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Boston—In response to an MBTA proposal that would raise fares, reduce service, and eliminate several critical bus routes, MASSPIRG Staff Attorney Lizzi Weyant said, “The MBTA should not be balancing the books on the backs of riders.”
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) proposed a mix of significant and draconian fare increases and service reductions that could eliminate critical bus routes, cancel some weekend rail service, and increase the cost of a subway ride to $2.40. The fare hikes and service reductions are an attempt to close the agency’s $161 million budget gap for FY13.
“Fare increases shouldn’t be excessive,” continued Weyant. “It adds insult to injury when when you consider that fare increases won’t solve the T’s financial troubles. Further, fare increases lead to a decrease in ridership at a time when the T should be doing everything it can to increase ridership and decrease polluting car traffic.”
In order to meaningfully address the significant statewide funding gap for transportation, a fare increase must be part of a comprehensive financial plan that addresses the MBTA’s debt, provides funds necessary to improve and expand our public transportation system, addresses the state’s crumbing roads and bridges and creates more bike and pedestrian options.
“Fare hikes hit hardest on the people who can least afford them, particularly students and seniors,” continued Weyant. “It’s bad public policy to ask riders to shoulder this financial burden, when the entire system is under-funded and needs to be a top priority. Now is the time for the administration and the legislature to work together to fully fund our entire transportation system.”
The T’s proposal will be the subject of 20 public meetings that the MBTA will hold from mid-January and into March.
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