Fare Increase… Again?

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken ill of the MBTA. In fact I haven’t spoke about them at all, mainly because there’s been little to talk about, at least with me. After all, given the heat they took last winter, what could I possibly add to that? But, as we all know, it’s only a matter of time before the folks over at the MBTA open their mouths and gently insert their feet.

Last week, the new MBTA board approved fare hikes across the board by nearly 10 percent, which will go into effect in July. It may not sound like much, but when you consider that people with Charlie Cards will have to pay $1.70 and $2.25 to ride the bus and subway respectively, and monthly passes will cost, on average, $114 more on a yearly basis, that’s a lot of money.

As you would expect, most of the cost will fall on the state’s poorest, including those with disabilities who rely on the T and its services. As always, students who use the T to get to and come from school will also bear the brunt of the increase. The board’s reasoning behind the increase is that they are experiencing a deficit and they need the extra cash for maintenance and other projects. Oh really? You mean for some of those shady employment practices or the shoddy services we’re still getting? Or the station upgrades that are over budget and never completed on time? What deficit are you talking about when ridership is supposedly at an all-time high? If you are in a deficit, why cut late-night services? None of it makes any sense.

The timing of this decision is interesting: a mild winter, so there aren’t many complaints. Therefore, it’s a perfect time to suck people in. So what should you do? Well, call Charlie Baker, who failed to prevent this mess in the first place. Demand that the increase be stopped and say we shouldn’t pay another dime until the inadequate system is fixed. Or we could simply go quietly and continue to fill their pockets while we continue to hurt.

 

James Shearer

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

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