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Commuters raise their concerns about bus routes, fare hikes at MBTA forum in Lynn

LYNN — More than two dozen commuters raised their concerns at the MBTA forum Thursday night at North Shore Community College.

Riders questioned proposed changes to bus routes, eliminations, and higher fares at five stations set up in the gym. They were given one-on-one explanations by T employees.

Dubbed the Better Bus Project, the agency has outlined 47 no-cost proposals to update and modernize 63 bus routes, including many on the North Shore.

A 76-year-old East Lynn resident who shops at the Shaw’s Supermarket on State Street, which is closing soon, worried how she would get to Market Basket on Western Avenue at the other end of the city.

“I don’t drive and my mobility is limited and I’m here to figure out how to get to Market Basket,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

A T employee explained she could take bus 455 from Central Square to Western Avenue. Under the proposed changes, the route would run more often.

Lynn resident Stefan Wuensch, who also serves as a member of the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee, a group of riders and T employees who provide recommendations to the transit agency, said while he supports some of the changes, there are concerns.

“They want the 459 bus to terminate at Wonderland,” he said. “That means employees at Logan Airport will have to take the Blue Line from Wonderland to Airport Station and then take a Massport shuttle bus.”

Yusef Hayes, also from Lynn, said he hopes the T will increase service on the 459 bus route.

“I’d like to see it run every 20 minutes,” he said. “Right now it varies from five minutes to an hour.”

Hayes could get his wish. Today, all services on this route run to Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Under the proposal, the route would end at Wonderland, but would make twice as many trips.

Verny Samayoa, of Lynn, wants more trips on the 441 route, which travels from Marblehead to Wonderland.

He too may get his wish because the T is proposing to eliminate the 448 and 449 buses from Marblehead to Boston’s Seaport District and boost service on the 441.

Donald Castle, who is running for the Ward 6 City Council seat held by Fred Hogan, said the plan to eliminate the Pine Hill stop in Lynn on the 435 and 436 buses will hurt residents in that neighborhood.

“People rely on buses to get to work, and the T’s new plan, if approved, means Pine Hill residents would have to walk a half mile to the stop. That, combined with a fare increase, is not acceptable.”

Gerald Alleyne, 72, of Lynn, said he came to the hearing to urge T officials to build the Blue Line extension to Lynn.

“How long do we have to wait for Blue Line service?” he asked. “The infrastructure is there, let’s get it done.”

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