SOUTH SHORE — The following is a statement from the Town leaders of Hingham, Hull, Scituate and Cohasset following last week’s vote by the MBTA on a service reduction plan:
“Early last month, the MBTA unveiled a plan of service cuts that would have decimated public transportation options for riders across the South Shore. In the weeks that followed, we launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and pressure the T to reconsider the cuts they were proposing.
“While the final plan that was voted on and approved did have some cuts to service on the South Shore, it was certainly a less impactful than what was originally proposed, and that is due in large part to the hard work of so many individuals from our four towns and across the region.
“Our ‘Save the Greenbush-Save the Boat’ campaign had three main goals: To inform the public of the cuts and encourage as many people as possible to attend hearings and write letters to the state voicing their concerns; to organize press events that promoted the campaign in the local media; and to create a social media presence that documented the campaign and brought residents, community leaders, state legislators and business owners together for the cause.
“For the first goal, we would like to acknowledge those who attended the MBTA’s many virtual hearings on the proposed service reduction plan and/or who submitted written or audio comments. In particular, the South Shore-specific public hearing held Monday, Nov. 23 was viewed by well over 400 people, and was described by one MBTA official as the ‘most well-attended MBTA public forum’ she had ever participated in. The amount of people who went out of their way to make their voices heard was inspiring, and we are confident that the scaled-back reduction plan was a direct result of your efforts.
“As for the second goal, we would like to thank those who made our many public events so impactful. We executed multiple press conferences, co-hosted a rally at the Hingham Ferry station, held a “Ride the Ferry Day” from the Hull station, held a “Students for the Greenbush” event at the Greenbush Commuter Rail station, and put our message in front of numerous media outlets. All of these events were successful in promoting our message and bringing together advocates for public transportation.
“And for our third goal, we would like to thank those who followed us on Facebook, visited our website, sent us messages and ideas, and stayed connected with the digital portion of our campaign. We created a strong dialog about the need for public transportation in the region, and this conversation only grew over time.
“The list of those who contributed to the success of our campaign must start with the residents of our four towns. You are the commuters who rely on the trains, ferries and buses to get to and from work, the riders who need access to important medical appointments in the city, and the business owners who understand the important connection between transit-oriented developments and a thriving local economy. We asked you to be involved and get engaged, and you did so from the very start.
“We would also like to acknowledge the many elected officials and other organization leaders who partnered with us to heighten our visibility and increase our voice both on Beacon Hill and with the MBTA. There is a large contingent of public transit advocates on the South Shore, and it truly took all of us to band together to move the needle to reduce the proposed cuts.
“In part because of our efforts, the 714 bus route through Hull and the Hingham-Hull Ferry will be spared from temporary elimination. This is a very good thing, and will allow for thousands of South Shore residents to retain their transit options. However, the fight is far from over. We still must work to ensure that the reduced bus and ferry services are adequate to meet the needs of our residents, that bus and ferry routes are restored to pre-COVID levels in 2021, and that the cuts to the Greenbush line are restored as well. The MBTA has already said that they will look at ridership data over the next several weeks to determine a plan moving forward. What this plan will look like is yet to be determined, which is why we will not give up the fight on this issue.
“The people of Hingham, Hull, Scituate and Cohasset should be proud of the work they put into this campaign. The leaders of each of these towns will continue to do what they can to ensure that safe, reliable and sustainable public transportation is something each and every South Shore resident has access to for years to come. We will be making additional announcements on future advocacy efforts in the near future, and we encourage you to be on the lookout for those updates soon.”
Hingham Town Administrator Thomas Mayo
Hull Town Manager Phil Lemnios
Scituate Town Administrator James Boudreau
Cohasset Town Manager Christopher Senior