WBUR by Katie Lannan, State House News Service
Frustrated Chelsea commuters on Monday brought their concerns before state transportation officials, asking for relief on a bus route they said was plagued by delays and congestion.
Members of the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board, in turn, floated the idea of creating a task force to explore transportation needs in the city.
“Why are we paying the exact same fares for the worst service in the entire state, I ask you," said Roseann Bongiovanni, a former Chelsea City Council president who now heads the community organization GreenRoots.
Bongiovanni was one of several community members who addressed either the control board or the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board in their back-to-back meetings Monday about the 111 bus and other transit issues in Chelsea.
The 111 bus has the MBTA's third-highest ridership, serving 11,800 passengers per weekday, MBTA deputy general manager Jeff Gonneville said. It runs between Revere and Boston's Haymarket station, passing through Chelsea and crossing the Tobin Bridge over the Mystic River along the way.
A planned two-month closure of the off-ramp from the Tobin Bridge to Chelsea's Beacon Street for repair work began on Aug. 27, pushing the 111 onto a detour route. The shift creates a dynamic of "bus-stop roulette," with passengers and in some cases drivers unsure where the proper stop is, Paula Garrity told the Control Board.
"Chelsea depends on the 111," Garrity said.
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