Governor Baker, MBTA Launch RIDE Pilot Program with Uber, Lyft
Innovative ride-share partnership offers on-demand options for paratransit customers
Governor Charlie Baker joined Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, MBTA managers, disability advocates, and executives with Uber and Lyft today to launch a first-of-its-kind innovative pilot program with ride-share companies to save costs and deliver customers of the MBTA’s, THE RIDE, options for on-demand service through their smartphones.
“The reliability of our transportation system depends on the MBTA’s ability to improve its core infrastructure and provide efficient, innovative transit options that meet the needs of the system’s one million daily riders,” said Governor Baker. “This initiative represents the MBTA’s efforts to increase accessibility in a more cost-effective and efficient way that also delivers more convenient service for its paratransit customers.”
The On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program will allow the MBTA to learn and understand the opportunities and challenges of incorporating on-demand paratransit options into public transit, and follows a program launched in January with multiple Boston-area taxi providers to subsidize trips for RIDE users via cab. Customers unable to use a smartphone or without access to one can book rides by using a phone-in option from Lyft or obtain a smart phone from Uber on a limited basis.
“We want to meet the needs of our customers to help them get to where they are going efficiently and that is why we are increasing investments in the core transit system and introducing innovative options for our paratransit customers,” said Secretary Pollack. “This pilot takes a major step toward providing the kind of flexibility, responsiveness and on-demand customer service that has been the focus of our reforms, and that our paratransit riders deserve.”
The pilot is also part of the MBTA’s efforts to deliver more efficient and cost-effective service. Current RIDE service comes at a variable cost of $31 to the MBTA, a $3.15 set fare for customers and a minimum of one day advance notice required. Ride-share pilot participants will have on-demand service available via their smartphone app or the phone-in option and pay the first $2.00 of the trip. The MBTA will pick up the next $13.00 of the trip, with the customer picking up any remaining trip costs.
Today’s event was held at the Perkins School for the Blind which helped initiate the pilot, working closely with disability advocates and the MBTA. Joining Governor Baker and Secretary Pollack for the announcement were MBTA Interim General Manager Brian Shortsleeve, Perkins’ President and CEO Dave Power, Perkins’ Chief Financial Officer Lisa Calise, (who was appointed to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board by Governor Baker last year), and the Boston General Managers for Uber and Lyft.
“This collaborative effort between the MBTA, our partners at Uber and Lyft, Perkins, and so many others shows how we can use private market innovation and emerging technology to enhance service and accessibility for our riders,” said Interim General Manager Shortsleeve. “The MBTA will continue to explore opportunities like these to reduce costs and provide flexible transit options while investing in the core system.”
As part of the pilot, Lyft will partner with a local Americans with Disabilities Act/Non-Emergency Medical Transportation firm to provide wheelchair accessible rental vehicles to Lyft drivers. To incentivize the supply of wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road, the MBTA will offer an additional $12 per completed trip to those Lyft drivers using an accessible rental. Uber currently has wheelchair accessible vehicles through its UberACCESS program that will be available for the MBTA pilot.
“We are honored to be working with the MBTA to improve convenient and reliable transportation options for their customers, our riders,” said Uber Boston General Manager, Chris Taylor. “Uber’s technology has helped expand access to convenient transportation options, while improving mobility and independence for thousands of people across the Commonwealth,”
“Lyft is proud to bring on-demand transportation to customers of The RIDE,” said Tyler George, General Manager of Lyft Boston. “This partnership with the MBTA marks an exciting next step in enhancing and expanding The RIDE’s service by reducing passenger wait times and increasing access to jobs, education, errands, and social activities.”
Driver-partners will undergo third-party safety screenings, vehicle and criminal background record checks and receive educational materials on providing service for RIDE customers with accessibility needs. Uber and Lyft will also offer sessions to train driver-partners to better serve pilot customers.
“Independent, reliable transportation is critical for people with disabilities to get to work, school or other community activities on time,” said Dave Power, President and CEO of Perkins School for the Blind. “Para-transit riders can now access the same on-demand services enjoyed by people without disabilities bringing us another step closer to inclusive public transportation.”
Interested RIDE customers are encouraged to participate by visiting the MBTA’s website for more information and signing up with both Uber and Lyft to maximize participation. RIDE-eligible users approved for the pilot will receive app access to request on-demand services.
“We are excited to see THE RIDE expand customer options and efficiencies, with a commitment to long-term accessibility options,” said Bill Henning, Director of the Boston Center for Independent Living.
“Thousands of seniors who are no longer able to use fixed route service rely on The RIDE for their transportation needs but as costs have escalated it has become important to explore new options to meet those needs,” said Carolyn Villers, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council. “This pilot is an important step forward because it has the potential to improve access to responsive service while also providing a more cost-effective model.”
“AACT is looking forward to working with Lyft/Uber and the MBTA in providing an additional transportation resource to the disability community on the RIDE program,” said James White, Chairman of the Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA.
The RIDE provides an average of 7,000 daily trips, with demand set to grow as the senior population continues to expand. Customers over 65 years of age account for about 60% of RIDE users and 9% require wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The RIDE currently provides door-to-door transit service for individuals in a 712-mile-square area that includes 60 cities and towns and over 2.5 million people unable to access or use the MBTA’s fixed-route system. Users of The RIDE are required to book trips one day in advance.
For more information on The RIDE paratransit program, including service area, click here.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces First Statewide Safe Medication Disposal Program with Walgreens to Fight Substance Misuse
Take-back program allows safe and convenient disposal of unwanted medications in Walgreens Pharmacies across Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker, joined by state and local officials, today announced that Walgreens is the first pharmacy in Massachusetts to launch a new safe and convenient medication disposal program to reduce prescription drug misuse while visiting a new kiosk at the Walgreens Quincy Avenue store in Quincy. Walgreens installed 13 drug take-back kiosks in pharmacies throughout Massachusetts for easy disposal of unwanted, unused or expired medications at no cost and no questions asked.
“Opioid misuse and addiction can often start at home in our own medicine cabinets, and today we are pleased to partner with Walgreens to take more steps toward combating this public health crisis,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Increasing drug take back opportunities and installing free safe disposal kiosks in pharmacies across the Commonwealth is another step in the right direction as the Commonwealth works collaboratively to bend the trend on opioid and heroin misuse.”
Installation of the statewide kiosks is another step forward in the Commonwealth’s commitment to battling the opioid and heroin epidemic that has impacted communities from Cape Cod to Western Massachusetts. Take-back kiosks are located at Walgreens stores in East Boston, Fall River, Framingham, Gloucester, Lowell, Malden, Quincy, Randolph, Roxbury, Stoneham, Stoughton, Springfield and Worcester.
“We applaud Walgreens for responding to our call for safe, convenient ways to dispose of unused medications,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “People aren’t always sure how to safely dispose of unneeded medicines. Having these receptacles readily accessible to the public will help to reduce misuse of medication and safely eliminate unneeded prescription medication.”
In addition, Walgreens, as well as several other pharmacies statewide, have made naloxone available without requiring a prescription from a physician. Naloxone is a life-saving drug which is administered in the event of an overdose and immediately reverses the effects of heroin or other opioids.
The kiosks are heavy metal containers with a top, one-way opening drop slot and lock that will be mounted to the ground or wall with direct or video surveillance while the pharmacy is open. Individuals can dispose of all prescriptions including controlled substances and over-the-counter medications. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies will be available for use during regular pharmacy hours.
“We need to make the safe disposal of medication easier, and these kiosks do just that,” said Walgreens Regional Vice President for Massachusetts Brad Ulrich, “Using a safe medication disposal kiosk at a participating Walgreens is one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidently used or intentionally misused by someone else.”
To date, Walgreens has installed take-back kiosks in more than 500 of its stores in 35 states.
“Governor Baker’s commitment to tackling the tragedy of substance abuse affecting so many of our families across the Commonwealth has been unrelenting since the day he took office, and I applaud Walgreens for echoing that commitment with this new program. There is much we must continue to do, but every new tool like this is vitally important,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch.
“With the number of overdose-related deaths on the rise, the legislature has made tackling the opioid epidemic a priority. Partnering with Governor Baker and his administration, we have enacted landmark legislation aimed at fighting this public health crisis. It’s also important to partner with the private sector, and having a business like Walgreens join us in this fight is a big step. These free, anonymous drug take-back kiosks for unused medications are a positive development in some of our hardest-hit areas, like the city of Quincy,” said Representative Bruce J. Ayers.
“We’re pleased today to see another ally join the fight against prescription drug misuse, an issue that has fueled the crisis we face today,” said State Senator John F. Keenan. “The Commonwealth is asking every stakeholder to join this fight. We are preparing to implement the nation’s first statewide drug takeback requirement at the manufacturer level, and I commend Walgreens for this step to help make that program successful.”
Fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic has been a priority of the Baker-Polito Administration since day one. Earlier this year, Governor Baker signed landmark opioid legislation into law to address the deadly opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth. The law includes numerous recommendations from the Governor’s opioid working group, including prevention education for students and doctors, and the first law in the nation to establish a seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions. It also requires that doctors check the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database before writing a prescription for a Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 narcotic.
In 2015, the Governor’s Opioid Working Group released recommendations and a comprehensive Action Plan aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. These short and long-term recommendations focus on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery support. Approximately 90 percent of the initiatives in the Governor’s action plan are complete or underway.More information is available at mass.gov/stopaddiction.
Governor Baker Breaks Ground on the Parkway at Union Point
Infrastructure improvements will enable the construction of up to 3,900 housing units and 6 million square feet of commercial and retail space
Governor Charlie Baker joined Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Representative Ronald Mariano, officials from the towns of Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth, and the real estate development firm LStar Communities to break ground on the Parkway at Union Point. The $6.7 million roadway will unlock the $2 billion redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, by connecting Route 18 in Weymouth to the Bill Delahunt Parkway, which links the eastern portion of the former base to Rockland.
“For nearly two decades, the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station has been one of the largest, and most promising, economicdevelopment opportunities in Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “This infrastructure investment will finally deliver on the redevelopment project’s full promise, enabling the private sector to create thousands of jobs, and thousands of new housing units, in the region.”
“This milestone is the result of close collaboration with our legislative partners, the municipalities of Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth, and Union Point’s developer, LStar Communities,”; said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Complex projects like Union Point require strong vision and strong partnerships with local stakeholders to invest successfully in infrastructure, jobs and new housing opportunities.”
The new parkway infrastructure allows for the construction of 800 new units of transit-oriented housing, as well as the construction of Union Point’s mixed-use town center district. The parkway extension is a necessary component to achieving the full buildout of Union Point, which will contain up to 3,900 housing units, and up to 6 million square feet of commercial and retail space, when complete.
“I am pleased that the Parkway extension is underway as it will connect the Bill Delahunt Parkway with the South Weymouth MBTA Station, improving access for commuters throughout the South Shore,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “By connecting Route 3 with Route 18, the Parkway will run from Rockland to Weymouth bridging surrounding communities and driving traffic to Union Point. I applaud Governor Baker, Mayor Hedlund, and our local elected officials for working closely with LStar Communities to ensure the development is transit-oriented and meets the needs of residents of Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland.”;
The former South Weymouth Naval Air Station is currently only partially served by adequate roadway infrastructure. The 1.8-mile long Bill Delahunt Parkway, opened by the Commonwealth in 2013, links the eastern portion of development site to Route 3, through the Town of Rockland. However, the Delahunt Parkway stopped short of running across the entirety of the former base. As a result, there is no connectivity between the area surrounding the South Weymouth MBTA commuter rail station, where much of the Union Point development will be concentrated, and the Delahunt Parkway.
“This new roadway opens up opportunities for the public today and for generations to come,” said Transportation Secretary and MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Through a public-private partnership with LStar Communities, this important infrastructure investment was able to break ground quickly and help catalyze a faster build-out of Union Point.”;
“Union Point showcases our commitment to unlocking dynamic regional economic development opportunities across Massachusetts,”said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “By completing this parkway, and linking the existing Delahunt Parkway to the South Weymouth commuter rail station and Union Point’s future town center district, we are spurring the creation of new transit-oriented housing, restaurants, shops, and employment opportunities for the South Shore.”
Governor Baker broke ground on a half-mile-long parkway extension that will connect Union Point development parcels around the South Weymouth commuter rail station to the Delahunt Parkway. The $6.7 million parkway extension, financed by MassDOT, will also provide roadway frontage for Union Point’s future mixed-use town center.
“This is a significant day in the long history of this project,” said Representative Ronald Mariano. “I have always felt that it would be a recipe for success for this development to have the ability to connect to both Route 3 and Route 18 on the other side. The completion of the roadway with this investment of state money will make that connection a reality and allow the vision and potential for this site to take hold. I want to commend Governor Baker and his administration for seeing the value of this investment, and understanding the potential that many of us local officials have long believed in.”;
“As a Weymouth Town Councilor for the past eleven years, I have seen the South Weymouth Naval Air Station transform into what is already a growing, modern community,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor. “The progress being made at Union Point has been remarkable. The construction and completion of this portion of the parkway through Union Point will allow this development to reach its full potential by creating both homes and jobs for the residents of the South Shore and Metro Boston.”;
“This expansion will allow construction to move forward on this vital project which will serve as an economic engine for our entire region for many years to come," said Representative James Murphy. “I want to thank the Governor, his administration, as well as my colleagues for supporting this important investment."
“The Parkway extension represents the latest important milestone in fulfilling the goals of Union Point,” said Weymouth Mayor Robert L. Hedlund. “I appreciate all who were involved to make this possible, with special thanks to the Baker-Polito Administration, the Weymouth Town Council, our legislative delegation, our partners in Abington and Rockland, and the SouthField Redevelopment Authority Board. This was truly a collaborative effort that is a key part to the success at Union Point.”;
“Today we are celebrating the model for how government and private enterprise can work together to boost our economy and create new opportunities for an entire region,” said Kyle Corkum, managing partner of LStar Communities. “This new road, which could not have been built without the advocacy of our political leaders, will be a major factor in the growth of Union Point and the economic growth of the region. We've already signed new commercial and residential developments as a result of this important parkway, and we look forward to sharing some exciting announcements in the weeks to come.”;
The parkway extension is expected to be substantially completed in November 2016.
Governor Baker Nominates Three to the Massachusetts Superior Court
Governor Charlie Baker nominated Michael K. Callan, Karen F. Green and James Gavin Reardon to the Massachusetts Superior Court.
“I am proud to nominate three well-qualified candidates to serve on the Massachusetts Superior Court,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Mike Callan, Karen Green and Gavin Reardon will bring a strong worth ethic, professional demeanor, and tremendous experience with the Massachusetts legal system to our Superior Court bench if confirmed by the Governor’s Council.”
“Superior Court Justices are an integral component of the criminal and civil legal communities which they preside over,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These three nominees are prepared to work hard in order to serve both the Commonwealth and their respective counties with dignity and pride, if confirmed.”
Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the statewide Judicial Nominating Commission and recommended to the Governor. All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council.
"I am grateful to the Governor for nominating these three outstanding lawyers, with their excellent credentials and varied backgrounds and experience, to the Superior Court,” said Superior Court Chief Justice Fabricant. “I am confident that, if confirmed by the Governor's Council, each of them will contribute greatly to the Court's mission of providing quality and timely justice to the public."
The Superior Court is comprised of 82 justices in 20 courthouses across all 14 counties and is a statewide court of general jurisdictions that handles a broad variety of civil litigation in matters of contract, injury, civil rights, and others with amounts in controversy exceeding $25,000. In addition, the Court oversees criminal matters including homicide, sex offenses, robbery, and financial fraud. Approximately 65% of the cases are civil lawsuits and the remaining 35% are criminal proceedings.
For more information about the Massachusetts Superior Court, visit http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/trial-court/sc/
About Michael K. Callan
Attorney Michael K. Callan has over two decades of legal experience, currently serving as a partner at Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C. in Springfield, MA, where he handles a variety of complex civil litigation for the firm, including corporate, business and construction disputes, as well as zoning and large tort cases. He also currently serves as Town Counsel to Longmeadow, Ludlow and Hampden. A graduate of Boston College, where he earned magna cum laude honors, and of Boston College Law School, Mr. Callan worked as a clerk for the Superior Court after law school. Attorney Callan has done extensive volunteer work, including six years as counsel to the Suburban Amateur Football League; four years as President of Longmeadow Youth Football Association, Inc. and several years as counsel to Longmeadow ABC, Inc., an organization devoted to promoting opportunities to inner city youth. He also volunteers, providing legal guidance to patients at the Noble Hospital, Lawyer for the Day in Hampden County Probate Court and Springfield School Volunteers Program. Callan is a lifelong resident of Western Massachusetts and currently resides in Longmeadow.
About Karen F. Green
Attorney Karen F. Green is currently a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Boston where she concentrates on complex business litigation, including white collar criminal investigations and litigation. She has more than three decades of legal experience in both the private and public sectors and has participated extensively in numerous bar and community activities. Ms. Green began her career clerking for US District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. in Boston, before working as a Litigation Associate, Junior Partner and Senior Partner at Hale and Dorr. Ms. Green also worked as an Assistant US Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Civil Division at the US Attorney’s Office, as Chief of Staff to Governor Bill Weld, and as Deputy US Attorney. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe College, where she earned a degree in Sociology, and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Born and raised in Somerville, MA, Ms. Green is the daughter of a police officer and currently lives in Brookline.
About James Gavin Reardon
Attorney James “Gavin” Reardon, Jr., who has over thirty years of legal experience, currently owns and operates his own firm, Reardon Law Firm in Worcester, MA, and is “Of Counsel” to the Worcester law firm of Milton, Laurence and Dixon. He is a graduate of Trinity College and Georgetown University Law Center and began his career working at Reardon & Reardon, with his father, before establishing his own practice in 1999. Gavin Reardon has significant experience in both criminal defense and civil personal injury litigation. He is certified by the Committee for Public Counsel Services to represent indigent criminal defendants in murder cases and by the Criminal Justice Act Panel to represent indigent clients charged with crimes in Federal Court. He lectures in the field of law office technology and electronic evidence. He is a long time Co-Chair of the Worcester County Bar Association Law Office Technology Committee. A resident of Shrewsbury, where he lives with his family, Attorney Reardon is also a past president of the Worcester Bar County Association and is a Region 10 Delegate to the Massachusetts Bar Association and a long-time member of the MBA Executive Management Board.