A standing-room only crowd gathered at the Golden Age Center on Friday to hear from MBTA officials who are executing the Better Bus project, which has taken away the final leg of the 92 bus going to Assembly Row.
The crowd was mostly older adults, but they brought a raucous Charlestown spirit with them, letting planners from the T know that they didn’t appreciate the change – a change made without really consulting many elderly in the Town.
Wes Edwards told the crowd that the change to the 92 was based on low ridership to Assembly Square, and by getting rid of it, that would provide more frequent service along the rest of the route – including Main Street. He explained riders could still get to Assembly by transferring to the Orange Line at Sullivan Square and walking to the mall from the new Assembly Station. He talked about changes to bus lanes downtown and more frequent service from Somerville.
All that added up to a big, fat nothing.
Those in the room cared nothing for such promises.
They were primarily concerned about getting to K-Mart and Christmas Tree Shops at the mall.
It was a fact that Edwards was quite clear on upon leaving the rough-and-tumble gathering.
Live and learn.
“The conversation should have been with the people and not just the elected officials,” said Kelly Tucker. “This is so unjust to the elderly. It’s just push them aside and do what we want. Once they get to Assembly it’s a hike from the Orange Line.”
Said Elaine McCarthy, “We need this transportation to get over there. There’s nothing left for us in this Town. We have to shop over there. None of us can get off and get onto the train and get off again. We need that bus.”
Moe Gillen said it’s about quality of life for many elderly.
“Residents want a quality of life to get to the Assembly Mall,” he said. “If you ask them to take the 92 and transfer to a train and walk over there, that gives no satisfaction.”
The MBTA Fiscal Control Board did approve the change a few weeks ago, but it is a pilot program and can be rescinded, something that Councilors Michelle Wu and Lydia Edwards and State Rep. Dan Ryan emphasized.
The 93 bus was supposed to have its Navy Yard leg removed, but Wes Edwards said that was taken off the table as residents had requested it stay.