BOSTON — The MBTA has officially opened its latest stop on the Fairmount commuter rail line. The train service is designed to bring transportation and economic equality to Boston neighborhoods underserved by mass transit.
The heat was sweltering Wednesday, but it didn’t dampen the mood of the upbeat crowd as community activists and MBTA and government officials gathered to open the Four Corners/Geneva station in Dorchester.
The Fairmount line’s newest stop is a long time coming, part of a $200 million project that’s been 15 years in the making. And for many in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan who will now get train service, it’s about time.
“We won this station by our hard work and our determination, and because of our tenacity, because we never gave up,” said Mela Bush, with the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition.
The new Four Corners station is one of several being opened on the route of the old Fairmount rail line, which dates back to the 1850s. For the last 70 years it’s provided mostly suburban commuter service from Readville to downtown Boston, without stopping in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. The new stations change that.
“It’s not just about a train, it’s not just about a stop or having some construction going on in the neighborhood,” said Gov. Deval Patrick at the ribbon-cutting, “it’s about what we do right now in our time to build a stronger tomorrow.”
There’s a lot more than passengers riding on the new rail service. There’s hope.
“This is about access,” said Dorchester state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. “This is about economic opportunity. But more importantly, this is going to really jump-start development along the Fairmount line.”
For Mattapan state Rep. Russell Holmes, the new Fairmount line is a matter of transportation equity.
“That means someone not having to go on a bus or a trolley to the train and then taking a ride of about an hour and 15 minutes,” Holmes said. “It means now I can be downtown in 20 minutes.”
So far ridership on the Fairmount line has been disappointingly low, but the T recently reduced fares and community activist Bush says she has a promise from T officials to promote the new rail service.
“We need to market, market, market, we’re going to market the… swell out of this line,” she said, laughing.