Commentary

Trains, Buses, and Trails

A simple guide to making your transportation more efficient, pleasant, and above all, less wasteful.
Published on
July 28, 2023
Contributors
Allies and Partners
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ACES leaders and Youth Corps team members

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

One of the pleasurable and relaxing things you can do is to take public transit more often. We know that might sound odd given all the headlines about old equipment and schedule delays over the last few years but all that appears to be getting better. 
 
Newburyport is in a good location to take advantage of low cost and low parking fee transportation options. Maybe it’s taking the train North Station to see a doctor at Mass General or Tufts. Or better yet taking the kids to a Bruins game. Friends have been taking the train to Boston almost every other month on the weekends and look for and attend many interesting fairs, art shows and especially the Italian Saints festivals in the North End. The Peabody Essex Museum, a national treasure, is only a half hour away by train from Newburyport and the Public Libraries have low or no cost passes to enter the Museum. 
 
Newburyport’s Mayor Sean Reardon will be helping improve our state transit systems as a newly appointed member of the MBTA Advisory Board. And Newburyport was praised on WGBH News last week while commenting that the Newburyport/Rockport line is a great bargain, especially with ticket prices to Boston dropped dramatically to only $2.40 through August 31 !


And all MVRTA bus rides are free! Yes free. In addition to the buses’ new festive and modern ‘trade dress’ colors, they have changed their name to MEVA a new branding that combines an abbreviation of Merrimack Valley with a linguistic echo to the Spanish meaning “I go”. And according to their web site they serve our northeast corner of Massachusetts with over 1 million miles of scheduled bus routes along with elderly and disabled transportation. And they measure themselves online on 8 measures of performance from on time routes, miles driven, revenue, maintenance expenditures, etc. While we hear about the “T” problems as one of the oldest systems in the country and its needed repairs, our local bus public transit, MEVA is modern, fit, and free and while its public awareness and informatics can be improved, it is a wonderful service.!
 
Of course, like everything in this decade, there are Apps to make it easy. You can get train tickets ahead of time if you want and all sorts of information by checking online. 
 
Next week some residents are headed to the Harvard Museum’s free exhibit of noted watercolor artists. They will get there by a morning train to North Station and taking the Green Line from there to Park St station then the Red Line to Harvard Sq in Cambridge. After the exhibit they plan a casual bite in Cambridge and then retracing their air-conditioned and free WIFI route back to Newburyport.
 
Destinations like Salem for the Peabody Essex Museum, Beverly for the Cabot Theater, the Encore Casino, or Boston for a Celtics, Bruins, or Red Sox game are all on the menu with the MBTA. As are the options with MEVA like the Haverhill arts district, an Italian pastry run to Lawrence, or Lebanese specialties in Methuen.
 
And while we are emphasizing trains and buses, let’s not forget our extensive - and enviable – Coastal Trails Coalition’s network of rail trials in our area. Why not take a walk on the rail trail behind McDonalds on Rt 110 in Amesbury for a beer at brew pub in downtown Amesbury? Or walk in the expanded shade of the newly planted trees on the Newburyport rail trail? In Newburyport, do you know you can walk from Atkinson Common to the Whittier Bridge/RT95 rail trail on cute little side streets that are not busy like Moseley Ave or Merrimack St?
 
The message here is simple: explore your mobility options and have fun doing so.
 
Here are some ideas for you to consider:
 
1. Driving a car into Boston is wasteful of time and money when there are better public transit options
 
2. Inexpensive and fun adventures await using public transportation.
 
3. Taking a train to Boston or Salem can be a great first date with plenty of time to chat and get to know each other.
 
4. As you know, our planet’s climate is in crisis and public transportation can help reduce emissions.
 
ACES Youth Corps team members ask you to consider the options of riding a train or bus or walking for their benefits. Please share any other ideas for the wellbeing of future generations and send us a note at acesnewburyport@gmail.com . To learn more about ACES and its Initiatives, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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