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MBTA passengers complain about crowded trains and buses amid coronavirus outbreak

MBTA passenger Brian Bethell tweeted this photo of a crowded Blue Line train Wednesday morning.Brian Bethell

MBTA passengers have turned to social media to complain about the reduction in train and bus service due to the coronavirus outbreak.

After receiving some initial complaints, MBTA officials announced that they would increase capacity on the Blue Line, the E branch of the Green Line, and certain bus routes by Wednesday morning. But according to the latest posts on social media, it may not have been enough.

On Wednesday MBTA passenger Brian Bathell posted a photo of riders jammed together on a Blue Line train during the morning commute. “Made it all the way to Beachmont today before it was packed,” he wrote.


Many T customers continue to question the logic of reducing the number of trains at a time when people are supposed to practicing “social distancing” to curb the spread the coronavirus.

One rider tweeted that it was impossible to stay 6 feet away from other passengers on the Route 66 bus Wednesday morning.

“All buses that go to hospitals should stay on their regular schedule,” the tweet said. “I took the 66 this morning and it was pretty full, impossible to keep 6 ft distance when there are fewer buses.”

Another Twitter user posted a photo of the Route 66 bus on Wednesday morning. “It’ll be a miracle if none of us contract the #coronavirus," the tweet said. "Good job #MBTA.”

Another MBTA passenger tweeted about the Orange Line Wednesday morning. “I am currently on an Orange line car with over 30 other people,” the tweet said. “It is impossible to distance oneself. Fearful of what my trip home at 5 will be.”

Another Twitter user shared two photos from the Red Line, one from Tuesday evening’s commute and the other from Wednesday morning. In each photo, it appeared that it was standing room only on each train ride, as almost every seat was occupied.


Meanwhile, MBTA officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing and are urging the public to travel “only if absolutely necessary.”

“As we continue monitoring the situation, we are making adjustments to ensure we can provide service for essential trips in the safest manner possible,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. “We recognize that some employees in key industries, including those in the medical community, rely on the MBTA to get to their places of work and we’re committed to providing service to those folks who rely on the T. That said, service continues to operate at reduced levels in an effort to maintain a responsible balance between protecting our workforce and operating safe service.”

MBTA trains and bus routes continue to operate on a Saturday schedule, but with “increased frequency” on the Blue Line, Green Line E Branch, and certain bus routes.

The reduced schedule calls for Blue Line trains to arrive approximately every 9 to 13 minutes; Orange Line trains every 9 to 11 minutes; Red Line trains between Alewife and JFK/UMass Stations every 7 minutes; and Red Line trains on the Ashmont and Braintree branches every 14 minutes.

“In response to reports of heavy passenger volumes on the Green Line E branch and to further support workforce access to area hospitals in the Longwood Medical Area, service will be added to the E branch specifically with more frequency seen between Prudential and Heath Street Stations," MBTA officials said in a statement. "Green Line B, C, and D branch trolleys will continue to run every 7 to 13 minutes with more frequent service on the trunk.”


MBTA officials said they would continue to “monitor and assess ridership needs as this situation evolves” and “make service adjustments accordingly.”

For the latest information, visit mbta.com/covid19.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.