BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Due to the coronavirus, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is changing its guidelines for overcrowding on public transportation.
According to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, the agency is trying to avoid passengers standing shoulder-to-shoulder as the state economy gradually reopens and workers start returning to the city.
"Our old service delivery policy used to consider a bus with 58 people on it to be crowded," said Poftak. "We will now consider a bus with 20 people on it to be crowded."
Poftak said with lower ridership due to stay-at-home orders, the MBTA has also been able to work on Blue Line tracks that would have otherwise been constructed on weekends throughout the year.
Several businesses and general office spaces outside Boston reopened this week, and the state is closing in on entering Phase Two of the economic reopening plan.
Poftak said since that will likely increase the T's ridership from its current rate, staff will be working to keep count of bus and train capacity at all times.
"We will track that to the extent feasible," said Poftak, "and we will attempt to provide additional service where we can."
The MBTA is also working with employers to spread out ridership demand, and Gov. Baker is urging employers to stagger work start times, or to allow employees to work remotely if possible.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe reports: