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MBTA Adds Commuter Rail Trains For Essential Workers In Coronavirus Pandemic

BOSTON (CBS) - The MBTA Commuter Rail added five trains Wednesday to get essential workers like medical personnel and other emergency responders into Boston before 7 a.m. during the coronavirus pandemic.

"That's huge for everyone in the medical field," Sean Walsh told WBZ-TV. His shift at Massachusetts General Hospital starts at 7 a.m. With the Commuter Rail's recently reduced schedule he hasn't been able to take the train to work.

"I've been driving into the North End to park with the Commuter Rail being down," said Walsh.

He's glad to see earlier trains are being added to the Haverhill, Fitchburg, Lowell, Needham and Newburyport-Rockport lines. Four of them will arrive at North Station and one will arrive at South Station to make sure critical employees get to work in time for the early morning shift change.

"That's great for all of us because everyone on the train is medical," said Walsh.

Crews are cleaning vehicles every 24 hours and handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines in subway stations once every four hours.

But, Mass General physician Megan Church says she has stopped taking the train to try to protect herself from the coronavirus.

"It can live on surfaces for we don't know how long. I felt like it was just safer since I have the ability - and lucky to have the ability - to take myself out of that situation," she said.

The MBTA is stressing that customers should only travel on the trains when necessary. Dr. Church says people should listen to keep themselves and others safe.

"The less amount of time you can spend on the train the better. The less amount of time you can spend out in public being exposed to others, touching surfaces the better," she said.

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