The MBTA’s governing board is considering a fare increase that will average 6.3% for T riders, effective July 1, 2019.
The big picture is that we want more people riding public transportation. As development continues across the region, our roads are becoming more and more congested. It will take a sustained focus on improving public transportation to reshape development patterns and make public transportation viable for more travelers.
To support the necessary investments, we will need to raise revenue. A number of approaches are possible, including congestion pricing, tolling of more roadways, regional transit ballot initiatives, carbon pricing and the old-fashioned gas tax. Our Senate President has expressed willingness to begin the conversation about transportation improvement in earnest in the current legislative session.
In the long run, we should move towards lowering the fares for public transportation riders, even eliminating fares. Especially on very expensive commuter rail routes, some riders are deterred by high fares. We want riders at all income levels to be able to choose public transportation.
For now, we know that currently available revenue is insufficient to fund even the “state of good repair” plans of the MBTA, never mind expansions. For most riders, the biggest concern is not cost. They are more concerned about reliability and congestion. If the public will support substantial new revenues for transit, I firmly believe that those revenues should first be devoted to maintenance and service improvement.
The proposed increase is not a game changer for the MBTA. Fares are only about one third of the MBTA’s funding — the bulk (59.5%) of the MBTA’s funding comes from the taxpayers through state and local government contributions. The fare increase is under 7%.
In 2016, after extensive negotiation, the legislature regulated the MBTA’s fare increases, limiting them to 7% every two years. The current proposal fits within that limit.
Several additional observations should be made regarding the context of the fare proposal. First, fare evasion, especially on the commuter rail, is a reality. However, the MBTA is making both ongoing and long term efforts to reduce fare evasion. Over the next two years, the MBTA’s automated fare collection “2.0” will be rolled out. It will maximize fare collection while also reducing boarding delays.
Second, some have expressed concerns about the MBTA’s level of outreach and public process around the fare increase. The outreach has been extensive and the decision about the fare increase will reflect extended deliberation by T’s Fiscal Management and Control Board. That said, I’m always for improving the public process and the legislature’s Transportation Committee will likely conduct after-the-fact oversight hearings about the fare increase and the fare increase process.
Finally, there are valid concerns about the cost of pension benefits for MBTA workers. For better or worse, under federal transportation law, these concerns need to be resolved through collective bargaining as opposed to state legislation. MBTA management is well aware of its fiduciary responsibility to address the sustainability and fairness of the pension plan in the context of bargaining about many competing considerations. One significant increment of progress was accomplished recently through collective bargaining — to require the publication of full and complete annual financial reports for pension funds, including outside audits.
The MBTA’s board will soon make a decision on their proposed fare increase. The increase is modest and within the parameters that the legislature has defined. The decision about the increase belongs to the MBTA board and I would not support any legislative intervention to block it.
Regardless of the board’s decision, over the coming months and years, I will continue to press for transportation improvements on many fronts for transit riders and for drivers.
I agree with having it lower or free long term. How about getting more from the larger universities and colleges like BC, BU, Harvard, Northeastern, MIT, Tufts, etc as well as the 4 major sports teams as it is only a benefit to them if we have a first class public transportation system.
Many employers do contribute through their monthly pass programs. But additional contributions could be part of the solution.
I don’t know if you want to hear from someone outside your district, but as a lifelong Brighton resident (up until a few years ago), I hope you’ll take this comment. When I ride commuter rail from Natick Center, which has no ticket machine, the fare is only collected about half the time. I’m prepared to pay, but no one collects the money. On a weekend trip from Allston to Yawkey on the train, we stood with the conductor for the short ride, and he never asked for the fare. Many times on the D line, the driver has waved people on or put his hand over the fare machine. It’s not right to raise fares when the staff are not collecting money when they should, and ticket machines are not available at all stations. I feel sorry for the people who buy passes. Thanks for all you do!
It’s not like the T doesn’t care about collecting. There are just situations where enforcement is challenging. There is also sometimes a tradeoff between moving the people along and checking for scoff-laws.
But the T’s new fare system, coming soon should reduce the abuses.
Quite thoughtful, as usual, Will.
Would it be possible to bundle one or more of the additional features required to fund and improve transportation and reduce our carbon foot at the same time?
It seems that would go over with MBTA riders if they felt they were not the only ones being relied upon to solve these problems.
Worth noting that the taxpayer contributions are also going up, but that is automatic, so there is no discussion.
I think we should be doing a bundle of investment-level revenue concepts, but that won’t happen before the fare increase, which is basically routine.
Has anyone explored using ferries to transport commuters down the Charles River?
Sad their solution is always more money. Presumably sane people are speaking of autonomous vehicles, yet the back car in a tandem subway still needs a driver. A guard would be cheaper than a driver. When is the last time the T eliminated a layer of management?
Yes, raise the fares. Add a gasoline tax for use on upgrading mass transportation. Steer a portion of other taxes to transportation upgrades. Help spread the population outside expensive and congested Boston along reliable transportation hubs.
Dear Mr. Brownsberger,
How will the proposed fare increase affect fares for Senior Citizens, those
65 years old and older.
The will still have the discount, but will feel a modest increase.
Thanks, Will. The long-term goal (for the planet) is carbon elimination. I’m all for a (major) increase in the gas tax, carbon pricing and congestion pricing. I understand the T’s need to raise fares. But I also volunteer for an outreach service that feeds the homeless, and these guys are really going to be hurt be even a 7% increase. I know this isn’t something that’s technically the T’s problem, but since the mayor is willing to subsidize student fares (all good), can we somehow look at helping out the working and non-working poor in this regard? Something like a reduced-rate monthly pass for subway/buses would help a lot of these folks.
I often get on the T at Cleveland Circle. Those trains have just come out of the yard and for whatever reason the boarding counter/sensor is often not fully on. When that happens the driver just waves the passengers on, which is certainly the right thing to do. However, once the counter is turned on the driver could and should ask the passengers who were waved on to come pay their fare. I suppose there is some reason why they don’t do that, but if you are looking for ways to raise revenue that don’t cost anything this should be on the list.
I agree that this raise in T fares is needed. But what MA really needs is a raise in the gas tax.
Most people agree more funding is needed for public transport here in Boston. The proposed increases are not overly heavy either. However, the real revenue issue is too many cars on the road not paying their fair share. Companies whose employees rely on the MBTA to get to work should also pay their fair share through taxes and community improvement projects instead of receiving tax incentives and tax breaks that do nothing but force citizens in the community to carry more of the burden. As for MBTA pay, MBTA workers are already compensated more than adequately – especially when compared to other workers in the private sector. There is a good chance the increased revenue will go towards wasted and unnecessary projects and increased salaries as opposed to real improvement that the daily riders can see and experience. Until you can prove otherwise, people that use the MBTA should not have to pay any increases. In short, do a better job and then we can talk about increasing fares.
The MBTA is unionized. It’s all about collective bargaining and I do believe that the MBTA board has used all the leverage they have in that process.
How about “collecting” fares the way buses and metro systems throughout the rest of the world do. I.e. you buy a ticket, you validate it when you board the bus or subway, and you’re done. Of course there are multi-day and monthly passes too.
If you’re caught riding without a validated ticket, or a pass then you’re subject to a stiff fine.
Someone’s going to claim that this will allow or even encourage cheating, or that it flat out won’t work here. But frankly I think if you investigate, you’ll find that cheating is statistically very low where this system is used. And it’s got to be better than the current system and watching cheaters jump the stiles or tailgate through behind paying passengers. I suspect that if enough cheaters get caught, it’d be self correcting.
I kinda suspect that this system came about originally as a cost saving scheme.
I’d also like to see a plan for continuous – slowly perhaps – continuous expansion of the T. If you look at other metro systems around the world, they seem to be constantly expanding. It seems almost criminal that except for the Green Line extension to Medford that nothing has been added to the T in the 25 years I’ve lived here. I never thought I’d see Los Angeles’ underground metro system surpass Boston’s, but it very easily could in the very near future.
Yes! That is the model that the T is going to in “Automated Fare Collection 2.0”
I commute from Watertown to Kendall Square. Twenty-five minutes to drive, eighty minutes to walk + bus + Red Line. I would be more incented to use the T if access, ie, ability to drive and park (for a reasonable monthly fee) at a station was available.
That “last mile” is indeed the challenge.
I was on the commuter rail recently and was told that the lower $10 weekend fare was increasing ridership. I worry that raising fares will not increase riders, but that many people will simply not use the T.I don’t think raising fares will get the revenue the MBTA is expecting and it will have poor effects on the environment as well. Please reconsider your position and vote no for a fare increase.
A gas tax sounds OK but it is terribly
regressive. A $1.00/gal. additional tax
means little to high earners, but would hurt working class families much more.
Maybe it’s better to tax gas guzzlers or
more costly and/or younger vehicles?
We constantly subsidize single-car drivers with “free” parking, widening Routes 93 and 3 – with NO rewards for carpooling or HOV lanes, or tolls.
It’s time to TAX the single car drivers and use that money to fund public transit infrastructure.
There must be a benefit to riding transit, and if it’s SLOWER than driving alone, then people sit for hours in their cars for “convenience.”
We should be making developers pay into the T in exchange for reduced parking off-street parking requirements and better service. Most communities have barely scratched the tip of the iceberg with transportation demand management. I read that Montreal has financed an entirely new light rail line using value capture from development.
The T would get a lot of new revenue from increased ridership if there were actually good incentives throughout the system to not drive. But when the commuter rail costs so much and only goes in and out of Downtown, it’s of limited utility for most commuters. We need to be expanding the T to increase ridership, and that’s going to take some serious investment. But don’t expect Charlie Baker or Robert DeLeo to push for change.
Despite Baker’s reluctance, it’s time to work out a grand bargain including carbon controls.
We are moving in that direction. I’m hopeful for progress in this session. A lot of energy building.
I agree. First recourse is raising the gas tax, to better pay for both road and T maintenance. It has nowhere near kept up with either those costs or with inflation.
Second, and this is a development issue that goes far beyond the T, we cannot continue to publicly subsidize Boston-centric development which concentrates jobs and housing in an already-congested area, far beyond the ability of roads and rails to get people in and out, while ignoring the rest of the state. It’s time to start saying, “If you want to build in Boston, or indeed within Rt. 128, it’s entirely up to you, but there will be -no- further public subsidies that are contingent on building or on employment (think the failed Amazon bid). On the other hand, if you want to build in in a less-congested part of the state, or in one of Massachusetts’ euphemistically dubbed ‘gateway cities’, or near enough to a community college so that you can first work with the community college to train people and then hire them, we’ll help.”
The current Boston-area building is unsustainable in the long run for multiple reasons: 1) New construction is pushing up the cost per square foot and rents for housing, for offices, and for public schools (note prices for new high schools in Belmont and Arlington). 2) Buildings are going up in low-lying areas, and the seas are rising. 3) The road network is not expanding commensurately with the increases in population and in building square footage, and the marginal cost of increasing public transit’s quantity and quality of service is rising. 4) The next crash, while it may not be as bad as the last one, will once again leave us with empty buildings, high costs, and unpaid-for investments.
Third, and this follows from the second, end some of the ridiculously expensive projects intended to transport people between Boston and over 50 miles away on a daily basis. Specifically, cancel the South Coast rail project, and cancel any attempts at commuter service between Boston and Springfield. Making it feasible for people to travel such distances daily is -not- deserving of a public transit subsidy; the people and/or the jobs need to move closer to each other. Let Amazon or an AI company or a biotech locate not only further from Kendall Square or the Seaport, but in another part of the state. Subsidizing the creation of another “cluster” or “ecosystem” of similar businesses in one of the aforementioned areas further from Boston, complete with roads and public transit as needed, would be a far better expenditure of public money than spending on public transit to lure those riders to Boston.
You note the “riders are deterred by high fares”, “especially on very expensive commuter rail routes”. As it is, among bus, subway, and commuter rail, on both a passenger-mile and vehicle-mile basis, buses, the cheapest vehicles to operate, receive the lowest subsidy. Commuter rail, the most expensive type of transit, receives the highest subsidy. On both counts, the subway falls inbetween. Buses tend to be more for the urban poor who can least afford fare hikes and are less likely to even own a car, while the commuter rail tends to be for affluent suburbanites with higher-paying jobs. As a matter of economic equity, it is unfair to subsidize more affluent suburbanites taking the most expensive public transit to the same extent as poorer urban riders.
This is not a call to eliminate commuter rail, nor to let it rot. By all means, continue to invest in it. There -should- be public transit connecting -all- of Massachusetts’ larger cities, but it should be designed to create employment in -all- those cities, not just Boston. And, in those other cities, local transit authorities need to synchronize their bus routes and schedules with that of the railroad, to eliminate the “last mile” problem.
Next, the abuse of “transit-oriented” as an excuse for overly high-density development needs to end. It is reasonable where the existing road network, public transit network, and other infrastructure support such high density. It is unreasonable where existing facilities on the ground are insufficient. It -did- work in Assembly Square, now a small city, because there’s lots of parking and because the developers paid the T to build anew stop there. It has been a disaster at Alewife, ever since the Red Line ended there, instead of out at 128, as was originally planned. It has worsened both traffic and flooding, and has driven up the cost of housing (high-priced new construction of mostly luxury units).
Finally, the T’s pension system: Its expenses are high, its returns are poor, its pension rules are excessively generous, its actions are opaque instead of transparent, and its unfunded liability keeps rising. It is not possible to “fix the T”, while this is so. And, the negative fallout extends beyond the T, to other public employees, who are similarly but unjustifiably vilified; and to Social Security and Medicare, which many conservatives would like to dismantle.
I agree that there are no quick fixes to the T. But, increasing its capacity to haul more and more in and out of Boston, while ignoring the rest of the state, is a wrong answer. Continuing to subsidize the commuter rail as much as the buses and subways is a wrong answer. And continuing to kick the MTBA pension fund can down the road, as we do with climate change, is also a wrong answer.
Thanks for weighing in so thoughtfully, Aram.
The conversation about density is a deep one.
I’ve been where you are on South Coast Rail, but I am warming up to it precisely because project that expand the rail system are an alternative to crushing density in the core.
Everyone must remember that nothing is for FREE. I will oppose every increase in fares, taxes, or fees until the MBTA takes steps to decrease its costs, including their labor contracts, and management staff. Lets be honest and state that they have many routes with minimal riders on which they lose money. Again Fix your costs first before asking hard working people to pay higher rates or higher taxes
I totally agree!
The MBTA board has been all about savings.
Arguably, they have saved hundreds of millions.
Fare increases are not their first choice.
The T needs substantially more revenue to provide the service this region needs. Higher fares are reasonable but insufficient. The city needs to start charging tolls at every entrance to the city including from Storrow Drive, I-93 and the Southeast Expressway. This would reduce congestion and provide needed revenue. Most of the revenue should go to the T.
I support strong public funding for the MBTA. Overall, my experience is that the system works well and that the occasional delays are acceptable in the big picture. My experience is also that fare collections are far from 100%, especially on commuter rail. Automated fare collection will not only improve revenues somewhat, it will also help conductors manage people flow rather than dollars. I strongly suggest adding more double-decker cars and more total cars per train as well as adding more handicap-accessible platforms. The handicap accessible platforms and extra cars are not just for the disabled. They will enable train/bike commuters to use rush-hour trains – a very worthy step forward. Given the layout of the double-deckers, of course, it would best if the trains are made up so that single-level (not double-decker) cars stop at the handicap ramps. Bikes and wheelchairs do not fit well on double-deckers.
Hi Will – Has a use tax ever been considered?
I know London charges a fee for vehicles entering the city. (That could be one way -I know Boston is smaller. )The reason I assume for the heavy congestion into Boston is because people are working there. Perhaps businesses with employees in excess of a certain amount can pay a fee for every employee to be used for the MBTA. The fee could be a scaled for the number of employees. Just a thought. Thanks for all you do.
Yes. Congestion charges are absolutely on the table.
Having lived in Boston for over 10 years now, it seems that no matter how much the MBTA raises fares, the quality of service decreases. If I’m still living in this city 10 years from now, god help me.
Thanks for your explanation. I think an
increase in the gas tax would help.
Also, congestion pricing.
While I appreciate the sentiment, and I understand the need for more revenue, I’m always highly suspicious of “willingness to begin the conversation”-type statements.
The fact that the Senate President is willing to begin conversations is nice, but it says nothing about those conversations going anywhere; less about a good bill coming out of them; less about that bill getting passed; and less still about the House agreeing to it. This is the equivalent of trading for “future considerations.”
Meanwhile, the T increase will be real and concrete, and it’s the fourth since 2012 — while there’s only been one gas tax increase in that time. Put another way, if you compare 2012 to 2019 (after this fare increase goes into effect), a subway pass went from $59 to $90 (53%) while the gas tax went from 21¢ to 24¢, or 14%. The other forms of revenue you mentioned didn’t increase (with all but tolls staying at 0). So I *hope* that the legislature will really find ways to fix the T other than with future rate increases, but I’m not holding my breath.
I am really hopeful that we’ll make real progress on this!
I agree with a fare increase—we need to maintain
Good service and keep up with repairs.
Kenmore Square Boston
Thank you for your work on transportation, Will.
I would agree with other comments here — MBTA collects only a fraction of the revenue it is due. Literally many hundreds of people board the Green lines and buses every day during the rush hour periods because of overcrowding and 1) don’t pay and 2) are not counted toward ridership. So for those looking at figures and thinking that ridership is down, I would argue that data is flawed. This fare increase simply hurts those of us who regularly and legally pay our way.
Thank you Senator.
I don’t agree with a fare increase.
From my observations riding the T almost daily, I think the problem is fare collection, not fare evasion.
Fare evasion is a problem, but it is not them problem.
Fare collection is itself costly and can create delays. The MBTA management is constantly trying to balance those considerations against maximizing collection.
The hope is that the new fare system will improve collections at lower cost and delay.
While I don’t take the T that often I feel raising it will cause more issues. It will increase people driving cars which is something we should be lowering. And people hardly making by it will impact them even more heavily. I remember there was going to be a higher tax question on the ballot that was going to be put into transportation. Think it had high approval based on polling. Know Baker hates higher taxes but do you believe there is a way to talk to him into taking up such a bill that was going to be on the ballot?
The income tax will come back in 2022 (dictated by process requirements), but there are a lot of other revenue options that will get discussed before then.
After I and my 2 Friends going to the MBTA Fare Increases Meeting . I said that the MBTA Need to Improve the Service Before the Fare Increases go up.
These constant fare increases are absurd. How about decreasing some of the money that goes to their CEO’s??!
T rate increases are unacceptable and T passengers should not have to bear the cost of repairs and improvements, as car drivers will also benefit when congestion on the roads goes down. Also, what amount is being siphoned off to private ownership/company from France?
Press reports are that Keolis has been lost money on the contract. Not sure how it will add up for them in the long run.
Less and less people use the MBTA because of how poorly it runs and the price. Why not tax all the empty luxury apartments to help pay for the mbta like NYC does? There are so many of them and people have a hard time finding housing we could benefit from the wealthy air b n b owners. It’s also cheaper most of the time to take a shared Lyft or Uber than the mbta which is insane. Why ride the subway that takes longer and more expensive when you can get there faster and cheaper in a car.
I like the idea of taxing empty luxury investment units and we are talking about that. The trick is to define “empty” in way that we can make work.
Obviously, the goal of “fixing” the MBTA is to make it convenient, efficient, and affordable for all of Boston’s citizens. Other cities in the US have tried the concept.
Chapel Hill, NC’s public transit program is partially funded by the University there as is Lebanon, NH. Since metro Boston has an outstanding number of universities, and the students are greatly impacted by the system, I feel it would be fruitful for the MBTA to explore partnerships with the universities. If they could subsidize their own students use of the system, that could reduce the debt and ease the need to raise fares for workers in the area.
Thank you for staying focused on all aspects of the transportation issue — from mass transit to roads to bicycles. They are all related. Increasing the gas tax is the most logical approach. The comments on fare collection issues on commuter rail and the Green Line reminds me that I’ve seen the same problem on the outbound 73 bus during rush hour where passengers exit by the rear door without paying their fare at the front door upon exit as required.
Regarding your statement “To support the necessary investments, we will need to raise revenue,” I would once again point out that the creation of Bank of Massachusetts for Infrastructure (SD 861) would free up substantial funds for such investments without raising any additional revenues. We just need to take back all the money we’re currently giving to Wall St. banks for a pittance in interest. Please co-sponsor!
Is there any city of comparable size in the world that has a handle on this problem.
If there is we should identify how this is done and inform the public of the reality and cost of the solution.
If there is not, than the problem needs to be solved in a joint national manner by all of the US cities.
This piecemeal system of small fixes doesn’t seem to work.
Interestingly, I think cities are different — their layout, their infrastructure, their economy. We do try to learn from other cities, but we have to be creative in our own space.
The only way you can get out of this mess is swamping the problem with more fares paid by more ridership. That can only come from a system that covers more commute possibilities not possible with the current routing paradigm. The current system is radial lines from getting in and out of Boston. The dominant commute is suburb to suburb that is not served. I think the MBTA should be cut up into districts. MBTA = steel wheels on steel rails. The bus system folded into RTA’s Otherwise the manifest destiny of the T is chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Allowed by law or not, each & every time the T raises its fares, ridership plummets. I use it rarely as I am retired. When I worked I had to use commuter rail & it was just the pits. I do not even recall how many times the Framingham line was late, not by 10 minutes or 30 minutes, but hours & I was on the train, sitting. To say there is no legislative fix to this is irresponsible. The T, Transportation in General needs a MAJOR overhaul on how the State supports it. Taxes, of any and all types should be considered, for all rail, road, water transportation improvements. Yes new cars will soon arrive for some lines. Rail & Signal updates have been done. General maintenance is improving since the big blizzard breakdown, altho we have had no such blizzard since, so who knows what the T could really do if we had another, but the T simply relies far too often on ridership fees even if they are not its major source of revenue. If we are ever to get a 21st. Century system in place, now is the time to get it done. Employment & Business opportunities in the Commonwealth absolutely demand the State Legislature address this.What the financial solution was for the T 10 or 20 years ago, just does not address the needs of 2019 going forward.
I agree that there is a legislative fix for the big picture. When we get involved it should have a couple more zeros on it. And that is my priority.
I don’t think the legislature should be intervening repeatedly on modest fare increases.
Why not make parking FREE at MBTA locations (lots/off st. parking, etc.)? Ridership just might increase. Where would non-profits like American Legion, VFW, Senior Centers, etc., be if they charged their members to park in order to use the facilities?
Also seeing countless “OUT OF SERVICE” buses and quite often, empty “express” to Boston buses is not a very efficient way to run things.Just a thought.
Thanks, Gordy. More parking is priority especially at the commuter rail lots. This challenge is on the radar screen.
Usually when a bus is out of service, they are headed to a location where there is a crush of riders waiting to get on. It’s about priorities.
I’ve used public transportation in New York City, Washington D>C> and San Francisco. I rarely use it in Boston. How do they make it so much more effective in other cities?
Boston is building excessively with the sales pitch that density is justified because the developments are accessible to public transportation, Why not have developers contribute their #community benefits# funds to public transportation improvement?
Developer contributions are a legit mechanism. Always seems to turn out to be too complicated to assign the costs this way. But I agree it has to be on the table and we have to push for enough resources to support a stronger investment program.
I am all for sustaining and developing our Public Transit System for the present and future. If we need to spend some money, let’s do it with fares and taxes. I do think the commuter rail is too expensive, so maybe we can adjust that.
At the same time, people will also still use cars for some things. I want to see electric charging sites at selected street parking spaces, so we can reduce our use of fossil fuels. We have street lights along the streets so there is already electricity there. The City can charge for the electric charge and make revenue. I suggest a pilot of this in the Back Bay. If you would like to hear more thoughts on this please contact me.
Thanks, Paula. Happen to hear more. This conversation about charging goes along with the conversation about ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles.
It is a long term one that will continue to take shape as the private sector evolves in these areas.
For Boston to grow and prosper, both housing opportunities and non-auto transportation options need to be greatly improved. This takes leadership at the State level as well as local level. The future of Boston hangs in the balance
I agree with this statement and fully accept this challenge — it is at the top of my list and I will remain focused on it.
I agree that MBTA fares should be reduced and, in fact, eliminated. Transportation should be viewed holistically and the externalities of motor vehicles considered (pollution, congestion, climate change) in funding. I believe gas taxes should be raised considerably to help fund the MBTA, increase the number of riders on public transit and decrease the number of motor vehicles on the road.
Fare increases are an undue burdon on low income people who are increasingly being forced out of the city because of rising housing cost, but are still expected to commute in to work low wage jobs. Couple that with a degredation of service from the MBTA, and it’s hard to believe that the MBTA deserves to implement a fare increase, legal or not. The MBTA has yet to prove that they are willing to make real and serious change to this aging system to support the kind of city that Boston has grown into. So many people I know are not able to make it work here anymore, and the lack of affordable and reliable transportation is near the top of that list.
You write, “In the long run, we should move towards lowering the fares for public transportation riders, even eliminating fares.” If any plan does not include free—therefore public as in public libraries—in its eventual financing goal, the car owners and Uber/Lyft riders will “drive” the outcome. See
The fare increase was yet another step in the wrong direction. Traffic congestion continues to increase toward the point of complete metropolitan gridlock and we are raising T fares again?
There are many reasons not to do this, but keeping Public Transit affordable is essential to the social mobility of the working poor. In an economy that is leaving many behind, this should be a primary motivation.
After religiously buying a Combo Pass every month for 35 years, I have stopped doing so for months in which I think that the pass will not be a net gain. I don’t feel as if I have gotten enough benefit from the last fare increase and the Governor and the Legislature need to get serious about finding other sources of revenue for a public good that does good for all. Soaking the riders again is not forward thinking public policy.
But we all know that Charlie Baker’s core constituency does not ride the T and is somewhat hostile to the idea of public transit. Someone has got to step up and make some bold proposals and follow through, before we reach that point of metropolitan area gridlock.
In response to the question below about what cities in the world handle transit well, I am now in Hong Kong and the transit is amazing. Superb subways as well as ferries, street cars and buses. The subway to the airport here makes the Silver Line look like an amateur effort.
No commuter rail, but that seems to be a function of geography. Wonderful system of ferries for outer lying areas. Subway system has tremendous reach. And did I mention it is affordable?
Charlie Baker, the Legislators and T Management should come here to see how it’s done.
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