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MBTA to let riders on some bus routes see how crowded the next bus is

Some crowding on a Route 1 bus

An example from the 1 bus.

The MBTA today announced a tool for some bus riders that let's them know if the bus on the way is maybe too crowded for their tastes in these uncertain times.

The "crowding information pilot" launched today for the 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109 and 110 routes. At the main MBTA bus schedule page click on an individual route number, then on one of the arrow icons that shows buses on the route to see just how crowded the particular bus is at the moment. The T says it hopes to roll out the service on additional routes.

The MBTA selected this first set of nine bus routes to pilot real-time information as these are busy routes with notably high ridership during the pandemic. For each route, the MBTA’s Customer Technology team verified the accuracy of real-time crowding information through manual passenger counts.

Crowding levels are described as “Crowded,” “Some Crowding,” and “Not Crowded.” These standards are based on the temporarily lowered crowding threshold standards that accommodate social distancing measures with customers able to learn more about these thresholds at mbta.com/crowding. This information will also continue to be available to customers as the Commonwealth transitions through its opening phases with the MBTA’s Customer Technology team making adjustments as needed to best communicate this information.

According to a T spokesperson, the counts are possible even without passengers tapping CharlieCards or feeding CharlieTickets or cash into the fare box at the front because of automated passenger counters the T has on many buses now:

These small counters are located at the front and rear doors, and use lasers to detect when someone boards or alights from the bus.

There's a short video with directions on how to find the info.

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The #10 and SL5 were both crowded - and we're not even up to full steam yet.

Voting closed 10

How about "crowded", "wicked crowded", "jammed" and "buses running bunched up"? - from a former 66 rider.

Voting closed 12

But the three buses following within 0-60 seconds, because MBTA is incapable of preventing 2-4 buses from bunching, are totally empty.

Voting closed 11