The Massachusetts Transportation System
The Executive Office of Transportation
The EOT develops, implements and coordinates statewide transportation policies including public transit services. The EOT also oversees several transportation agencies. Control and oversight of the public transit system is divided between state and local authorities.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The MBTA is an independent state authority operating commuter rail, rapid rail, surface rail, commuter boat, bus, trackless trolley and van services. Every day, the MBTA serves approximately 1.1 million passengers in Boston and surrounding communities. The MBTA is overseen by a board of directors appointed by the Governor. The Secretary of Transportation from EOT serves as its chairman.
Regional Transit Authorities
Acknowledging the need for local control of transportation services, Chapter 161B of the M.G.L. established independent regional transit authorities in 1973. Today, 15 independent RTAs serve 231 urbanized areas, suburban municipalities and rural communities outside the Greater Boston area. The RTAs are governed by an Advisory Board — members are elected officials of their member communities. The RTAs must hire private operating companies to provide transportation services in accordance with M.G.L. 161B.
The Human Service Transportation Office
Agencies within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) contract for services to the state’s most vulnerable populations, including individuals with disabilities. The HST office oversees a brokerage system of coordinated transportation services for eligible agency consumers, and was established within EOHHS in 2001. The HST office currently coordinates transportation for three agencies (Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Department of Public Health (DPH) and MassHealth through a partnership with the Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works (EOTPW) and select RTAs to administer transportation services for all eligible EOHHS consumers.
The HST office also serves as a resource for transportation-related matters to other agencies under EOHHS who require guidance and/or assistance in establishing effective transportation protocols for its consumers. Human service transportation is provided in two ways:
- Demand-Response (“dial-a-ride”) transportation provides as-needed trips for consumers to varying locations. This model is used primarily for MassHealth non-emergency medical transportation services.
- Program-Based transportation operates on a daily or regularly scheduled basis. Consumers are transported from their homes to a program facility on a grouped or shared-ride basis. This includes transportation to Day Habilitation programs for DDS consumers and to DPH’s Early Intervention programs.