Following criticism, MBTA delays new commuter rail schedules

Commuters wait at a MBTA commuter rail station in August.
Commuters wait at a MBTA commuter rail station in August. –Matthew Healey / The Boston Globe

After criticism from the public, recently revised schedules for the north side commuter rail will be delayed until spring 2016, transit officials announced Tuesday evening.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority says it will release a draft on the new schedules for both the north and south side services, along with “specific plans for public engagement.’’ The agency will then make changes based on public feedback and implement the schedule changes for the entire system in the spring.

The schedules, which would have operated two fewer trains out of North Station daily, were criticized by some as cuts. They were supposed to go into effect Dec. 14. The MBTA had said the changes would improve service and decrease delays.

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“The coming changes will be the most substantive made in decades; when the process is complete, we are confident that the new schedules will serve the best interests of our ridership,’’ MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement.

“But the MBTA needs to do more than provide reliable Commuter Rail service to our customers – it needs to listen to those customers and understand their needs and concerns and incorporate them into service planning,’’ she said.

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