MBTA Aims To Bring 100% Of Service Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels

The MBTA said it can fully fund its fiscal 2022 budget and is moving as fast as possible to resume service to pre-pandemic levels. WBZ-TV's Louisa Moller reports.

Video Transcript

- The MBTA is laying out a plan to restore some of its service, a change that Acting Mayor Kim Janey says is essential in helping the city recover from the pandemic. WBZ's Louisa Moller is live in Boston tonight. Louisa, this is definitely good news for people who rely on the T.

LOUISA MOLLER: That's right. And the T appears to be on board with Mayor Janey's pleas, saying today-- the general manager-- that service will resume as fast as possible.

BRIAN MOY: We literally cannot reopen if our employees cannot come to us. If our customers cannot come to us during our normal business hours, we will not be able to survive.

LOUISA MOLLER: Hours after business owners joined Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey pleading for the restoration of MBTA service, general manager Steve Poftak delivered some promising news.

STEVE POFTAK: We are bringing back service as fast as we possibly can on bus and subway, with the goal of getting to 100% of pre-COVID service levels.

LOUISA MOLLER: Low ridership during the pandemic decimated T revenue. But Poftak told the T's Fiscal Management Control Board that money is no longer an issue, with more than $800 million on the way from the latest federal stimulus. That means he's proposing restoring commuter rail weekend service that was suspended, restoring the Charlestown Ferry, and accelerating recruitment, hiring, and training for the subway and buses.

STEVE POFTAK: We are also going to take a look at those suspended bus lines to plan for the resumption of certain of these lines.

KIM JANEY: For the period of March 29 through April 19, we will provide nearly 1,000 workers with free Charley cards preloaded with $60 each. We will also provide these workers with free two-month Bluebike passes.

LOUISA MOLLER: In the meantime, Mayor Janey is launching a pilot program to support commuters who work in Nubian Square, Jackson Square, Hyde square, and Canary Square in Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, East Boston, and Fields Corner districts. Whatever the help, some riders say something has to give.

I've been late to work. I've been late to school. Just anything, really.

LOUISA MOLLER: Poftak says he cannot give an exact timeline on when service will fully resume, in part because of COVID, because of social distancing on buses and absenteeism. Live in Boston, Louisa Moller, WBZ News.