October 29th Information &
Resources Update
MBTA to Adjust Service Delivery in Response to COVID-19;
Virtual Public Meetings to be Held in November

Challenged by low ridership and lost fare revenue as a result of the pandemic, the MBTA is moving forward with an initiative to alter and in some cases substantially reduce service levels. Commuter Rail service is likely to be reduced as a result, with service changes anticipated to be implemented in mid-2021 and remain in place for several years. 

Per the MBTA, their existing level of service delivery does not match passenger demand at present. Through their "Forging Ahead" initiative, MBTA aims to reduce service where ridership has decreased, or where trains are nearly empty, and invest those savings into transit services that more riders continue to rely upon. 

The MBTA is seeking public feedback and engagement as it moves forward with this process. The objective is to determine core essential services, and to realign service by prioritizing and preserving those services. Proposed service options will be announced in November, with time for additional public discussion into the first week of December.

The MBTA will be holding 11 public meetings over Zoom (nine regional meetings, two system-wide meetings). These meetings can be joined by computer, smartphone app, or telephone.

Regional Public Meeting Information

REGION ONE (Majority of 495/MetroWest Partnership Communities)
The meeting will focus on bus and Commuter Rail service (Fitchburg, Framingham/Worcester, and Needham Lines).

REGION EIGHT (Bellingham, Foxborough, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, and Wrentham)
The meeting will focus on bus and Commuter Rail (Providence/Stoughton and Franklin Lines). 
Transportation Partnerships Grant Funding
Available Through MAPC& MassDevelopment

MAPC, in partnership with MassDevelopment, is offering grants up to $250,000 to contract with taxicab, livery, or hackney businesses to meet transportation and delivery needs.

Eligible grantees include regional transit agencies, municipal and state agencies, health and human services agencies, and nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts. 

The Taxi/Livery Partnership Grant Program will support public transportation and non-emergency medical transportation initiatives, including first mile/last mile connections, fixed-route shuttle service, micro-transit initiatives, incentivizing non-emergency medical transportation programs, food delivery, senior transportation, and other services that taxi, livery, or hackney businesses could provide. 

Grants are funded through the MassDevelopment Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Fund (TIEF). From 2017 to 2019, the fund collected fees on trips provided by transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to provide financial assistance to small taxi and livery businesses. Click here to learn more about the program.

Important Dates: 

The program is an adaptation of the Urgent COVID-19 Taxicab, Livery and Hackney Partnership Grant Program, which distributed over $1 million in funding this year to meet vulnerable populations’ transportation and delivery needs during the COVID-19 emergency. Recipients of the urgent grant program are eligible to apply for the grant opportunity. 
Reminder: New Small Business Grant Program Now Open, Applications Due November 12th

The Baker Administration announced last week that the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering a Small Business Grants program, with $50.8 million available. Grant awards range between $25,000 and $75,000; eligibility criteria and applications are available online here. Applications for the Small Business Grants program are now open.

As part of this grant program, preference is given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, or focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, who have been unable to open and those most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference is also given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs, including PPP and other relief related to COVID-19.

The program has two distinct funding “doors” based on business size, with different eligibility criteria. Applicants must review this information to determine which program to proceed with applying.  
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected].

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership