BY NOLAN CONNOR
In and around the Boston area, public transportation plays a major role in the lives in almost all Bostonians. Whether one takes the commuter rail to Plymouth or the red line to Downtown Crossing, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) can take you there, but is this the train easily accessible in all neighborhoods? Being a Boston resident myself, I can say without a doubt that more time and money needs to be spent on the trains and busses of Boston. New paint jobs, cleaner trains, easily accessible transportation for all students are the types of changes we need to make in all parts of Boston in order to improve the transportation system. In order to fix wealth inequality, improvement of Boston’s public transportation system will help students get to school easier, help people in low-income areas access resources, and make Boston more aesthetically pleasing.
Not all train stops are created equal. It appears that some trains are more tidied up than others. For example, it seems the highly hated the green line hasn't received a new paint job or remodeling in years. Compared to the commuter rail or even the red line for that matter, the green line is pretty much a dump. The green line has the longest trip in Boston and has stops in low-income neighborhoods. Although it has many stops and may not be the best train to take in Boston, that shouldn't be a reason for it to be ignored. It should get equal attention and care as any other train line in Boston. When considering the green line work needed, the department of public utilities had this to say about the Green Line, “the MBTA Track Department faces many unique challenges to maintain the Green Line in a non-restrictive operational state due to a variety of problematic foundational issues with the age, design and renewal needs of the track infrastructure” (MBTA). I agree it takes a lot of time and money to enforce these changes to improve the green line but if nothing is done now who knows how the state of the Green Line will be in the future. Continuing to allow these conditions make it harder for students in neighborhoods with Green Line stops to get to school.
Another major issue regarding public transportation in Boston is accessible for students to get to school. This means reducing the train and bus fare so students that come from low-income families can afford to ride the MBTA every day. Yes, most schools in and around Boston offer M7 cards, which gives a student free access to transportation. However, this is only the case for students who live a good distance away from their school. Students who live closer to the school are not allowed to receive an M7 card, instead, they have the option to obtain a student card, which slightly reduces train and bus fare. 85 cents might not sound like a lot, but for some students, it’s a struggle to scrape up some change so they can get to school. I interviewed several Boston students, one BPS student remarked, “I feel that all BPS high school students should be given an M7 pass, regardless of where they live. As if it’s not bad enough that students are being asked to pay, the fares increase almost every year.” By giving every student an M7 card, it makes it way easier for students to guarantee they have a way to school. It also saves money for families who don’t have the extra dollar to give to their child for the bus.
Accessible and reliable public transportation offers an opportunity to people that might not have a lot. It can offer jobs, easy access, and education, which is why it's important that every neighborhood around Boston should have an accessible train station or bus stop for all. However, this is not the case, several surrounding neighborhoods of Boston do not have train stations, and they seem to be low-income neighborhoods. Towns like Bedford, Burlington, and Lexington are teaming to consider potential local transportation services. These towns care about their lower-class residents and want to make sure they get where they need to be whether its to work or school. Building train stations in these towns will even help upper-class residents who want to get from point A to point B without being stuck in Boston's terrible traffic on route 128.
Improvement of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will help fix wealth inequality in Boston. By funding the trains and busses in the ways I stated, we can have a more equal and better city. Decreasing bus and train fare, and supplying M7 cards to all students in Boston regardless of their residence will help kids get to school. Cleanliness of the trains will encourage more riders. And building more stops will help people get to their jobs.
Nolan is a sophomore at Boston Collegiate Charter School and a proud resident of South Boston. He is a budding animator and hopes to one day make a career of it.