BOSTON (CBS) – Presidential Conference Committee street cars have been on the tracks in Boston since the 1940’s. These days they’re deteriorating and complicated to fix.
“We devote a lot of time to PCC’s,” says MBTA Everett Repair Shop Manager Ed Belanger.
Not just a lot of time, but a lot of money. The latest $7.9 million investment by the MBTA will pay for new propulsion, brakes and power supply systems on the Mattapan line, but even that doesn’t guarantee the 70-year-old trolleys will function.
“If we can’t source it, find a substitute that we can adapt to the train, we may head up to the trolley museum and see what they have,” Belanger told WBZ-TV.
While a $1.1 million study is underway to determine a long term solution for the line, some are starting to wonder: Are trolleys worth the hassle and the price tag?
“We really think something this important historically can’t just be reduced to dollars and cents,” says State Rep. Dan Cullinane, 12th Suffolk District.
Cullinane represents Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Milton and grew up along the 2.6 mile trolley route.
“Riding the trolley is something we always did as a child,” says Rep. Cullinane.
He says Mattapan residents already have one of the longest commutes in Boston, and they’re not interested in making it on newer shuttle buses. In fact, the local Facebook group “Save the Mattapan Line” has almost 2,000 supporters and is still growing. Members include commuters and trolley drivers.
“People want it, they’re committed to it, and it works. The trolley really is an institution in the community so people are going to stand up and advocate for saving it.” says Rep. Cullinane.
Darlene Dever is one of those people standing up for the trolley, who hopes for her children’s sake they keep rolling on.
“They take it to work, to school, they’ve been doing that for years. We have relied on it and without it, we would be lost.”
The results of the long term study won’t be available until December but until then the MBTA is holding three public meetings.
The first one is Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Mattapan Public Library followed by Thursday April 13th at 6:30 p.m. at the Milton High School Auditorium and Monday April 24th at 6:30 p.m. at the Lower Mills Branch Public Library.
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