Date: March 2nd, 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

The problem of peak hour congestion is unlikely to be solved by a surcharge on MBTA fares (Letter, Eric V. Loewenstein, Globe April 1st, 2005). Most people do not have a choice in their hours of work, these are set by their employers. The problem must be addressed through a solution requiring a systemic change involving Boston firms and the public services provided by the MBTA and the police. The solution is the widespread adoption of flexible working hours. In addition to firms increasing their flexibility in working hours, infrastructure changes will have to occur simultaneously with the changes in working hours. The MBTA will have to change its train and bus schedules: rush hour schedules will have to be extended for an hour or two each side of the morning and evening peak hours. The police department will have to put more police on the street during these extended commuting hours. Only if commuting is made easier in these off peak hours will there be a major shift in individual commuting behavior.

Can Bostonís firms, police and politicians muster the energy required to make such cooperation work?