On April 18, the day after the fastest runners complete the Boston Marathon on foot in a little over 2 hours, riders in the first-ever Boston Bus Marathon will find out how far they can get on an MBTA bus in that amount of time. Teams of everyday MBTA riders in Roxbury, Dorchester and Chelsea will ride the "marathon routes" they must use in their communities to get to work, school, or grocery shopping.
As public and media attention builds for the New England’s famous road race, we’ll be sharpening the focus on the daily marathon of MBTA bus riders, drawing attention to their message: That everyone deserves access to first class public transportation, and that the MBTA should begin by running its buses according to its own schedules. The Boston Bus Marathon will focus on the challenges riders face in navigating a second class system. For example:
- Riding the bus in Chelsea makes you late. In Chelsea, the #117 Bus is late nearly half the time (49%). The #111 is late almost a quarter of the time (22%). (Source: Metropolitan Planning Association (MPO) Transportation Plan, 2001-2006)
- Riding the bus in Dorchester/Roxbury makes you late, too. In Roxbury and Dorchester, if you ride the #28 bus or the #42, your bus will be late nearly a third of the time (30% for the #28, 28% for the #42) (Source: MPO Transportation Plan, 2001-2006)
- Buses are overcrowded. The number of riders for every available seat is 17% higher for minority bus routes than for commuter rail trains. (Source: MPO Transportation Plan, 2001-2006)
- First class people get second class service. Bus riders are overwhelmingly people of color and/or low-income individuals. In fact the densest, most populous corridor of low income and minority populations in the region – running through Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan – is exclusively served by bus.
- You can't stay dry in the rain or snow. Less than 4% of all bus stops have shelters (Source: MBTA Capital Investment Program 2001-2006)