Today, I attended a briefing on the MBTA’s proposed fare increase with Transportation Secretary Rich Davey and MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis. The MBTA is considering increasing fares in response to last year’s transportation fiance overhaul that directs the MBTA to generate an increasing share of its own revenue. As part of last year’s transportation bill, the MBTA is entitled to raise fares up to 5%. Many fares will be increasing by 5% on July, 1st 2014, however it is worth noting that fares for The Ride and for Student Passes will not increase.
The MBTA will host a series of public information meetings regarding the proposed fare increases that would go into effect July, 1st 2014. There will be several meetings in our vicinity, I plan on attending the meeting at the transportation building:
Wednesday, April 16
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
51 Blossom St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tuesday, April 22
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
State Transportation Building
Conf. Rooms 1, 2, 3
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Thursday, April 24
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Roxbury Community College
Student Center Cafeteria
1350 Tremont St.
Roxbury, MA 02120
Tuesday, April 29
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Newton City Hall
1000 Commonwealth Ave.
Newton, MA 02459
MBTA projects this increase will bring in $20m-$24.5m in new revenue for the T.
Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger
MassDOT has passed along a PowerPoint with further detail on the proposed increase.
Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger
The T should be free for every person who is a) working (for pay or otherwise if it is useful work such as caring for a child or elderly person at home), b) honestly looking for work, c) a retired worker, d) a child too young to work or e) a student or apprentice. How come?
Because the above listed people (the working class) collectively create ALL the products and services of our society–including the entire MBTA, from the trains and trolleys and busses and the laying of the rails, to driving the vehicles and maintaining them etc. etc. They have already paid–IN FULL–for the MBTA by WORKING. They don’t owe a penny more, in fares or anything else, to anybody. And they certainly don’t owe a penny to bankers–who don’t do useful work–who claim we owe them a debt for “loans” to the government. Our government should have taken the money from them by taxing them, not borrowing the money from them and promising to pay it back with interest.
The MBTA provides customers and workers to the big businesses in the metropolitan area. Tax these big businesses and let the riders ride for free.
If the big businesses go elsewhere, then do the same thing where ever they go, even if its another country.
If riders rode for free, then the efficiency of the T would rise dramatically:no more waiting on the Green line for passengers to pay one at a time at the single front door while the other doors remain closed!
But, you might say. My proposal is impossible. It would take a revolution. Well then, so be it. Let’s have an egalitarian revolution and create a sharing economy: From each according to ability, to each according to need. That’s how most people think it ought to be.
I completely agree with Mr. Spritzler’s comments above. I would add that public transportation should be free for anyone, because the cost of infrastructure for Non Public transportation is paid by taxes and therefore free to use. By subsidizing automobile transportation and forcing citizens to pay for public transport we are creating health, climate and international security costs far in excess of what public transportation subsidies might be.
Let’s take a serious economic analysis to true costs of the automobile culture and provide equal and equitable alternative options.
I agree with Daniel Whittet.
Tell the Governor that he can get ten times that much or more by stopping his give-away of massive unjustified tax breaks to developers and other corporations.
Free transit would save fare collection costs, but just to make sure everyone knows — we are already closer to that than one might think: The state already pays for all of the T’s debt service costs and about half of the T’s operating costs. Riders are only paying about one-third of the ride costs (and a much lower share for servies like The Ride). See this post for more.
Given that motorists pay for their own vehicles etc., I don’t think it is unfair to ask T riders to contribute at least something to the costs of T vehicles and drivers.
Since the T is a) VASTLY more efficient than cars in terms of global warming, and b) VASTLY less convenient than a car, it behooves (sorry to use an old-fashioned term, but it’s the right meaning!) the community to encourage the use of the T as much as possible. Consequently I think the correct policy is for ALL travel on the T to be free. This would, of course, cost the government a lot, but it would be correct use of resources and encourage much greater use of the system with consequent reduction in green-house gas emission. As a side benefit, the cost of the whole collection mechanism would go away. Perhaps we could pay for it with a “congestion tax” on car travel in the city like they have in London.
I feel very strongly about this: ALL TRAVEL should be FREE!
I know this is not going to be popular.
But no service should be demanded as free. Because there is considerable amount of cost and effort associated from the provider’s side, when they are trying to provide QUALITY service.
I can compare my limited experience with public transportation in several cities, the quality of service (promptness, congestion in the car, cleaniness of the platform, ect). Hong Kong is the best in terms of service quality, while highest in T-Pass prices. Boston and New York and somewhere in the middle.
In my point of view, MBTA should be striving to provide quality service with reasonable profit and cost control. They cannot provide free service to all, as there will be no incentives for them to work harder and provide better service.
FREE lunch shall not be demanded as a basic human rights. We all need to work harder for a better future, but not by demanding harder.
Stats on this issue are interesting. Only the most heavily loaded routes are “vastly” more efficient than autos. There is nothing green at all about lightly loaded diesel buses. The T is important because without it, the denser areas would be in complete gridlock. A transit system is to a city as an elevator is to a skyscraper — you just can’t get people in and out without it. But last I looked at stats, it is ballpark about 20% less fossil fuel per passenger mile on average.
I am not sure how I feel about abolishing T fares, but I am sure it is a non-starter politically — there are too many people making car payments and buying gas. Their subsidy per mile traveled is actually a lot less than that received by T riders.
I agree that abolishing T fares is a non-starter (and probably not a good idea in general) although there is much needed reform on how fares are collected, the pricing structure, and equity matters to consider (why do drivers get free parking when bus riders have to pay, etc?).
However, I want to push back against that last paragraph you wrote, Will. The subsidy given to drivers is a lot higher than you think when you factor in all of the concessions that we make in order to make the driving lifestyle possible. Whole neighborhoods given over to parking lots and asphalt. People’s lives destroyed by traffic violence. Neighborhoods torn apart. Air pollution and its myriad effects on human health that we still don’t fully understand.
And even on easily quantifiable, purely fiscal matters, the Tax Foundation estimates that Massachusetts drivers only pay for about 41.5% of the cost of the road network through gas taxes and other taxes and fees that might be construed as “user payments.” The rest comes from our income taxes and property taxes, largely speaking, that everyone pays.
I do like your metaphor of the elevator, but it’s more than that. A transit system makes it possible to have a large city that isn’t covered by highways and parking lots. And such highways and parking lots do not pay their own way and never have. They also destroy a lot of valuable land that could have been put to productive uses except for the voraciously land-consuming needs of the automobile in large numbers.
Matt raised a good point about the relationship of driver and riders. In your point of view, they compete for resources(government fundings, land, energy, etc). It is somewhat true, but I would view they more complementary than against each other. Most of us are both drivers and riders, at different scenarios.
So, it make sense to design/maitain two transportation systems in a coherent mindset. Road(highways, public road, bridge even parking lots) are a vastly larger systems than MBTAs and serves a much larger population and more diversified purposes —not only daily commute. It also covers the transportation of most the goods/services/ essential to the society, while the MBTA is mostly for commuting purposes only, and only feasible in economy for urban populations.
So, it is not a fair comparison in tax revenue spent on these two system and demand that MBTA should be free.
Furthermore, less revenue for MBTA will likely delay future development and projects, and have negative impact on their ability to provide quality service on time.
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