If you’re an MBTA bus rider in Newton, chances are you’re already alarmed by the many of the T’s plans to eliminate routes and frequency across the city.

But those of us who never — or rarely — step on a T bus should be alarmed too.

Here’s why:

  • The changes will make it harder for many transit-dependent workers to get to jobs, including essential jobs Newton and our neighboring communities.
  • The T’s plan to eliminate some entire bus routes and reduce frequency of others will force those who prefer to use public transit into cars, increasing local traffic and carbon emissions.

The service changes are part of the T’s unfortunately-named Better Bus Project, which does many good and important things in some underserved communities by adding capacity and frequency.

But it’s not “better” for Newton where, optimistically, we’re years away from resolving inadequate commuter rail service and are just now adding housing stock and jobs that depend on transit to be successful.

Here’s what Newton’s losing

The T’s “Better Bus” Newton plan would permanently eliminate many bus routes that were well-used before the pandemic (including popular express buses). The new plan also eliminates many of the stop gap routes that have been inadequately serving commuters and employers since.

Lost routes include:

  • service on Chapel and Adams Street in Nonantum (home to a growing cluster of bio, technology and other companies) as well as service along a key parts of Crafts Street;
  • a route along Commonwealth Ave and Washington Street near Newton Wellesley hospital; and
  • service along Eliot Street, just as the Northland and other projects are being developed in that corridor.
There are literally dozens of other changes too, which you can view on these maps. (But remember the routes marked “the network today” don’t reflect the network of two years ago, so this is a double whammy.)

To learn more read this letter from Mayor Fuller and city council leadership.

Okay, so we need your voice

Please join the Chamber by sharing your concerns about the bus service reductions in Newton. Send a short email to BetterBusProject@mbta.com or call 617-222-3011.

You can also comment during a virtual public meeting on the Better Bus Network Redesign for our region on June 28 at 6 pm. Register here.


The author, Greg Reibman, is the President of the Charles River Regional Chamber.