Approximately 500 residents attended the hearing at Hingham Town Hall Wednesday night and pled with MBTA officials to reconsider completely eliminating ferry routes in Hingham, Hull, and Quincy.
In order to fill a projected budget gap of $161 million for the upcoming fiscal year, the MBTA has laid out two scenarios==both would affect 1.3 million ferry riders.
State Senator Bob Hedlund represents the coastal communities most affected by the cut and explained this may be a false scenario by the MBTA to scare residents, “To engage in a charade to create anxiety, if it’s not a real option, simply to get us to digest an increase in fares is not right because nobody in their right mind is going to end a bus in Bicknell Square and chop Hingham and Hull off.”
One Hingham boat rider noted that the MBTA could be deliberately pushing residents to a commuter train with disappointing ridership, “My fear is this is a deliberate ploy by the T to get rid of the ferry to save their butts over the Greenbush Line.”
Residents told MBTA Assistant General Manager Mark Boyle that by eliminating boat routes and reducing bus and commuter train services, jobs will be lost as a direct affect.
A Hull resident who commutes to Cambridge for work explained public transit is essential, “The reality of the situation was brought home to me when I suffered a brain seizure last May and I could not drive for six months. Suddenly the ferry was no longer an option of convenience; it was an absolute necessity for me to hold on to my job.”
Hingham Town Manager Phil Lemnios stated he’s confused why strong resistance has yet to put a halt on the MBTA’s proposal, “You hear the T saying ‘we don’t want to do this, but…’ You here the Governor saying ‘this is terrible, but…’ You here the state legislators saying ‘we really don’t think this is a good idea, but…’ So all of the adults in the room think this kind of a dumb idea, yet we’re walking merrily down the path.”
Another Hingham resident even called it criminal to rid his community of ferry service, “Frankly, I think the proposal to do away it is an act of social vandalism that they should be ashamed of.”
The next MBTA public hearing in the South Shore area is February 15th in Quincy.
(Hingham Selectman Laura Burns)
(State Senator Bob Hedlund)
(MBTA Asst. General Manager Mark Boyle)