MBTA cuts costs, raises revenue

MassDOT says reductions in overtime and other costs mean the T should end the current fiscal year $75 million under budget - money that will immediately go towards plugging a budget deficit that starts July 1.

The Fiscal Management and Control Board that now runs the T will consider the cost savings at a meeting today. Even with the anticipated savings from this year, the T still projects a deficit of $138 million for the next fiscal year.

Left unanswered is whether the board is still on track to increase fares by 10% effective July 1; state officials say costs savings will help them pay for much needed capital projects across the system, such as replacing 100-year-old signals on the Green Line.

Officials say that in addition to costs savings, revenue across the T system increased 25% this year.

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    Is there a single instance in

    By on

    Is there a single instance in the past where the T has threatened to raise fairs and then didn't?

    Yes -- in the summer of 2009,

    By on

    Yes -- in the summer of 2009, the T threatened draconian fare hikes and service cuts (far worse than anything proposed since). This led to Grabauskas' ouster at the hands of Gov. Patrick. I still laugh thinking about the huge signs put in every T station announcing the cancellation of consideration of fare hikes.

    Standard Operations

    Generally the T warns that if they don't get their way they'll cut all services and become a commuter-only 8am-6pm system. This gets people up in arms, lots of press, etc. Then the T "compromises" by only raising some fares and cutting some services.

    How?

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    Officials say that in addition to costs savings, revenue across the T system increased 25% this year.

    Honest question. I understand it's possible for them to have cut costs (especially considering the mild winter we've had), but how is revenue up 25% without increased fares or the addition of new services/routes?

    Edit: I had to go to the MassDOT site to find it, but apparently it was due to "real estate and advertising." Specifics not given.

    if you need to ask

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    If you need to ask, it's funny accounting to make the control board look like it's doing something.

    The key word here is "deficit" not debt. So this isn't helping the T at all, except making people feel and look good.

    Agreed, but...

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    I don't doubt the numbers have been massaged all over the place to look as favorable as possible, but I don't know how you spin the specific line item of "revenue." Unless you're doing seriously shady stuff like classifying credit extensions as income, revenue should be a standalone term to indicate what they've pulled in. I don't see how that specific number has jumped 25% without a fare increase or added services.

    Edit: I had to go to the MassDOT site to find it, but apparently it was due to "real estate and advertising." Specifics not given.

    They're selling off real

    By on

    They're selling off real estate they've been holding onto for no reason; there's nothing shady about this.

    Higher ridership, not losing

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    Higher ridership, not losing weeks of fares to snow storm failures, more aggressive acquisition of advertising clients (seeing fewer old ads sticking around for months), higher priced leases on MBTA owned property. All the low hanging fruit which was previous ignored thanks to complacent management.

    Less Deficit, horrible service

    The amount of major system outages this year far exceeds last year even if you ignore Feb 2015 snow storms.

    If the T needs to run a higher deficit in order to provide reliable service perhaps this indicates their initial funding and/or targets are far too low.