Schedule changes include new-night service for Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth and Middleboro/Lakeville Lines, new weekday Foxboro pilot and minor changes to further improve service
BOSTON – October 17, 2019 – Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s partner that operates the commuter rail, today announced that the fall/winter Commuter Rail schedule goes into effect on Monday, October 21.
The fall/winter schedule includes minor changes to utilize improved track infrastructure, eliminate freight conflicts and minimize train traffic that can cause congestion and delays. This schedule change also includes new late night service on the Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth and Middleboro/Lakeville Lines, also referred to as the “Old Colony Lines.” The schedule change will also mark the beginning of new pilot service between Boston and Foxboro via the Fairmount and Franklin Lines.
“These bi-annual schedule adjustments optimize investments made in the commuter rail network and help ensure predictability for our passengers,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO, Keolis. “Schedules are already available in major stations and PDFs are available at schedule pages on MBTA.com. Additionally, our passenger assistants are available in stations to help answer any questions.”
“With this schedule change, we’re proud to offer better Commuter Rail options for our passengers on the South Shore,” said Steve Poftak, General Manager, MBTA. “We worked with Keolis to propose changes to Old Colony Line schedules that have support from South Shore communities. We hope to further grow Commuter Rail ridership by offering these convenient late-night options.”
Schedules are adjusted twice a year in close coordination with the MBTA to meet changing passenger needs, reflect investments and upgrades to the system and further improve on-time performance. Currently, Keolis and MBTA teams are installing four miles of new double track between Walpole and Norfolk on the Franklin Line. This investment in track infrastructure will be operational in early 2020, will further improve performance and will expand capacity on the line.
The 10-year commuter rail on-time performance average is 87 percent, while 2016, 2017 and 2018 each improved to 89 percent. Currently, the year-to-date average on-time performance is 90 percent, and these changes will help to further improve this trend.
Responding to passenger feedback, the Old Colony Lines will begin late night Commuter Rail service with the new fall/winter schedules. The new schedules extend the hours of operation on these lines later while maintaining the same number of trains operating on each line. The final outbound trains and next-to-last trains would depart later. These changes more evenly distribute the evening service without creating a large gap in timetables. These changes allow passengers to better enjoy evening events in and out of Boston while utilizing public transportation.
Regular weekday Commuter Rail service to Foxboro will also begin on Monday,
October 21 as a pilot. The pilot will include ten weekday round-trip trains to Foxboro via
the Franklin and Fairmount Lines and includes a new reduced fare for reverse commuters. More details can be found at MBTA.com/Foxboro.
On the Needham Line, all inbound Saturday trains will originate five minutes later from Needham Heights. On most other Commuter Rail lines, schedule changes are adjustments of between one and five minutes. Many trip durations will remain unchanged. Passengers are reminded that posted times are trains’ departure times.
The fall/winter commuter rail schedules can be viewed by browsing individual lines at https://www.mbta.com/schedules/commuter-rail and via the Keolis Commuter Rail App.
As a part of Keolis’ ongoing efforts to instill environmentally-friendly policies, passengers are encouraged to “click, don’t print” and use these online resources to plan trips.
Customer service teams and Passenger Assistants will be at major stations to answer questions leading up to October 21, and to help ensure passengers are familiar with these changes. Passengers can turn in old schedules to be recycled at these stations.