Boston Mayor Michelle Wu started a recent TikTok video bundled in a beanie, bright and early in the morning.
“Today we are going to commute with Becky,” Wu said with a smile. “Becky is a teacher and we have got to get her from Brighton, on the bus, to her school, to get her settled in time before the students arrive.”
It’s part of a new social media campaign in which Wu commutes with Bostonians “to experience all parts of our transportation system and how we can do better,” per her caption.
Wu’s video continued, as she greeted Becky, a ninth grade teacher, at a bus stop. Becky detailed parts of her commute, like tracking the 501 bus on her phone, standing in an unheated bus shelter, and even how she gets to watch the sunrise on the bus every morning.
Wu asked her how many of her students get to school, as well.
“The vast majority of my students commute via public transit,” Becky explained. “They are susceptible to the same shuttles and bus woes.”
She shared that some students are late to school for the same reasons she might run late, like missing a bus or waiting in the cold.
Before Wu and Becky parted ways, the Mayor asked what kinds of improvements the teacher would like to see in regard to the city’s public transportation system, if she could wave a magic wand.
“I would do more buses, more express buses, more buses all around,” Becky said. “I would do more well-functioning trains that don’t need to be shut down all the time. And I would do heated bus stops because it’s really cold.”
Wu’s enthusiasm to hear Becky’s feedback seems genuine, and according to her official city biography, the Mayor is an “MBTA rider.”
Other videos on her TikTok page include information about speed humps in streets, how to make the most out of a Boston Bike Pass, and quick video reminders about closures along MBTA routes (in both English and Spanish).
Wu, who is Boston’s first woman and first person of color Mayor, has a long history aiming to improve transportation in her beloved city.
She served on Boston’s City Council from 2014 to 2021, until she was elected as Mayor. In her first week, Mayor Wu worked with the city council to make three Boston bus lines, which serve predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods, fare-free for two years.
Another first act in her role as Mayor, Wu signed an ordinance divesting City funds from fossil fuels, private prisons, and the tobacco industry.
Wu has also launched a Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools, creating a district-wide effort to reduce building emissions, renovate old facilities, and modernize the city’s education system. She also expanded the city’s early childhood services and created an Office of Early Childhood to oversee the changes.
Additionally, Wu has established Boston’s first-ever Offices of Food Justice, Black Male Advancement, LGBTQ+ Advancement, and Worker Empowerment.
“Together, these achievements align Boston’s climate, infrastructure, education, and investment strategies with Boston’s values, laying the foundation for a greener, more efficient, more equitable city for generations to come,” Boston’s city website reads.
And her efforts seem to be earning her supporters.
Comments on her video with Becky show how eager constituents are to see their elected officials in action.
“Great job on getting proximate and not hearing about it and going out and experiencing it,” one user wrote. “Real change can be made when all people truly walk in someone else’s shoes.
“Yes please keep doing this!” another person added. “Love the awareness surrounding commuting issues.”
“Wait, this is the Mayor!” one user said, suddenly realizing whose profile the video came from. “We need more empathetic representatives like this.”
Header images courtesy of the Office of Mayor Wu/TikTok