MBTA Riders Face Fare Hikes As High As 43 Percent

BOSTON — The MBTA has proposed fare hikes as high as 43 percent as well as service reductions in an effort to close a projected $161 million budget gap for the 2013 fiscal year.

Under one scenario (PDF) unveiled Tuesday by state transportation officials, a bus ride with a CharlieCard could jump from $1.25 to $1.75 while a CharlieCard subway ride could jump from $1.70 to $2.40. Parking fees would also go up 28 percent.

Under a second scenario (PDF), fare increases would be slightly more modest (35 percent), with the cost of a CharlieCard bus ride rising to $1.50 and a CharlieCard subway ride rising to $2.25. This scenario would include more service cuts. Parking fees would go up 20 percent.

If implemented, they would be the agency’s first fare hikes in five years.

Both scenarios would eliminate ferry service, commuter rail service after 10 p.m. and on weekends, and weekend service on the Mattapan Line and the Green Line’s E branch.

Officials say they will hold 20 public hearings this spring before announcing any final decisions. Any fare hikes would go into effect on July 1.

Stuart Spina, the T Riders Union chair, says the changes are short-sighted and don’t address the T’s ballooning debt.

“Either way you’re just going to have to keep raising fares and then cutting service until you’re left with only a rush hour service that only a handful of people can afford,” Spina said.

State transit officials have said fare increases are “almost impossible” to avoid.

“We’re reasonably confident, or confident I should say, that both scenarios account for a drop in ridership, but they can ultimately ensure that we’re closing the budget gap for next year,” said Transportation Secretary Richard Davey.

Spina says it’s up to lawmakers to find a way to fully fund the transportation system.

“The T has done a really reasonable job of looking at internal efficiencies but kind of gotten to the point where you guys need to step up and actually talk about, how are we going to sustainably fund our transportation network?” he said.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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  • http://nancib.wordpress.com/ BostonPeng

    I’d love to know how much the TAP passes (Transportation Access Passes for the elderly and disabled) would go up under each proposal. I use one for riding the T and any increase could make it harder to get anywhere unless my disability income goes up to match it.

  • Anonymous

    Enough is enough. The MBTA is going to raise Commuter rail passes by 43% and for that we get less service. Nothing after 10PM or weekends.
    Investigate the fraud in the MBTA. Something stinks here.

  • Anonymous

    It is so stupid that they are working to expand the T when they cannot provide for existing service.  They are proposing eliminating E train service on the Green line on the weekends at the same time they are expanding the Green line to Somerville?  They are proposing eliminating weekend commuter rail service while they expand to Fall River?
    Comparing the fares to NY is silly.  NY doesn’t shut down because there is a problem with a single train as it is multi-track.  NY has 24 hour service.  Every time I’m on the T it is like someone is plotting to make my ride as painful as possible and I notice this most when I’m back from NY which is well-run.  How many pointless announcements do we need every ten minutes?  Why are drivers making overly detailed announcements that are impossible to hear instead of the concise clear recorded ones that worked fine.
    Some cost cutting suggestions:
    Does the commuter rail schedule need to be printed on expensive four color glossy paper?
    Charge Registrar Rachel Kaprellian for advertising time for her pointless announcements.
    Ban eating on trains and in stations and reduce cleaning budget.
    Fire the idiot who thought T Radio was a good idea.
    Raise the gas tax the same percentage as the fares and or cut road services to match the T service cuts.
    Raise the one time fares at a higher rate than the monthly passes as for people who don’t take it daily won’t notice the additional expense. 
    Fire the man who sits in a booth at Park St every morning and announces that the doors are closing (a driver can do that or automate it). 
    Stop making it free on New Year’s Eve.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a socialist-leaning, big government liberal and I’m begining to favor privatizing this mess.

  • Yoshi

    I just don’t understand how the T officials can justify massive fare hikes concurrent with service cuts, when service is already so limited. For example, the last trains on late-running lines are at 12:30 a.m. Bars and clubs close at 2:00 a.m. In a college-heavy city. Where cabs are outrageously expensive. To my mind, this goes way past bad service and into social irresponsibility.

    Even if I kick that particular soapbox back under the bed, I still can’t make this work in my head. Eliminating the E line on the weekend? A line that is the only train access to the Longwood Medical (BWH, Children’s, Dana-Farber, Beth-Israel) and V.A. hospitals; several colleges (Northeastern, Wentworth, Simmons, Mass Art, Emmanuel) and their housing; and a number of cultural institutions (the MFA, the Gardner Museum, Symphony Hall, the N.E. Conservatory, and the Huntington Theatre)? That is simply ridiculous. I realize that the #39 bus serves these areas as well, but anyone who has tried (or is required) to use that on weekends knows how infrequently it comes and how significantly it is affected by traffic and weather issues. Even if the number of weekend buses were doubled (which would cost money that the T is trying to save), they could not possibly serve as a substitute for the train services.

    If the T added services, or even maintained the current services, they could make a much stronger case for fare hikes. But to forecast significantly increased fares while making equally significant cuts to already-limited services is a clear indication of the contempt in which they hold their customers.

    • Akfaka

      Encourage college kids to go drunk driving is part of the MBTA’s job, didn’t you know that?

  • JJ

    Howe about actually allowing MBTA emplouees to pay a portion if their fares? Allowing their fares and other city employees to be fully subsidized by the paying public makes the agency bankrupt. Raise the fares and make this a quality transportation agency similar to those of other metro cities!

  • Akfaka

    Oh sure, cutting services and raising fare on us the riders to feed the union protected nitwit employees. Why can’t the MBTA get to the root of its finance? Get rid of those unsuitable employees who miked the heck of the MBTA? 

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you.I think that city employees to be fully subsidized by the paying public makes the agency bankrupt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eddiegellis Edward Ellis

    It’s The UNION, STUPID.

    • Lcf02139

      That’s true. My friend, a consultant for the MBTA worked there for 2 months and saw nothing but lazy employees doing nothing, because they in fact have nothing to do. The union protects them, so their jobs can’t be eliminated even though it’s a major cause of expenses for the ailing, bankrupt MBTA. 

      It’s the Unions!

      • Gs11bmm

        $450 million in revenues – $452 million in debt service = $ 2million annual structural deficit before a single expense or cost of actually running the enterprise is paid for.

        But it’s the Unions.

        P.S.: Love the “I have a friend” line of argument…completely believable…

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s the unions and management.  The unions need to be told by us, the people who employ them that the game is over. All MBTA workers need to held accountable for their actions. I’ve had personal experience with their rudeness (one MBTA worker cursed at me as he cut me off in his car and then used a form of road rage to threaten me) and lousy driving.
      As for management, well how many of them are taking a 43% pay cut?
      In my view the entire system needs to be retooled from bottom to top.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eddiegellis Edward Ellis

        A little more thoughtful than my knee-jerk reaction. :) Well said, jeffe68!

  • Yoshi

    I suspect that those of you who are attacking T staffing levels aren’t regular T users. On-the-ground staffing levels have been reduced to the point that they now can’t cover sick days: if someone can’t come in, they cannot be replaced. I have found this myself when trying to find customer service agents at major stations, but it’s so bad that it even interrupts service: I have personally experienced this in the form of scheduled buses not arriving because the assigned driver called in sick and there wasn’t any coverage.

    While it may be true that no one lost their job when the automated ticketing systems came in (a contributing factor to the public perception of ‘staffing bloat’), it is equally true that on-the-ground staff lost through resignations and retirements have not been replaced, and these losses have had a direct impact both on customer service and on the transportation that we rely on the T to provide. Blaming the union for protecting its members’ jobs removes the pressure from those who are actually responsible: the T officials who continue to make operational decisions with absolutely no consideration of the impact upon T customers. How many more fare hikes and service eliminations do we have to endure before that becomes clear?

  • Anonymous

    In 2008 the gross pay for a General Manager
    was  $257,115.56 a year.
    I’m not sure if this person is going to take a 20, 30 or 40% pay cut.
    I’m not going to get a 43% raise or anything from my employer to offset this cost increase.
    I think all the top and middle  management should all take pay cuts. 30 to 40% at the top and maybe 20 to 25% at middle.

    The Boston Herald posted this a few years ago.

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