Absenteeism on the rise among MBTA drivers
More bus drivers are not showing up to shifts, leading to an increase in canceled rides. After the disastrous winter of 2015, Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker pledged to greatly improve the MBTA, but this increasing absenteeism is causing cancellations to return to 2015 frequency levels after successfully declining in 2016. The MBTA runs 14,000 bus trips a day and 2.6 percent, or 360, of those trips are canceled. The goal is to complete 99.5 percent of rides in the city. Of those 360 canceled trips, 85 percent are due to lack of a driver. The attendance policy for drivers was revised in 2016, and talk of revising it again is receiving pushback from the Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents the drivers because it already places a stress on the drivers. In the meantime, Boston has hired 55 new drivers to help ensure that the 1,430 drivers needed to operate at full capacity are present. James O’Brien, president of the Carmen’s Union, thinks that this is not enough and that the MBTA should hire more drivers. Chief of Operations Policy for the MBTA Jessica Casey said there is no one solution to this problem, and it will have to come from a combination of different changes.
Bertucci’s closes its location in Wellesley
Over spring break, Wellesley students lost another dining option. Bertucci’s, an Italian chain restaurant with locations mainly in New England, closed abruptly on March 25. The restaurant had provided both formal dining and take out. Before closing, the restaurant had occupied its location at the Community Playhouse on Washington Street since 1989. The Playhouse itself closed in 1987. An executive at Bertucci’s, Christine Moscaritolo, said the closure was lease related, and the TD bank that also occupied the space has closed as well. However, if anyone is craving their legendary bread rolls, many other Bertucci’s locations remain open in the area.
Two iconic women stay out of 2020 presidential race
Both Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren were in Boston last week. At separate events — Warren at a town hall in Dorchester and Obama at leadership conference in the Seaport District — both women delivered the news that they are not considering running for president in the 2020 election. Warren explained that she is committed to her role as senator of Massachusetts and if she wins the upcoming Senate election, she will finish up her six-year term in 2024. Her active role as an antagonist of Trump and a strong female leader has made her a favorite among Democrats. Obama is the much beloved former first lady of the United States, but despite her role, she said that “I don’t want to be president; I don’t think I should be president; I think I can do a lot of things, but that’s not one of them.”
Mount Ida College will close and be acquired by the University of Massachusetts system
Mount Ida College, located in Newton, Mass., will close operations after commencement this spring. The College has had a tumultuous year after a deal to be acquisitioned by Lasell College fell through. The College will now be acquired by University of Massachusetts, and the University of Massachusetts system must acquire Mount Ida’s debt, and students at the college will be able to complete their degrees at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where, they have been guaranteed, all of their credits will transfer. They will also have on-campus housing there, most likely near other Mount Ida students. University of Massachusetts, Amherst plans to use the Newton campus as a satellite that would bring them closer to Boston. It could potentially be used for students taking a year to do an internship in Boston, for alumni to gather closer to where they live and for online classes. Despite this transition, Mount Ida accepted a group of first-year students to start in the fall 2018, and their website still has information for prospective students about how to apply.