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News :: Organizing
First-ever Boston Bus Marathon Demands Long Overdue Service
19 Apr 2006
First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service for Roxbury, Dorchester, & Chelsea residents.

Boston, MA--On April 18, less than 24 hours after the winning runners cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon, public transit riders from Roxbury, Dorchester, and Chelsea will board MBTA buses for a contest of their own – the first-ever Boston Bus Marathon.
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
“It takes more time to take a six-mile round trip commute from Dorchester’s Four Corners to downtown on an MBTA bus than it takes a marathon runner to finish a 26 mile route on foot,” said Khalida Smalls from the T Riders Union of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). “Our communities rely on buses to get to work, school, and shopping. And we are stuck on the bus because there is no commuter rail or subway in most inner city neighborhoods and many of us cannot afford cars.

“On April 18, we’re challenging the MBTA to run buses according to their own schedules. And we’re challenging the gubernatorial candidates to pledge new investment of transit resources in our communities.”

At 8 am, teams of marathon riders in Roxbury’s Dudley Square and Chelsea’s Bellingham Square will board buses that will take them downtown and back during a typical rush hour. They will be wearing numbered bibs representing some of the worst performing routes in the bus system.

At a noon rally and closing ceremonies at the State House, marathon riders and supporters will join with public officials, community leaders, and transit advocates to announce the teams’ results and challenge the MBTA, the state, and the gubernatorial candidates to improve the quality of public transit for lower income riders and riders of color in Greater Boston.

For many riders, the Bus Marathon simply illustrates the frustration they feel every day grappling with a transit system where the buses they depend on seldom run on time and are often overcrowded.

“I ride the 111 every day. The service is pretty bad,” said Alba Rivas from Chelsea. “Most of the time the bus is not on time, always full, with no place to sit. I think the MBTA is not providing good service to its customers. The way they treat bus riders is simply unfair.”

With the State’s 20 year transportation plan languishing in a lame duck governorship, and the region’s “Journey to 2030” plan being developed by a Metropolitan Planning Organization that has no people of color representation, Bus Marathon riders are also looking to the gubernatorial candidates for leadership.

“The Governor plays a critical role in setting transportation priorities, and allocating the needed funding to accomplish them,” said Bob Terrell, Executive Director of the Washington Street Corridor Coalition (WSCC) and member of the On the Move transportation justice coalition. “We’re challenging the current candidates to develop and announce their plans, with specific proposals for how they will improve urban transit and where they’ll get the funding to do it. For too long, communities of color and lower income communities have been treated like second-class customers.”

More information about the Bus Marathon, including a Bus Marathon blog can be found at:
http://www.ace-ej.org/tru/busmarathon

(Photos by Jonathan)
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service
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First-ever Boston Bus Marathon demands long overdue service

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More Photos
19 Apr 2006
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Re: First-ever Boston Bus Marathon Demands Long Overdue Service
19 Apr 2006
awesome pics, like always...
Re: First-ever Boston Bus Marathon Demands Long Overdue Service
21 Apr 2006
know what sucks? A lot of the liberal or "progressive" groups are going to try and sue the MTBA or contracting BECHTEL for the Big Dig. I mean the MTBA should have new management- but why sue when the money can go to better projects? instead of sueing the MTBA they should be sueing BECHTEL for underestimating the ridiculous amount of money that is being spent on the project. Thats where all the transportation money is going and you can thank the Highway lobby, BECHTEL and the MTBA.
Re: First-ever Boston Bus Marathon Demands Long Overdue Service
21 Apr 2006
what groups are doing that?
Re: First-ever Boston Bus Marathon Demands Long Overdue Service
28 Apr 2006
The bus marathon was a good thing. But the most important issue now for working people is the proposed fare increases slated for early next year. ACE/T Riders' Union have said nothing about the fare increases despite the fact that they did do some organizing against the 2004 fare increases. What is up with ignoring the upcoming 25% fare increases for bus and subway? ACE/T Riders Union should organize against the fare increases, first and foremost. I'm a member of TRU but that doesn't seem to mean much.
What bugs me is MBTA waste
10 May 2006
The MBTA spent 35 million dollars on the system that announces "The northbound train is now arriving". How many extra bus trips could that money have provided? I bet they could have increased frequencies on plenty of lines, and run the entire Night Owl service for a few years with that money.

I don't even want to think about how much the CharlieTicket system is costing. (Transit vending machines typically cost about $200,000 *each*, and then there's the turnstiles and communication system). It clearly doesn't save time for bus passengers, since swiping tickets and putting coins into the new fareboxes is much slower than the old system. And I doubt it costs less to maintain and operate. It strikes me as high-tech for high-tech's sake -- politicians like flashy new electronic systems, but nobody can have their picture taken in front of a more-frequent Route 111 bus schedule.
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