February 1, 2011
by Richard Weir, Boston Herald
With another nor’easter bearing down on the Hub, the MBTA yesterday launched its own operation dig-out to liberate as many as 80 snow-packed bus stops along Blue Hill Avenue, one of the state’s busiest bus corridors serving 27,000 riders on five routes daily.
An army of 35 shovel-wielding T workers, backed by front-end loaders, dump trucks, a Bobcat and salt-laden pick-up trucks, began clearing out mounds of snow that have forced riders to stand in traffic lanes or at street corners to hail buses.
“We can’t get at every bus stop probably as quickly as some folks would like, but we are going to chip away at one bus stop at a time,” said T General Manager Richard Davey.
That attitude is a sea change at the MBTA, which has long been involved in a turf war with cities, chiefly Boston, over whose responsibility it is to clear snow from bus stops and shelters.
Stuart Spina, chairman of the T Riders Union, said that while he is appreciative to see the MBTA dispatch a crew to tackle Blue Hill Avenue, it’s little solace to other riders like him forced to stand on snow drifts to board buses.
“It’s childish,” he said of the turf war. “It goes back and forth and two weeks go by and you have people piled behind snowdrifts and bus riders are left out dealing with these terrible conditions. This issue is far from new.”