We’ve talked about the importance of public transportation in this space before.  It’s fairly obvious that a reliable and safe public transportation system is essential to big city life and improvements to such a system benefit everyone.  Especially in a down economy when people need to get to jobs they live further and further away from and with gas prices being as volatile as they are, public transit keeps the economy moving forward.

Admittedly, the MBTA is not perfect (shocking, I know).  There is a laundry list of changes we would love to see happen.  However, given the current economic situation of the MBTA, we understand that some of those things may need to wait to be implemented.

We were also aware that the MBTA was considering some fare increases to narrow the budget gap and help create a firmer financial standing.

We did not expect what was reported today in the Boston Globe.

You can check out the the MBTA report here.  The MBTA has proposed two different scenarios as follows:

Scenario 1:

  • Overall fare increase of 43%
  • Weekend service on the Mattapan high-speed line eliminated
  • Weekend service on the E branch of the Green Line eliminated
  • Bus ride with CharlieCard would increase from $1.25 to $1.75
  • Subway ride with CharlieCard would increase from $1.70 to $2.40
  • Weekend commuter rail service eliminated
  • Commuter rail service stopped at 10:00 pm
  • Commuter rail fares increased 43%
  • MBTA ferry service eliminated
  • 23 weekday bus routes eliminated
  • 19 Saturday bus routes eliminated
  • 18 Sunday bus routes eliminated

Scenario 2:

  • Overall fare increase of 35%
  • Weekend service on the Mattapan high-speed line eliminated
  • Weekend service on the E branch of the Green Line eliminated
  • Bus ride with CharlieCard would increase from $1.25 to $1.50
  • Subway ride with CharlieCard would increase from $1.70 to $2.25
  • Weekend commuter rail service eliminated
  • Commuter rail service stopped at 10:00 pm
  • Commuter rail fares increased 35%
  • MBTA ferry service eliminated
  • 101 weekday bus routes eliminated
  • 69 Saturday bus routes eliminated
  • 50 Sunday bus routes eliminated
  • 11 bus routes reduced in length

Either of those situations would be a pretty tough pill to swallow.  Being a public transit geek myself, I understand the dire situation the MBTA is facing, but I do not believe this is the way it ought to be addressed.  I think a fare increase alone would be a tough sell, but as long as services were maintained, I think most people would accept it and move on.

But the service reductions and eliminations being proposed here in addition to a fare increase are too much.  Additionally, while an annual budget deficit is a problem, so is the multi-billion dollar debt that the MBTA is currently walking around with along with the hundreds of millions of back-logged maintenance that the system needs.

I have one thought that is keeping all hope from diminishing: someone at the MBTA or the MassDOT is taking a big chance and putting this out there to generate exactly the kind of negative response which will hopefully light a fire under our state lawmakers to make them find a better way to fund  the MBTA and its operations.  I have all my fingers and toes crossed that this is the case, even though it is a wayyyyyyyyyyy outside chance.

For Massachusetts to succeed, Boston needs to succeed.  For Boston to succeed, we need a safe, reliable, and frequent public transportation system.

So if you live in Boston or the surrounding area and you rely on the T, get talking to family and friends.  Tell the MBTA how you feel (@mbtaGM on Twitter, general contact info here) and maybe most importantly get in touch with your state rep and state senator.  They are the ones who make the decisions about funding state agencies like the MBTA, and they need to know that this is unacceptable.

If we want Boston to have a bright future, we need to find a better way to fix the T.

– Nick Downing, Future Boston Program Manager

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About Future Boston Alliance

Future Boston Alliance is a non-profit organization seeking to revolutionize our city's creative economy. By advocating for new talent and businesses and holding educational events, we aim to make Boston a hub for collaboration, innovation, and culture.

2 responses »

  1. […] reiterate a point I made a couple days ago, which I will again say is based entirely on a hunch: I don’t think the MBTA wants either of […]

  2. […] covered in general the MBTA’s proposed fare increases and service cuts already, and we wrote a little about what’s causing all of this mess to come about.  Today, we are going […]

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