Boston reacts as MBTA hikes fares and cuts service
BOSTON -- A quick trip on the T was just a bit pricier Monday morning, thanks to the first major fare increase in five years. The hikes prompted protests at the state capitol earlier this year, but as the changeover loomed Sunday, many commuters seemed to be taking it in stride.
“I don't think it's that bad. I think it's reasonable I guess,” said one commuter.
“It’s not a ridiculous increase, I don’t think. They need money,” shrugged another.
It will cost an even $2.00 to ride the subway with the Charlie Card, an increase of 30 cents. Bus fare goes up a quarter to $1.50.
“Relatively speaking it's still a bargain. With that said, it's going to be difficult for some customers,” said Richard Davey, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Student and senior unlimited monthly passes get a big jump from $20 to $28.
“$28 a month. That's a lot for people who are on social security, senior citizens and disabled people who are on social security and only get paid once a month,” said Karen Russell.
The reason for the increase: the MBTA is trying to chip away at a $185 million debt. Some service will be scaled back, too, but it likely won't mean fewer delays or broken down trains, the headache that has some avoiding the MBTA all together.
“It took me over an hour to go three miles," one commuter said. "So I got a scooter.”
This is the first increase the MBTA has implemented in five years. But the next one will likely come sooner than one would think.
“We need to solve our transportation finances for the long-term. Otherwise we'll be back again a year from now having the same kind of talk,” said Davey.
There was initially going to be $3 surcharge for anyone who got on a commuter train and didn't buy their ticket in advance. That idea has been scrapped. Now the surcharge will only apply to people who don't buy their ticket in advance if they get on at a train station that doesn't have a conveniently located ticket machine.