BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — As part of Phase Two Step Two of the state's economic reopening plan, offices are allowed to return to 50 percent capacity starting Monday, June 22nd.
For the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency, that means an expected increase in ridership across the region.
In preparation for the expected jump in the number of commuters on buses and trains, the MBTA has announced several additional services, and a new tool that will help customers track crowding.
On Sunday, the Blue Line will return to regular weekday service. There will also be increased weekday service for the Red, Orange, Green, and Mattapan Lines, and for nearly 60 bus routes.
On Monday, commuter rail service will be increased, and eight additional trains will be running on weekdays on the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line.
Although schedules will be slightly reduced and ridership will be limited, MBTA ferries will also resume service from Hull, Hingham and Charlestown on Monday.
The MBTA also said there will be a suspension of the Green Line C and D branch trolley service between several stations, effective June 20 until the end of service Sunday June 28 as essential infrastructure work is done.
To help keep riders and staff safe as people return to work amid the pandemic, the MBTA has announced a "new real-time bus crowding information tool" for customers.
“We’re excited to offer this new real-time feature as a pilot to our riders to help limit crowding as customers begin to return to the MBTA system,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “With riders requesting information about crowding, this new real-time information provides riders with the confidence and flexibility to make informed choices about their commutes.”
The MBTA says beginning Saturday June 19, riders can find real-time crowding information for Routes 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109, and 110 at mbta.com/schedules, on digital signs, and within the Transit app.
"The MBTA selected this first set of nine bus routes to pilot real-time information as these are busy routes with notably high ridership during the pandemic," said the MBTA in a statement online. "For each route, the MBTA’s Customer Technology team verified the accuracy of real-time crowding information through manual passenger counts."
Crowding levels will be described as “Crowded,” “Some Crowding,” and “Not Crowded.” The MBTA says the standards are based on the "temporarily lowered crowding threshold standards that accommodate social distancing measures."
The MBTA says all customers and staff will be required to wear face coverings while riding the T, the CharlieCard store is closed until further notice, and stations and vehicles are being cleaned and sanitized with increased frequency.
(Photo: Getty Images)