Over 50 Fairmount Corridor residents, businesses, and advocates made it clear to the July 31st meeting of the MBTA Fiscal Management Control Board (FCMB) that they were opposed to the MBTA’s proposed extension of the Fairmount Commuter line south to Foxborough. (More here) The proposal includes adding up to eight trips per weekday to and from Foxborough during commuting times, with weekend service not specified. Community speakers told the FCMB that the MBTA first needed to live up to its commitment to improve service to the low/moderate and minority residents living in the Fairmount Corridor neighborhoods in Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester. The community goals are: more frequent, rapid transit-like service, improved Charlie Card access and transfers, better marketing, and increased options for student ridership.
Joan Tighe, Project Coordinator for the Fairmount Indigo CDC Collaborative, criticized MassDOT and the MBTA for failing to engage the Fairmount Corridor communities early on in discussion about the potential extension. The FITC was only informed of the planning by the MBTA early this year. Yet discussions had been long underway with the Town of Foxborough and the Kraft Group, owner of Gillette Stadium. Kraft has pledged to pay the MBTA up to $200,000 a year to help underwrite the service, given the clear transportation benefits for events at the Stadium.
Corridor activists fear that the proposed extension might come at the expense of the low and moderate-income riders in the Fairmount Corridor who might end up taking a “back seat” to riders from Foxborough. The extension might also compromise future conversion to a rapid transit-like service.
The Collaborative is on “active watch” with the FITC and the Fairmount Indigo Network to prevent fast tracking of the extension. Postponement of the pilot would give more time for further negotiation among all the parties to reach a win-win for the Fairmount Corridor and for extension proponents.