MBTA calls for 23 percent fare hike, some cuts
BOSTON (WHDH) -- The MBTA unveiled its new plan to balance the budget, which includes a 23 percent fare hike and some service cuts.
The ‘T’ is trying to close a $185 million budget gap by raising fares.
“For the first time in five years the MBTA will be, as we are recommending, raising our fares. In that time, many transit agencies have raised their fares once, sometimes even twice, and at the same time have cut service. Overall, we are proposing an approximately 23 percent fare increase,” said Richard Davey, the Secretary of Transportation.
Under the proposal, which was outlined Wednesday by acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis, calls for a fare increase for passengers using Charlie Cards to rise from the current $1.25 to $1.50 for buses and from $1.70 to $2.00 for subways.
“I think it’s terrible that they’re increasing the fares and cutting service and not doing anything to get it to run correctly,” said Madeline Morris, an MBTA customer.
The proposal also doubles the price of passengers who use The Ride -- up from $2 to $4. These passengers are typically elderly and/or disabled.
“I plan on going to the transportation building and making sure they can’t get to work -- causing problems for them,” said Scott Shukan, a disabled MBTA customer.
Some service cuts will also be made. Four weekday bus routes will be eliminated, 14 bus routes will be modified and weekend Commuter Rail service will be eliminated to Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth and Needham.
The T is also looking to raise $51 million by raiding an inspection sticker surplus fund.
The T says it realizes these cuts and cost increases will be painful, but management has done its best after more than 30 public hearings attended by 6,000 people over the past two months. This plan is less drastic than earlier scenarios which called for increases of up to 43 percent. The plan also relies on legislative approval of about $60 million in one-time revenues.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said the situation is less than ideal. He said he inherited a flawed system run by republican governors before him.
“This solution is all about patches and plugs in addition to a middle range fare increase, and that’s what it’s going to take to try and maintain most of the service for another year,” said Patrick.
The T’s Board of Directors will vote on this play April 4. If it is approved, the plan will go into effect on July 1.
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