Watch CBS News

East Boston residents concerned MBTA may stop ferry service to North End

East Boston residents fear MBTA isn't doing enough to make ferry service successful
East Boston residents fear MBTA isn't doing enough to make ferry service successful 02:32

By Mike Sullivan, WBZ-TV

EAST BOSTON -- Neighbors in East Boston are concerned the MBTA may stop ferry service to the North End if ridership is low.

The service recently returned after lawmakers secured a million dollars in funding to relaunch the service. The ferry route had been in place during the Blue Line diversion. State Representative Adrian Madaro says ridership was sky high during the closure.

"We want to continue to show that water transportation in Boston can work," said Representative Madaro. "This is a relatively new service we are working out the kinks."

On Tuesday afternoon, just a single rider got off the ferry at Lewis Wharf at 2:30 pm. Neighbors believe ridership is partly hampered due to poor signage, and a lack of Charlie Card usage.

"We are not quite there yet because it is a little difficult to get a Charlie Card machine on a ferry, and some of the portable devices used on the Commuter Rail," said Representative Madaro, adding that the price to ride the ferry is the same as the subway. "The goal is to be a seamless experience whether using bus, train, or ferry."

Representative Madaro expects new signage in the next two weeks, and says he is working with the MBTA to figure out the Charlie Card situation. He also hopes the MBTA will add future stops in Charlestown and the Seaport.

"I am just of the mind this is just the beginning the North End, East Boston link," said Representative Madaro.

The East Boston ferry is funded through this fiscal year but will need additional funding in the future to remain in operation. The ferry service will stop for the season at the end of November and pick up again in the Spring.

In a statement, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak says this about the future of the ferry line: "We're pleased to be able to demonstrate this ferry service between East Boston and downtown Boston this fall and next spring. We know riders valued the ferry service last spring when Blue Line service was suspended for maintenance. Demonstration projects such as these take coordination and funding, and I'd like to thank our local elected leaders for pursuing and securing the funds necessary to allow the T to operate this seasonal service." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.