New Survey: Boston Area Professionals View Public Transportation as “Unreliable” and Getting Worse

Written by

Matt George

Partner, Head of Research

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Respondents Cite Boston Transportation Options as Lagging Behind Other Cities

Boston area professionals are facing increasing challenges from what is seen as an “unreliable” public transportation system, according to the latest poll conducted by Seven Letter, a bipartisan, full-service strategic communications firm, in partnership with the Boston Business Journal. The survey of over 100 Boston area professionals is the fourth in a series of polls examining views on issues including workplace benefits, COVID-19 policies and expectations as they relate to office space.

While 86% of respondents to the most recent poll view local public transportation as “safe”, and 75% view it is “affordable”, a majority find it to be unreliable. Furthermore, 57% indicated that the problem has gotten worse in the last six months, with one in five responding that it has gotten a LOT worse. Only 6% answered that reliability has gotten better.

“The results from this poll illustrate Boston area professionals’ significant frustration with the lack of reliability in local public transportation,” said Seven Letter Partner and Head of Research Matt George. “It is concerning to see such little confidence in the reliability of a system on which so many in the Boston business community rely.”

Nearly half of all respondents said that the month-long shutdown of the Orange Line and the Green Line Extension to Union Square impacted them or their business directly. More specifically, one-third of respondents cited the lack of public transportation reliability as having negatively impacted their business’s ability to attract and retain talent, and, more broadly, to succeed financially. More than a quarter of respondents indicated that their companies have changed their remote work policy due to the lack of public transit reliability.

Not all public transportation options are graded equally, however. The “T” came in last, earning an average of “C-“ from area professionals, with the public bus system narrowly edging it out with a “C”. Commuter rail fared marginally better, earning an average of “B-“ from respondents. Viewed most favorably was the local bike and scooter share, which earned a “B+” average from professionals.

Perhaps most concerning for area officials, nearly eight of every ten respondents feel that the Boston area has worse public transportation options than other major metropolitan cities, with almost half saying that local options are MUCH worse.

“With local businesses so heavily reliant on these modes of transportation for both their employees and their customers, these results should serve as a clarion call to local officials to address what is seen as a sub-par system for such a major metropolitan city,” said Doug Banks, Executive Editor of the Boston Business Journal.