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As Commuters Return To Offices, Some Find Their MBTA Bus Lines Are Gone

MEDFORD (CBS) – There is something missing in Medford and commuters are the first to point it out. As more companies require a return to the office, many commuters are faced with finding a way to work for the first time in nearly two years.

"It seems like there is plenty of public busing around, just not to this neighborhood anymore, unfortunately," Michael Lyons told WBZ-TV.

Lyons has lived in Medford for 11 years and commuted to work in Boston for more than half of that.

He was just one of many who used the MBTA bus lines daily. The trouble is that the lines he needs have been suspended during the pandemic.

"Without the 710, I looked for alternatives. The next alternatives were the 325 and 326 express buses," said Lyons. "Those were cut off as well."

Lyons is not alone. Venessa Petrelis used to take the express bus to work in downtown Boston but now finds herself taking an Uber to work.

"I wouldn't do that normally if it was running," said Petrelis. "I would be taking the bus."

The MBTA said there are some alternative routes available for commuters to use. However, many riders say those routes make the commute time at least twice, up to four times, as long.

The MBTA released the following statement in response to WBZ's request:

"The MBTA is still facing a significant workforce shortage and does not have the number of bus operators necessary to run the same level of service as pre-COVID. The MBTA has prioritized running service where we have seen durable ridership throughout the pandemic while also trying to restore service to support those returning to in-person school or work and support new and changing travel patterns and behaviors."

The MBTA said ridership is down 35% compared to pre-pandemic levels. They pointed out that they are continuing to hold job fairs to hire more drivers.

In the meantime, commuters like Lyons said they are working to find the best solution; one he hopes is temporary.

"I really hope they reconsider some of the bus routes that they have taken back," said Lyons.

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