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On the Trans Blog
MassDOT Annual Farmer’s Markets at Service Plazas

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced that the MassDOT’s Annual Farmer’s Market Program will begin in May 2010, continuing through Fall 2010. Local Farmers are invited to take advantage of free vending space at the state’s eighteen highway service plazas to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products.

Medway Route 109 Improvements

Governor Deval Patrick this week announced design funds for the reconstruction and improvement of Route 109 through the Medway business district

Whittier Bridge Information Meeting Set

MassDOT will hold a Public Information Meeting for the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project on Tuesday, April 27.

MBTA: Orange Line Public Meetings

The MBTA continues a series of public meetings to discuss the expansion of Single Person Train Operation to the Orange Line. Similar to Single Person Train Operation mode on the Blue Line, Orange Line motorpersons will perform all functions once shared with train attendants, including door operation and station announcements. The MBTA has successfully operated in Single Person Train Operation mode on the Blue Line since 1996 with no degradation to safety, service, or security.

MassDOT Plans Green Line Extension Work Group

MassDOT is forming a work group to assist in the Green Line Extension project's Preliminary Engineering phase. Project managers will bring together MBTA officials, municipal representatives, business representatives and local citizens to form the GLX Design Working Group.

The Road to Reform

MBTA Launches Hybrid Buses

MBTA General Manager Rich Davey joined MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan in a ribbon-cutting at Back Bay Station Tuesday to celebrate delivery of the first eight diesel hybrid buses and announce the rollout of a total of 25 new 60-foot articulated low floor diesel hybrid buses to serve Boston neighborhoods. Officials joined in the inaugural run of one of the new buses along bus Route 39.

Federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds purchased the fleet of emission-controlled, eco-friendly buses. The MBTA will serve more bus riders on some of its most popular routes with buses that reduce pollution in Boston neighborhoods through a hybrid system capable of improving fuel efficiency by 20% or greater compared to conventional diesel buses.

The first four buses will be put immediately into service along Route 39, Forest Hills to Back Bay. Other new hybrid buses will be put into service two to three per week through the end of June on the Route 28 line, Mattapan Station to Ruggles via Dudley, and along the Silver Line Washington Street route.

A total of seven bus routes originating from the Southampton Garage will be served by the new buses, reaching 12 Boston communities including Jamaica Plain, Longwood, Fenway, Back Bay, Dorchester, Roxbury, South End, Chinatown, South Boston Waterfront, East Boston and Boston's Financial District The new buses arrived in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The new hybrid buses are quieter, with extra wide 41-inch center and rear doors, wheelchair ramps at the front door, and cameras and video recording for security.

New License Made in Massachusetts

The Patrick-Murray Administration today unveiled a new driver's license and MA ID that for the first time in over a decade are being manufactured in Massachusetts. The new cards went into production this week and include new security features that offer residents better protection against fraud and identity theft.

The new cards will be phased in over the five-year renewal period. Current driver’s licenses, MA ID's, commercial driver’s licenses, junior operator and under 21 licenses remain valid until they come up for renewal. Over the next year, the RMV is expected to send out approximately 1.4 million of the new cards to customers.

New security measures to help law enforcement, banks, retailers and liquor establishments validate the cards include a perforated outline of Massachusetts that can be seen when held up to any light. Customers will also find it easier to change their address on the new cards, with a writeable place on the back of the card to replace the need for a printed address sticker.

L-1 Identity Solutions is manufacturing the cards at a secure facility the company set up in Massachusetts for quicker mail delivery.

MassDOT RMV Division serves more than 4.7 million drivers at 30 branch locations and online

MBTA Foils Parking Scam

Veteran MBTA Orange Line Inspector Greg Lowe spotted something amiss near North Station just prior to the Celtics playoff game Tuesday night and took action. Now, he's being praised for helping stop an alleged parking scam.

Lowe, an 18-year MBTA employee, saw two men stopping cars and attempting to collect fees from the public for parking in an MBTA lot. The Transit Police responded and arrested the two suspects on larceny and trespassing charges.

“His supervisors tell me Greg is a dedicated public servant who does a great job on a daily basis,” said MBTA General Manager Richard Davey. “He saw something wrong, and he acted swiftly to stop it. I can’t thank him enough.”

Lowe started at the T as a part-time collector and has worked his way up to the Orange Line Inspector position he currently holds. Congratulations to Greg for immediately reporting the suspicious activity and to Transit Police for responding and disrupting the alleged crime.

MBTA: Safety Hotline for Employees

As part of his focus on safety, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey has announced a new MBTA Safety Hotline for employees, in order to provide an immediate means to voice safety concerns. The Safety Hotline will be checked several times per day to ensure that any reported hazard is assessed and addressed as quickly as possible.

Hotline callers will be asked to provide detailed information about the nature and location of the hazard or safety concern. Employee callers may remain anonymous or leave contact information. An MBTA Safety Department representative will respond.

The MBTA strives every day to ensure that all employees are working in a safe and healthy environment. As required by existing rules, employees should contact the Dispatcher, the nearest Official, or their Supervisor if they encounter anything that is an immediate danger to employees or customers.

As always, MBTA customers with concerns or questions are asked to call MBTA Customer Support:
TTY 617-222-5146
Monday - Friday: 6:30a.m.-8p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 7:30a.m. - 6p.m.

Or visit MBTA Customer Support online to submit comments.

MBTA: Customer Service Campaign

Newly appointed MBTA General Manager Richard Davey continues his "Join the GM" campaign, a back-to-basics approach that will include regular visits to MBTA station to listen and interact with daily commuters in person. On Thursdays, Davey along with the T’s top managers will convene at a selected station or bus depot to listen to customers concerns, and promote public transportation.

Each week, MBTA managers will be available at the stations prepared to listen, respond, and follow up with customer concerns and recommendations. Upon completion of eight weekly sessions, “Join the GM” will continue on a monthly basis system-wide. Below are the dates and locations for future sessions.

Maverick Station Thursday, April 29 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Forest Hills Station Thursday, May 6 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
North Station Thursday, May 13 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Haymarket Station Thursday, May 20 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ruggles Thursday, May 27 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Visit MBTA on the web for news and updates.

MassDOT Board May Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 1:00pm, State Transportation Building in Boston. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.