Section 1 –
WHEREAS, the current Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Fairmount Commuter Rail Branch travels 9.2 miles through sections of the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park that make up the largest geographic area within the city of Boston not served by rapid transit (subway service);
WHEREAS, one fifth of population of the City of Boston lives within one half mile of the Fairmount rail line, 83% of whom are Black or Latino, and 25% are children (40% of all of Boston’s children);
WHEREAS, 26.0% of trips from predominately Black census tracks across in the region start within one half mile of a Fairmont Branch station, and an additional 12.6% of trips start on bus routes that intersect with the Fairmount Branch;
WHEREAS, median household income within the Fairmount Branch corridor is $10,000 less than that of Boston as a whole;
WHEREAS, research shows that commuting time is the single strongest factor, above crime rate or elementary school test scores, in determining the odds of escaping poverty;
WHEREAS, service on the Fairmount Branch is ill-suited to the travel needs of inner city neighborhoods and compares poorly to the service levels enjoyed by other Boston neighborhoods, based on frequency, span of service, reliability, fare policy, and connectivity to the rest of the transit network;
WHEREAS, very modest improvements on the line have spurred a three-fold ridership increase between 2012 and 2016;
WHEREAS, the Fairmount Branch consists of an existing capacity and right-of-way that could be improved at a much more cost-effective fashion than building new infrastructure from scratch;
WHEREAS, the communities hosting the Fairmount Branch have long championed the vision of operating the Fairmount Branch as if it were an urban Rapid Transit line under the Indigo Line brand, with levels of service similar to the Red, Orange, Blue or Green Lines;
THEREFORE BE IT ENCACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, That the Massachusetts General Laws read as follows:
Section 2 –
Definitions. As used in this chapter the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meaning:
“Indigo Line pilot project” shall mean the two-year pilot service evaluation conducted by the Department of Transportation in partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the operator of commuter rail service to determine the impact of service improvements on changes in ridership of the Fairmount/Indigo Line in accordance with section 3.
“Adequate Service levels” shall mean transportation service along the Fairmount Indigo Line during the Indigo Line pilot project period meets the provisions of section 3 of this act.
Section 3 –
Indigo Line pilot project. The department of transportation shall conduct a two-year pilot service evaluation along the Fairmount/Indigo Line in partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the operator of commuter rail service pursuant to Section 3. The pilot service evaluation shall assess the impact of adequate service levels, as established in Section 3, on ridership of the service. The pilot service evaluation shall begin no later than 180 days after the effective date of this Act.
Section 4 –
Adequate Service Levels. During the Indigo Line pilot project, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and operator of commuter rail service shall ensure that: 1) No less than three train-sets are dedicated to Fairmount/Indigo Line service; provided that such train-sets shall consist of no more than 3 coaches and 1 locomotive to minimize acceleration/deceleration time; provided that such train-sets shall be specially wrapped and marked as Indigo Line trains; provided, further, that such train-sets shall not be diverted from Fairmount/Indigo Line Service for any purpose except maintenance directly upon such train-set. 2) Fairmount/Indigo line train service operates with headways no longer than 30 minutes during off-peak hours, and no longer than 15 minutes during peak hours. 3) Riders may pay for Fairmount/Indigo Line train service with fare medium including, but not limited to, Charlie Cards or its equivalent successor product, M7 Passes, S-Cards, Youth Passes, and other discounted fare medium available to people with disabilities, seniors, and students. 4) Fares levied to access the Fairmount/Indigo Line at all stations on line from Readville to South Station shall be at the same rate charged to ride the subway network, with free transfers to connecting bus lines and to the Red and Silver Lines at South Station. 5) Bus service at Fairmount/Indigo line stations are synchronized with train schedules to the maximum extent feasible.
Section 5 –
Marketing and Outreach. The Department of Transportation in partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the operator of commuter rail service shall conduct, in close coordination with community groups in the corridor, a public relations campaign to raise awareness of service levels during the Indigo line pilot project; provided that such a campaign include information about the fare medium that may be used during the Indigo line pilot project, the frequency of service, and the location of stations. The campaign shall include but not be limited to improvements to signage for Fairmount/Indigo line stations, and inclusion of the Indigo Line on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Rapid Transit Map, also known as the “spider map.”
Section 6 –
Evaluation and Data Collection. The Department of Transportation shall gather and report baseline data of ridership along the Fairmount/Indigo Line to the Joint Committee on Transportation no later than 30 days after the effective date of this Act; provided, that historical data reported pursuant to this paragraph shall have been collected within 2 years of the report. The Department of Transportation shall gather ridership data along the Fairmount/Indigo line no more than every 6 months during the pilot service evaluation. Within 30 days of the end of the Indigo line pilot project, the Department of Transportation shall report to the Joint Committee on Transportation the results of ridership data collected during the Indigo line pilot project. Such report shall state the marginal cost of implementing the pilot service evaluation, the annual marginal cost of maintaining service levels, and the projected impact on ridership of maintaining adequate service levels. Data shall be conducted at dates and times when ridership is at its greatest volume, taking into account fluctuations based on school calendar and season. Data should include demographic information on riders using the Fairmount/Indigo Line, including race, age, student status, and income level. Data collected shall not exclude reverse commute trips or trips that do not begin or end at South Station and analysis shall explicitly document the lower marginal costs of carrying riders during the off-peak and in the reverse commute direction.
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