Time zone change requires state cooperation |

BOSTON — For Pete Schroeder, the end of daylight saving time heralds several months of a long, dreary commute home from Boston in the dark.

“Absolutely hate it,” said Schroeder, 41, of Danvers. “It makes me want to crawl into bed when I get home from work. We oughta just get rid of it.”

Clocks turned back one hour last Sunday, marking the end of daylight saving time until March, when they’ll “spring” forward.

While the shift provides an extra hour of sunlight in the mornings, it means much of the state and region plunges into darkness before most people get out of work.

And, to the dismay of Schroeder and others who dread the shift, the practice isn’t likely to end anytime soon.

A commission exploring whether to shift Massachusetts an hour ahead and ditch the twice-a-year switch to daylight saving time has recommended the state make the change — but only if the rest of New England follows suit.

“We can’t go it alone,” said Tom Emswiler of Quincy, a member of the panel and main proponent of changing time zones. “It has to be a regional effort.”

Switching from Eastern to Atlantic Standard Time would give New England an extra hour of daylight in the evenings and put it in the same time zone as Nova Scotia and parts of the Caribbean, a move Emswiler and others say would have myriad economic and social benefits.

Moving to Atlantic time would help attract young workers who might otherwise want to avoid New England’s long, dark winters.

Massachusetts and other eastern states are technically on Atlantic time eight months out of the year, when clocks advance an hour for daylight saving time.

The state commission studied the pros and cons of how changing that to 12 months out of the year would affect local and regional economies, schools, public health, the transportation system, energy consumption, commerce and trade.

Its report cites myriad potential benefits of extended daylight in the evenings. More people would stay out later to shop and eat. It would reduce crime, boost job productivity and encourage more physical activity, the report noted.

Downsides include the safety issues created by children walking to school in the morning darkness. The time zone switch could also affect economic activity with neighboring states, and New York City, that remain on Eastern time.


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