Town Manager James McKenna, Council President Peter Gill, and Chamber Executive Director Eric Gaynor are encouraging all residents to attend a public hearing with MBTA officials Monday night at the Senior Center to air their concerns about the possible cutback in bus service in Winthrop and proposed fare increases. The MBTA is drowning in debt (an estimated $160 million operating deficit and $5.2 billion debt burden) and it appears there will be cutbacks in service in various communities.
Mr. Gill has been actively monitoring the issue since his election to office. He joined with Eric Gaynor and Barbara Bishop of Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office to attend a similar public hearing in Chelsea recently. Gill, who has lived in this town for more than six decades, will speak as someone who understands the importance that bus service plays in the daily lives of many Winthrop residents, and not only for those who rely on public transportation as their primary means for getting to work. Public transportation plays a big role in our community in many ways and is a draw for prospective residents who expect that the place where they live will offer such a basic amenity of modern life.
Winthrop has had public bus service for 72 years and before that there was the Narrow Gauge Railroad that began around 1890. Even the thought that we have come to such a time and place that we no longer can afford to provide public transportation in our community is mind boggling.
Speaker DeLeo is expected to be on hand at the meeting Monday night and the presence of the powerful legislator will aid Winthrop in this cause. The Speaker has been a great advocate for his district throughout his career in the House.
Needless to say, there is the big question of how the MBTA (or, as our long time publisher, Andrew P. Quigley, would disparagingly say with reference to the MBTA, “The bozos who run this Toonerville Trolley”) got into such a steep financial mess.
But curtailing bus service in Winthrop should have no part in the solution to the T’s fiscal woes.