supporting capital and operating investments is another area where trade-offs will be made, and this will affect opportunities to add service.

C. Allen-Connelly asked at what point the MBTA might decide not to make service changes on particular modes if federal funding becomes available. L. Paget-Seekins said she could not answer that question yet, as the MBTA is still determining timeframes for implementing changes and that these decisions are based on many details. C. Allen-Connelly asked if there was a proposal for reinstating all those services described in the service packages at once. L. Paget-Seekins replied that the MBTA would need to consider demand, ridership, and revenue factors when making these decisions.  

L. Paget-Seekins responded to a question about how data about riders who may return is being collected. She explained that there are a number of data sources, including ongoing customer panel surveys of both current and noncurrent riders, and surveys of employers that ask when they may bring employees back to work sites. The MBTA also reviews data about travel patterns on other modes, which include data being collected by MassDOT, which is also doing a study on telework to understand how travel patterns may change in the future. She added that the MBTA will continue to rely on community feedback and acknowledged that data sets do not cover everyone. 

Jarred Johnson (TransitMatters) asked about the efficacy of cuts. TransitMatters analyzed data from the National Transit Database (NTD) and noted that the amount of service that may be cut will generate a smaller amount of savings because the fixed costs of operating transit are high. He asked whether the MBTA was accounting for (1) lost revenue from trips that people were not taking, including cases where riders are only taking transit for part of a round trip; and (2) for the additional trips The RIDE may need to provide to help some riders access bus routes after changes are made. He expressed concern about a “transit death spiral” that could occur because, when routes are taken away, people will purchase cars as an alternative means of transportation. He asked about the Massachusetts secretary of transportation’s recent comments about saving federal funds that may become available, as opposed to spending them to restore service. 

L. Paget-Seekins responded that the MBTA is analyzing the fare revenue impacts of these changes and will present results at an upcoming meeting. She noted that this type of analysis can be tricky given all the factors involved and that the MBTA is using ridership projections from the scenarios to present a range of possible results. Her team is working with the MBTA’s Systemwide Accessibility staff and other stakeholders from organizations that serve people with disabilities to understand the impacts of bus route changes. She added that car ownership is an important factor affecting both peak and off-peak transit ridership and has its own associated fixed costs. She explained that the MBTA incorporated zero-to-low car households in their definition of transit-critical populations to make sure their trips were accounted for when planning essential service. The potential for a death spiral was one of the reasons why the MBTA did not make across-the-board cuts to service. Instead, the MBTA worked to preserve essential services at or better than Service Delivery Policy thresholds and to have consistent frequency on high-ridership routes to address crowding. She acknowledged that frequency is important for generating high ridership and aimed to preserve frequency on high-frequency bus and rapid transit lines.   

With respect to the secretary’s comments about federal funding, L. Paget-Seekins said she would not try to speak for the secretary, but she noted that it is important to understand the sustainability of various funding sources and changes in travel patterns to provide service where it is needed. She explained that the most equitable and efficient approach for the MBTA to take is to understand where ridership is and try to serve that ridership. As additional funding becomes available, MBTA staff will use their framework to determine how to add service based on existing and potential ridership and the need to avoid crowding. She clarified that the MBTA would not necessarily save the money, rather the MBTA would not necessarily add service back to where it was before because ridership patterns have changed.

T. Blake asked whether data will make it easier to notice changes in ridership on routes that still exist, and he asked how the MBTA will collect data on routes that no longer exist. L. Paget-Seekins responded that the MBTA will rely on other sources, including passenger surveys, community stakeholders, cities and towns, community organizations, and other travel data. She agreed that the MBTA will have to do the most work to understand the impacts of where service has been eliminated altogether.

S. Barrett asked if, in addition to revenue losses, the MBTA might lose some FTA funding because it is operating less service. L. Paget-Seekins said she was not the expert in that area and noted that FTA is likely evaluating that issue because every transit agency in the nation is in a similar circumstance. 

B. Rawson stated that in recent weeks there has been some helpful commentary and advocacy from the members of the Massachusetts legislature. He acknowledged that the staff at MassDOT and the MBTA have been working around the clock to minimize the pain related to service changes and spread it in an equitable fashion. He said he hears that members of the Massachusetts legislature who attended this week’s FMCB meeting would like to hear about emergency and bridge funding. He encouraged attendees to work within their roles, networks, and spheres to advocate for the value of reliable, equitable transit in the Commonwealth regardless of their location in the region. He said that they should work together to find resources for the MBTA to do its job and deliver the service for mobility that the region needs.

L. Paget-Seekins reminded the group that the MBTA is really looking for feedback on the base service proposal and encouraged them to let others know about the website, the public comment tool, and the map so the MBTA can give the best level of service possible, given the resources available.

Tom Kadzis (City of Boston) noted that there are challenges related to the availability of operators and vessels when operating ferry service. He urged the MBTA to be cognizant of changes to vendor availability if the ferry system is shut down for more than a short time. He said that, in the MPO’s experience, money is available for ferry service but it can be difficult to get boats and operators. L. Paget-Seekins responded that the MBTA is looking into this issue.

M. Scott said there would be an email with links and a post-meeting survey. She noted there will be future Pilot Transit Working Group Meetings on a quarterly basis.


Attendee Name

Attendee Affiliation

Susan Barrett

Town of Lexington

Jeff Bennett

128 Business Council

Todd Blake

City of Medford

Eric Burkman

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Caitlin Allen-Connelly

A Better City

Dan Carty

Town of Sudbury

Antonio Castaneda


Makayla Comas


Julie DeMauro

City of Revere

Lenard Diggins

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Nicholas Downing

City of Salem

Maria Foster

Brookline Council on Aging

Glenn Ann Geiler

Brockton Area Transit Authority

Jennifer Gelinas

Town of Burlington

Laura Gilmore

Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)

Jennifer Henning


Marah Holland

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Terry Holmgren

Triangle, Inc.

Alicia Hunt

City of Medford

Jarred Johnson


Tom Kadzis

City of Boston

Brian Kane

MBTA Advisory Board

John Keegan

S.C.M. Community Transportation Corporation

Todd Kirrane

Town of Brookline

Ali Kleyman

City of Somerville

John Kypwe

Massachusetts Sierra Club

Aniko Laszlo


Andrea Leary

Northeast Transit Planning & Management Corp.

Sarah Lee


Jillian Linnell


Amitai Lipton


Michael Littman

Howard Stein Hudson

Owen MacDonald

Town of Weymouth

Anne McKinnon

Jacobs Engineering

David Montgomery

Town of Needham

Daniel Mueller


Benjamin Muller

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)

Albert Ng

Massachusetts Port Authority

Jane Obbagy

Obbagy Consulting

Steven Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council

Aileen O'Rourke

North Shore Transportation Management Association (TMA)

Laurel Paget-Seekins


Robert Pierson

Norfolk County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Count of Norfolk

Russell Plides

(none provided)

Brad Rawson

City of Somerville

Judi Riley


Meg Robertson

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

T. Roy

(none provided)

Alyssa Sandoval

Town of Bedford

Thomas Schiavone


Allison Simmons

Northease Consulting Group

Patrick Sullivan

Seaport TMA

Gregory Sobczynski


Elizabeth Torres


Jim Wensley


Laura Wiener

Town of Watertown

Grecia White


Kym Williams

Blue Hills Community Health Alliance

Stephen Winslow

Malden City Council

Tom Yardley

Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Annette Demchur, Director of Policy and Planning

Matt Archer

Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Church

Paul Christner

Róisín Foley

Matt Genova

Betsy Harvey

Ryan Hicks

Sandy Johnston

Anne McGahan

Jeffrey Rosenblum

Michelle Scott

Kate White


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
857.702.3700 (voice)
617.570.9193 (TTY)