A mock-up of next-generation MBTA Green Line cars. (Twitter.com/MBTA)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- MBTA officials are considering changes to address overcrowding on trains.
Trains on the Green Line are on the small side, and they can be very crowded during peak times.
"We are running at a point where we are near or at capacity during the peaks, many days," MBTA COO Jeff Gonneville told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker. "We know that we have to do something to increase capacity on the line itself."
Enter the MBTA's Green Line Transformation Program. The multi-phase project would start with changes that are already underway, with the second phase including new, longer trains that would hold more passengers and be more accessible.
Gonneville said the investments to the signal system, power system, track, platforms, and more would all have had to have been made anyway--this new project is designed to get the MBTA to the point where they can run the new high-capacity cars.
In a tweet, the MBTA offered a "virtual tour" of the new cars, which it said have twice the capacity of current ones.
Because the trains would be longer by about 40 feet, there would need to be some platform changes--and some curves would need to be worked on as well.
"Our tightest curve right now is at Lechmere, that is a 42-foot radius curve, and that is being eliminated," Gonneville said.
Along with the elimination of two other tight curves in MBTA yards, Gonneville said the system would be prepared for the new high-capacity cars.
"We're certainly in the very early stages of this project," Gonneville said. "The MBTA has a fleet of vehicles right now that we're operating on the Green Line that we need to replace."
But it won't happen quickly--Gonneville said it'll be about ten years before people are riding in the new cars. He pointed out that, while the public will hopefully be riding new Orange and Red Line trains in the coming months, their arrival will be the culmination of talks that began eight years ago.
"That gives you an idea of the amount of time it takes from when you begin having some of these preliminary discussions about a future vehicle to when you are actually on, riding a vehicle itself," he said.
Noah from Brighton rides the Green Line every day. He told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker he's pleased to hear there could be some relief down the road.
"There's a lot of people who live right around here and work along the Green Line, and anything that's going to help us get people on faster so we can get to our jobs and about our lives quicker, seems like good news to me," he said.
But would he be okay with higher fares?
"Money's got to come from somewhere, so I try to be reasonable and understand that there may be needs for fare increases," Noah said. "But I try to be reasonable and understand that there may be needs for fare increases, but it's gotta have a noticable increase in capacity and speed and reliability of service for that to really be worth it."
Harriet from the South End rides the Green Line regularly from Cleveland Circle. She says she'd like the plan, but has her concerns.
"You can't say yes it's a good idea, and then when it gets here, it's not," she said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
Listen to WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker interview MBTA Deputy GM Jeff Gonneville: