Another Fare Increase?!

Once again boys and girls, the MBTA is getting ready to fleece us. On July 1, prices will go up 10 cents on both buses and subways, monthly passes will go from $70 to $75 and commuter rail passes will go from $5 to $17 depending on the distance. Unlike the last fare hikes two years ago, there is no way to pick what services you do not need. Now I know what you’re going to say, it is not that much, and after all the prices for seniors, students and people with disabilities will remain the same. And you would be right, but that is not the point. If services on the T were better, I would have no problem with paying an extra dime. But service on the MBTA is not better. There are still huge service disruptions on the subway, including the big one that has already taken effect as Government Center Station has been shutdown for two years. The station is one of the busiest in the system with connections to the Green, Blue and Orange Lines. Usually these station upgrades include putting in elevators, an important step towards being compliant with the Americans Disabilities Act.

Other important work is done in increments, causing minor disruptions, but not this time. There are other issues with the T as well: The Red Line still has signal problems between Kendall Sq. and Charles St., along with the Orange and Green Lines. Same with the commuter rail, which is getting new contractors. Elevators and escalators still breakdown frequently. I was under the impression that the last fare increase and all the services that were cut were going to provide enough cash to fix all of this. Apparently not.

What really makes me upset is how a 45-minute ride often turns into a two-and-a-half-hour ride. I live in Lynn. Counting traffic along the T, it should still only take 45 minutes, at most, for me to get home. When I am at the SPARE CHANGE NEWS office, that rarely happens. It almost always takes 40 minutes just to get from Cambridge to Government Center on the Blue Line, whether you take the Red Line or the bus to Lechmere. The subway is supposed to run every seven minutes. In reality, it is every 10 to 15 minutes. It does run more frequently during rush hour, but then there’s traffic that leads to delays and overcrowded trains. You know the drill. When I finally get to Wonderland station, it is 5 p.m.—and I left the office at 3:30! It takes an hour and a half to get from Cambridge to Revere, and then maybe another 20 minutes on a bus to Lynn. When I take the commuter rail, it is slightly better—19 minutes from North Station to Lynn. That is, if I can get to North Station.

All this complaining will fall on deaf ears In the end, the T and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, who despite all those public meetings they have, raise the fare anyway; they know we will pay it regardless.

 

 

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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