Dedham Searching for Bus Alternatives as JBL Falters
Town's 2008 Master Plan called for an increase in local transportation, but Dedham is on the verge of axing service.
Town Administrator William Keegan is on the hunt to find a replacement for out-of-business JBL Bus Lines, a company that provides transportation services in Dedham.
Each month, residents combine for 17,000 rides.
"If you break it down on an hourly basis, it is three or four rides an hour, so it isn't as significant as it appears," Keegan said.
The town and MBTA combined to subsidize the service to residents, and cost to bring in a new company could increase the town's share, Keegan said.
"Options seem to be limited," Keegan said. "After speaking to the MBTA [initially], they indicated they would not provide any additional subsidy for the program."
Since their first discussions on the matter, Keegan said the MBTA said they might help out.
"[The MBTA] will assist the town in going out to bid for the service," Keegan said at the Board of Selectmen meeting Thursday.
Another carrier contacted the town to offer their services, but Keegan said the cost would be 45 percent higher than the cost to operate the JBL service.
If bids come in higher than what the town paid JBL, the town would have to find "additional appropriations, or discontinue the service altogether."
The 2008 Master Plan study said of the JBL service, "it operates
infrequently, and therefore ridership and dependability are very limited."
The plan further stated it wanted the town to expand local bus service to "employment centers" and central residential locations like Rustcraft Road and NewBridge on the Charles.
Since opening NewBridge, Hebrew Senior Life operates a bus on their own to connect their residents to town amenities.
Dedham most likely will sign a 30-day contract with another company - at a higher rate - to keep the service going, Keegan said.