The 9.2-mile Fairmount Indigo Line is a MBTA commuter rail service running from South Station in Boston’s CBD to Readville, passing through the following neighborhoods: Downtown Boston, South Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park. The Line bypasses large sections of predominately lower-income urban neighborhoods that have endured the environmental impact of the train without enjoying the benefit of access to it. Currently, there are only four stops outside the CBD: Upham’s Corner, Morton Street, Fairmount and Readville. The Line makes 17 inbound trips and 14 outbound trips every weekday. The trip takes about 30 minutes and the average daily ridership is 1,650 passengers. While offering minimal service, fares are significantly more than on the city’s rapid transit lines and vary from station to station. Not surprisingly, the Fairmount Indigo Line has the lowest ridership of any commuter rail service in Boston.
The lack of accessible and reliable public transit has had a negative impact on the approximately 131, 946 residents that live within a ½ mile radius of the stations along the corridor. Currently, about 35% of the residents along the line have one-way commuting times of over 35 minutes and about 14% have one-way commuting times of over 1 hour. Approximately 40% of residents between the existing Upham’s Corner and Morton Street stations do not own a car. The Corridor includes some of Boston’s lowest income neighborhoods, with approximately 50% of area households earning less than $40,000 per year, while the median household income in the City of Boston is around $52,400 per year. The racial make-up of the Corridor is approximately 49% African-
American, 18% Hispanic or Latino, and 19% White and 7% Asian. The Readville and Fairmount stations are located in predominantly middle-income, white neighborhoods, while Upham’s Corner and Morton Street station are located in predominantly lower-income, minority neighborhoods.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is currently constructing four new stations strategically located along the Line at:
Newmarket/South Bay (open)
Four Corners (open)
Talbot Avenue (open)
Cummins/Blue Hill Avenue (in design)
These new stations will significantly expand transportation options (both rail and bus) for communities living within the Fairmount Indigo Corridor. Approximately 40,000 people live within a one-half mile walk of the existing four stations. An additional 42,000 people live within a one-half mile walk of the four new stations. If all six new stations were to be constructed, an additional 68,000 people would be within a one-half mile walk of a transit stop.
While the addition of the new stations is an important step in improving mobility for local residents, connecting the Fairmount Indigo line with major cross-roads can further enhance its viability. In addition, there remains a need to increase access to jobs and affordable housing, to spur increased capital investment for current and future businesses, and to improve the livability of the neighborhoods as a whole.