T fares going up July 1

An average of 9.3%, WBUR reports.


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There are a lot of people who

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There are a lot of people who can't use public transit because they can't afford to live in the more expensive places that have.

Get a bike, kiddo. Then you

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Get a bike, kiddo. Then you don't have to shell out cash to the MBTA or pay for a gas guzzler.


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people with disabilities don't necessarily have that option.

Many people buying into the

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Many people buying into the towns with public transit are almost exclusely upper class by many standards.

The towns with public transit

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The towns with public transit have some of the wealthiest people in them, while people who have to live far away in towns without public transit can't afford to buy into the more wealthy trendy towns with higher real estate values. Your generalizations are not representative of large numbers people or demographics.

its actually well proven

that statistically lower income and minority people use public transit more than other demographics

dont take my word for it though, feel free to look it up


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They all live in Cambridge, Brookline, Newton and Milton - lucky lower class...

It's also true that the

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It's also true that the public transit in this area provides transportation to extremely wealthy places. Feel free to look around.

There are many more very

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There are many more very wealthy towns that already have the commuter rail and don't want to get rid of it.

True in many places...

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But not in Boston. Plenty of upper-middle and just plain upper-class people use public transit here. Who do you think is riding the commuter rail from Wellesley?

As if there large numbers of

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As if there large numbers of wealthy and educated taking public transit in this area, while your statistics may be true they don't discount the former.

That doesn't mean that there

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That doesn't mean that there aren't large numbers of people who are very well off using public transit in this area if you happen to take a look at a lot of the demographics using public transit and the jobs located nearby them.

"lower income and minority

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"lower income and minority people"? what an interesting turn of phrase. Lower income white people and minorities of all income levels? I gather you do not actually use the T or live in a major metropolitan area. Some of the busiest stations are focus around universities, entertainments districts and the hi tech neighborhoods of Kendall/MIT, Charles/MGH. Not exactly blue collar and a minority ridden.

3 things:

1. The "us vs them" mentality around this issue is really, REALLY stupid. I cannot express this enough. Imagine me standing in front of you right now. Now imagine me laughing in your face at how stupid this argument is. Now imagine trying to get a word in, but me laughing so hard that you can't.

2. You know why I commute via car? Because the MBTA is insanely unreliable.

3. You know what else really sucks around here? The roads.

Yah, but

Us vs Them is what leads the argument that "Transit needs to pay it's own way" while roads, who also don't cover their costs, are freely paid for from general tax revenue.

Will drivers be as eager if we were to raise tolls or the gas tax?

Well I can only speak for myself, but

I have no problem with tax revenue going to the T, and would gladly take a reasonable (which the current fare hikes are not) increase in gas tax or tolls, etc. to make it a usable system. Again, see point number 2: If the T actually worked for me, or at least was more efficient, I'd use it to commute regularly. I'm sure that I'm not alone in that, and am sure that many drivers from outside the city would also take the CR in if it were more reliable for them (but that's a whole different discussion).

But the issue here isn't JUST that the MBTA being underfunded, but much like the circle of life, a circle of mismanagement that just keeps goin 'round.

The other thing that makes the "drivers vs riders" argument so unbearably stupid is that many drivers actually use the T regularly as well, and are no happier about the fare increases than you.

My initial response wasn't to say that there isn't a valid argument here. You've raised a much better point than anon troll did and I'm with you on it all the way. What I was and am getting at is that when one starts trying to somehow make this a class thing, like anon troll did, or act like everyone who has a car is some sort of elitist prick (or the other way around, "Us vs Them" is stupid in this case regardless of which group is "Us" and which is "Them"), they're taking away from the actual issue at hand. And proving, like anon troll did, that they don't actually have any intelligent or insightful things to say about the actual issue, so instead just try to create new ones in the form of "sides" and somehow try to make it a class war.

You're entirely wrong

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It's underfunded on paper because of debt and a decrepit infrastructure, but it is not in debt and decrepit because it's underfunded.

Forward funding was based on a faulty assumption about sales tax revenue growing at 3% year after year:


It's not chicken or egg. 2000 is when the MBTA started to slide into destruction because the state refused to keep paying for it.

I'll add...

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"The T doesn't work" is hyperbolic at best and just an idiotic statement at worst. It has its issues, and it has plenty of them. But myself and loads of others use it without issue on a daily basis. Even when trains get delayed due to externalities (like police activity, or faulty switch connections due to Comcast, etc.) people still point their finger at the T.

The system works, it's just needs a lot of rehab to get it to be more efficient and modern. But the state and the MBTA don't seem interested in even installing simple solutions to their problems, like signal priority at D St for the Silver Line or signal priority for all trains on ground level green line cars.

Post edited

for clarity. The T does indeed "work," just not as well as other means of transportation do for some of us. Many of us. That's where I was going with that. But again, my argument goes back to the idea that not everyone who drives thumbs their nose at the people who use transit, and trying to insinuate a distinct and extremely generalized class difference between the two is, again, stupid. Yes, there are a lot of rich people who drive, and yes, there are a lot of poor people that take the T, but there is a lot of crossover as well.

As far as this statement goes:

But the state and the MBTA don't seem interested in even installing simple solutions to their problems,

We're on the same page. While I was rebuffed on the initial funding argument above, I think we can all agree that mismanagement is a significant issue at the MBTA, and I'll still argue that it's a larger issue than money in the big picture.

I'd argue the opposite

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There's always mismanagement...everywhere. Large systems are chaotic. People don't always know what everyone else is doing. Communication is hard and doesn't scale well.

However, if you have little money to accomplish big things, then a little mismanagement or a bad decision can have an over-sized effect. If you have an excess of money, then mismanagement can fall within the margins and has no effect.

Obviously a balance needs to be struck and we need to continually strive for better management. But fixing management doesn't suddenly free up billions...however, improved funding would make mismanagement less influential on the bottom line.

Can you honestly

look at the MBTA and say that the mismanagement happening there is no worse than your average organization? Employees sleeping on the job, unsafe practices causing runaway trains, self-approved overtime, scapegoating, etc. etc. Yes, money and funding make a huge difference, and yes, the MBTA needs lots of it. But you can throw all the money and resources you want at a problem, it won't go away if these resources are mismanaged. Which they are.

Hell, just Google the term "MBTA mismanaged" and start reading through.

Also the fact that Baker's panel called for a "Fiscal control board" and according to the Globe "That board would be charged with imposing discipline on what the report describes as a dysfunctional agency that lacks 'a culture of performance management and accountability' and has allowed costs to grow unchecked." should really say it all.

Communication is hard and doesn't scale well.

I'm well away of this, it's my chosen profession. I have an MS in corporate comm, and used the MBTA as my focal point for a lot of projects in graduate school.


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Yes - sales tax revenue didn't live up to expectations - but the T has garnered 2-3 additional MAJOR funding sources since forward funding began resulting in a doubling of revenue over the past 15 years - i.e. - T revenue has grown at 3% per year. As I've stated in the past - a look at the income statement shows that this went almost 100% to wages and benefits and almost nothing to capital improvements. The T is broke because it is grossly mismanaged. Period.

And BTW - those numbers are 5 years old ending at the depths of the financial crisis. Working in personal finance one thing I've learned from people trying to get my clients to buy crap is that if you cherry pick your time horizon you can make almost any case you want.

Sorry Stevil

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But you have to put up or shut up. What are those "MAJOR" funding sources that weren't one-time bandages or the state increasing the sales tax percentage in order to get more money to the MBTA? They all went to operations and not capital because the MBTA wasn't able to cover its operating costs due almost entirely to gas price and healthcare increases. Those huge budget increases weren't foreseen by the simpletons who put Forward Funding in place in 2000. They aren't somehow magically compensated by sales tax (when gas and healthcare costs go up, people don't magically go buy more goods). The past few years have been very minor increases in sales tax revenue (again, only where they are since the percentage increase to 6.25 or the actual numbers would be even lower).

When you can't afford to run your operations due to gas and healthcare costs, you can't afford to put any additional funding into capital to fix the system. That isn't mismanagement...it's still entirely budgetary. If you've got a time horizon that somehow magically shows that the T should be awash in money compared to its costs to operate, feel free to share it. Simply disparaging the data someone else shows as "what you'd do if you were lying to someone" is the only BS around here. You can muddy the truth all you want, but the MBTA doesn't get enough funding. It hasn't since 2000. The entire POINT of Forward Funding was to strangle the agency...it worked...it worked so well, the agency sank in a sea of debt. This is very plain and obvious to anyone who isn't trying to live through lenses that always show that government is "too big" and "mismanaged" by default.

Talk about living through your own lens

When you can't afford to run your operations due to gas and healthcare costs, you can't afford to put any additional funding into capital to fix the system. That isn't mismanagement...it's still entirely budgetary.

And when you can't afford to run your operations because so many of your employees are abusing a loophole and you either don't realize it, or just turn a blind eye, it's both:

"Approximately 43 percent of the MBTA’s overtime budget, roughly $32 million, went to workers who did not work a full traditional week."


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We're talking about a 2000 MILLION dollar budget.

You're whining about 32 MILLION. It's not even 2% of the whole. You could give nobody overtime at the MBTA and still be drowning. In 2014, the original budget proposal had a 118 MILLION dollar deficit to close. Even if that entire 32 MILLION in "mismanagement" (and that's assuming zero employees have any right to valid overtime) had been wiped out, they still would have been short by 86 MILLION dollars, enough to pay that overtime bill nearly 3 times over again.

Their 2015 debt service costs almost match the ENTIRE payroll, overtime and all.

This is exactly what I'm telling Stevil applied to you. You're looking for the mismanagement and then complaining that that's what's costing us money. Yes, getting a contract that gives you overtime if you call out sick and then work later in the week when they require overstaffing or working beyond your 8 hours in a day and getting overtime even though you only work 2 days a week was mismanagement in agreeing to that in the contract. But that's NOT what's breaking the MBTA these days. It's just an easy whipping boy for you to write a Herald article about and then have everyone attack unions or the management when the serious problems are budgetary and much larger icebergs. Congratulations, Captain, you nimbly steered the Titanic around those waves and into the iceberg instead.

Let's break this down

You're whining about 32 MILLION. It's not even 2% of the whole.

Are you serious man? Find me any organization that thinks $32 mil is chump change because it's "not even 2%" of anything.

Even if that entire 32 MILLION in "mismanagement" (and that's assuming zero employees have any right to valid overtime) had been wiped out, they still would have been short by 86 MILLION dollars, enough to pay that overtime bill nearly 3 times over again.

I never said overtime was a bad thing at all. I said abusing the system is a bad thing. More on this in a moment. But you're right, available overtime should be fair to use, so let's look at the number we get if we consider that 43% of the $32 mil that was paid out to workers under 40 hours, which is $13.76 mil. So that puts us at a deficit of ~$104.25 mil instead of that initial projected $118 mil. But hey, screw it right? At this point they're already so far down the rabbit hole, it won't even matter. Absolutely brilliant train of thought! Maybe they should bring you in to save the system, because your prowess when it comes to economics is on point my man.

Yes, getting a contract that gives you overtime if you call out sick and then work later in the week when they require overstaffing or working beyond your 8 hours in a day and getting overtime even though you only work 2 days a week was mismanagement in agreeing to that in the contract.

Hey, look, we agree on something!...at least in principle. Maybe you're correct here. The MBTA needs them, and it's not like there's any evidence of employees cheating the system or anything, right?

But that's NOT what's breaking the MBTA these days.

Sure is. It's not the only thing, and I have said in previous comments that funding is an issue as well. But mismanagement, corruption, etc. are playing a major role. I don't know how you can sit there and try to say that they aren't. The panel found it. Employees have stated it. Every media outlet, probably down to elementary school newsletters, has covered it.

It's just an easy whipping boy for you to write a Herald article about and then have everyone attack unions or the management when the serious problems are budgetary and much larger icebergs.

Let's bullet point this one, just for fun!

  • I don't write for the Herald.
  • I have no problem with unions whatsoever. I think they're great, and an important part of maintaining safe, fair working conditions. I think some people use them to abuse the system, but I also think non-union employees all over the globe also abuse various workplace systems as well. Again, no big-picture problem with unions here.
  • Management at the MBTA has been a serious problem for years. This is well documented.
  • There aren't any icebergs in Boston, silly.

Congratulations, Captain, you nimbly steered the Titanic around those waves and into the iceberg instead.

Well it's a good thing I managed to find one in Boston and run into it, because I seriously need some ice for that burn!

K, I'm done now. You can reply if you want, but I'm just going to read it, laugh, and carry on with my day.

Go look at the income statement

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It's pretty clear to anyone that can read an income statement what's been going on - every spare dime goes to paying more wages and benefits and almost nothing to debt service/capital expenses. In fact - I believe I read a couple years ago they were even financing some operating expenses.

There's a thread with a reference to Bev Scott and I believe rodeo that has a link in it.

Their revenue in 2001 was about $1 billion with debt service of about $300 million. Now it's $2 billion with debt service of about $400 million (because at long last they are actually buying some new equipment.

The debt on the big dig was probably costing $40-$50 million in 2001. Now it's probably half that - and the principal is depreciated by inflation - one of the advantages of long-term debt.

So of their $1 billion in incremental revenue in the past 15 years - about 10% went to additional debt service. 90% went primarily to additional wages and benefits. I don't believe there's been a material increase in staffing over the past 15 years - there have only been marginal expansions to the system - Greenbush and ???...

Count me as another primary

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Count me as another primary driver / sometime T-rider who'd be delighted to pay higher gas taxes AND tolls to subsidize the T. The T is a huge part of why I choose to live in Boston and while I've come to depend on my car for North Shore errands, it would be great if T fare didn't feel like such a splurge compared to feeding my small gas-efficient car.

Even when you factor in parking, unless I'm going somewhere nutty, the car just makes more sense from both a convenience and an economic point of view (factoring in that I already own the car; it's a different equation for people who don't own one anyway). That's frustrating and sad.

I fill up my tiny tank maybe a couple of times a month and compared to a monthly T pass or fares to cover similar mileage, it's cheap as all get-out. That's super wrong and we need to fix it before the roads are choked by even more cars and the last people who don't have the option of switching to a car have been driven out of the city entirely.

No one was trying to create

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No one was trying to create sides, just pointing that it's hardly only poor people who ride public transit around here.


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Your argument seems relatively odd given that the Blue Line is pretty damn reliable. And even on its off days (which was a handful of days during an unprecedented bout of snow), I've been able to get an Uber in a pinch. Paying $20 for a car once is, for me, preferable to all the cost and headaches of city car ownership. With the money I save by not having a car I can take a couple of trips abroad per year, so I deal with the MBTA.

Though this raises (not begs) the question, do you work somewhere on the Green Line? If so, I take back everything I've said given that personally I've actually taken Zipcar One-way from the BU area just to avoid having to take the GL in the winter.

the problem

Right now, our public transit infrastructure isn't reliable or extensive enough for everyone to be car free. In fact, with property prices and rent what they are, living where you can use the T to get everywhere is the privileged position. Gas tax seems like a good idea, but it's just as regressive, unless it's coupled with a huge investment in alternatives — like a gigantic expansion, which seems pretty unrealistic, given that we can't get the Somerville extension, let alone restore the E line, or have a Red/Blue connector.

The Gas Tax

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The gas tax is actually slightly less regressive because the average driver is richer than the average public transit user. Also, even among drivers, wealthy people on average probably drive cars that are slightly less fuel efficient.

To be sure, It is still a regressive tax, but it is arguably much less regressive than transit fares.

What percentage

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Of public transit drivers are SOLELY public transit users and don't also own a car?

I don't know that number but

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I don't know that number but I do know that 51% of people in Boston walk/cycle/T to work, yet we devote a majority of our space and money to drivers.

The question isn't who owns a

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The question isn't who owns a car, as a substantial majority of city dwellers do (although they also tend to be richer on average than non-car-owner). The question is how most trips are made.

Working class people drive...

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Working class people drive... trust me on that. Most of the people I know who are over 30 and are blue collar / working class need a vehicle to get to work, especially people with young children who are juggling 2 jobs and the busy schedule that comes with raising children. PRIVILEGED are the people who can afford to live and work near reliable public transportation and/or have the leisure of schedule and lifestyle to ride their bike to and fro their job. And, by what means do YOU JUDGE the class and means of people who use public transportation? Your classism and bigotry is showing.

I will never get tired

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of people who see the rhetorical devices used on the left, and try to co-opt them without the faintest idea what they're talking about. Yes. Public transportation, which gives hundreds of thousands of people the ability to live and work in a metropolitan area without owning a multi-thousand-dollar means of conveyance, is a classist affect, and we're all bigots for supporting it.

It's cargo-cult argumentation. Never change, anon.

Does anyone have a list of

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Does anyone have a list of the increases in the last couple of years? I tried looking online but there doesn't seem to be a place listing all of them. I believe there was one in 2012 and another in 2014?

As far as a LinkPass (unlimited bus and subway) is concerned

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the price for the monthly pass in 2007 was $59. In July, the price will be $84.50

That's an increase of 43.22% in 9 years!!!

I wish I had a raise of even 4 percent in that time frame.

Time to stop buying the LinkPass, settle on a bus pass and use the subway less.

This is bullshit. First they

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This is bullshit. First they cut late night service and now this. T fares have gone up over 350% since 1991. The gas tax? A measly 14%. And Charlie Baker promised no new fees. I'll remember that lie when he is up for election.

out of curiosity

did you vote for him to begin with? or, really, i'm curious to hear from anybody that voted for him initially and is now regretting it, and why

or, if you voted for him and are pleased you did feel free to chime in too

I'll bite

I'll bite, at possible a cost to my... "credibility" around here, I voted for Baker. A lot of you seem to have forgotten that the alternative was Coakley. While I admit I don't imagine her raising fares on a 9.3% average, she was a terrible candidate. Here's a link of one of my old post from 2014 that listed all the reasons why I can't in good conscious vote her.

But that said, all this rage at Baker. Let me point that 2014 raise... and how bout that 23% 2012 hike. There was also a 2013 threat that created a whopping 13 comments (including one amazed there's so little). The earliest one I can easily find is the 2011 warning one.

I see the gas tax discussion in those threads. I see the paying more for less service posts. I see the old "they never cut highways and raise tolls" posts. The 2012 one had service cut discussions.

You know what you don't see? Mentions about Patrick. Not even in the 2012 thread.

Not maybe it's 1:45 AM and have work and don't have enough time to research more post history to find a difference. But right now, I see the only difference relate to raging at the governor now but not then in this change is the label of D or R next to the title (yes, you can point out the debt and the Big Dig, but I think my point still stands - hikes happen under Patrick after being governor for quite a while).

I'll save my judgement on Baker on something that really shows where Baker is really going. Like if the Mattapan Line actually get cut or how GLX develops from here (with a range between different scenarios).

For me at least, it's less

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For me at least, it's less the letter after the person's name, and more what they've done in office.

Patrick was trying to do a lot of good for the T.

Baker would like nothing more than to cut it entirely.

Service has been rapidly cascading downhill under Baker, and his joke of a control board has done nothing but waste taxpayer dollars and cancel badly needed projects.

Despite only having been in office for a year, he's managed to demonstrate that he doesn't care at all about the T or the people who ride it.

Patrick cared about the T, and promised a ton of improvements to go along with those fare increases: new subway cars and trolleys, new buses, new commuter rail equipment, several significant service expansions, etc.

Also the fare increases under Patrick brought T fares up to comparable with other transit systems. Previously they had been comparatively cheap. So they were more palatable, even if undesirable.

Promises, promises

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"Patrick cared about the T, and promised a ton of improvements to go along with those fare increases: new subway cars and trolleys, new buses, new commuter rail equipment, several significant service expansions, etc. "

Well, how many of those promises did he fulfill?

PS- T fares are still cheap compared to other major cities.

Glad you caught that too.

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Glad you caught that too.

So Patrick's "promises" were sufficient for you?

Hell, I can promise you the world - it doesn't mean I have to make good. You don't think Patrick thought that? Given the timing of his place in the corner office?


I said the same thing in another post. Some here just have it out for Baker, it seems, because of that pesky R next to his name. It also seems Patrick was given a lot less flack for this stuff.

Weird, huh?

The new red, orange and green

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The new red, orange and green line trains that are in production to be delivered in 2018 were approved and funded under Patrick.

Actually, the prototype cars

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are due for arrival in 2018. After testing of the prototypes, the bulk of the fleet is to be delivered between 2019 and 2021.


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This is the most baseless, biased and ridiculous post I've ever read. Patrick was "trying to do alot of good for the T?" He failed. He hired a clueless political hack in Beverly Scott who had a terrible record in Atlanta.

"Baker would like nothing more than to cut it entirely." I'd love to see some evidence backing up that statement, otherwise its complete unsubstantiated nonsense.

Baker has been the Governor for a little over a year. Patrick 8 years. Who has had more time to improve or worsen the state of the MBTA???

Bottom line is, the MBTA has been grossly mismanaged for decades. Unions are part of the problem. Incompetent employees along with leaders who cannot reign in employee abuse(absenteeism that seems rampant or foreman's signing off on their own overtime). Whether anything comes from Baker's report produced by the 'Control Advisory Board' is beside the point, at least we're getting some transparency here. That's the first step in fixing this mess...

I like most people are furious with the situation at hand. I am incredibly skeptical that this 9% fare increase will go towards things like deferred maintenance. People always propose more tax more fees. That's well and good, but some costs/expenses need to be cut too. And the gas tax? It was defeated because people don't want tax without representation- indexing tax increases is BS. Lets not forget that was a pivotal issue in the American Revolution.

Indexing tax increases

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Indexing taxes isn't BS. It's fiscally sound. If you're not going to make the tax a percentage of the price and a straight dollar amount, then you have to index it to inflation/deflation because...get this...the VALUE OF A DOLLAR CHANGES.

If you don't want an indexed tax, then make the tax a percentage like the income tax. Make the gas tax 30% of the cost of a gallon of gas. You can even give it diminshing returns...if the gas price doubles, maybe the percentage reduces by a third or something, so that the barrel price doesn't become a multiplier at the high end.

But what you can't do is what we do currently. You can't say "we only need $0.30 from every gallon bought and will never need any more or less" and then watch as consumption goes down from higher prices, the purchasing value of that $0.30 goes down after 15 years, the construction/repair costs go up due to improved housing prices, etc. and then still expect to get the same quality of roads for the same budget 15 years later.

And FURTHER to that point, this is all largely immaterial to the discussion because we ONLY fund the MBTA through the *SALES* tax and not the gas tax (except in emergency situations to close the MBTA budget gap and keep the lights on). So, we're even DUMBER than that and we say that public transit relies on people not buying shit online and a good economic growth vector that keeps people going to Wal-Mart more to buy more stuff. If everyone in the state became homesteaders, the MBTA would get $0 to run...even if those homesteaders drove everywhere and we still had gas stations.

Thank you, Kaz

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You nailed it. Repealing the index on the gas tax was inane.

Please explain

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Why won't the Legislature take a vote if and when they want to raise the tax?

They do

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They take a vote every time they want to raise the tax. They did just that the past few years.

Yes, that's a snarky way of saying they don't "want" to raise the tax. Why? Because it's very hard to be popular and raise taxes. Even more so in a 24/7 media circus. Taxes aren't popular...but they are necessary. Our modern politics is a popularity contest.

And calling an index adjustment a "raise" of taxes is absurd and purely political. It's not a raise. It's actually keeping it where they are at based on the steady devaluation of our currency. What we have instead is a steady decline in taxes combined with lots of legislators more willing to keep their job than be responsible.

I agree that now is a time to

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I agree that now is a time to revisit raising the gas tax. I will never vote for indexing it, and I'm glad I'm in good company.

You are aware the state and feds make a good amount of money from gas sales, more than the gas stations, distributors, etc. - just making sure..

Nope, let our legislature do their job and vote for the gas tax. Giving OUR legislature an easy out is never, ever a good idea.

Just have to disagree with this

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Gas is a volatile commodity, as we've seen with recent plummeting of the price. Why should we want our legislatures to waste time on this when there is a viable solution to handling its taxation? Personally, I think they can spend their time better up on Beacon Hill (admittedly, naively saying that they actually would, I'll give you that much) tackling other issues than getting an easy pass on this initiative so they can say "I didn't raise taxes!"

Indexing the gas tax avoids

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the inevitable "I'll vote for the tax increase if you agree to include MY pet project in the legislation authorizing the increase" debates that inevitably happen.


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During Patrick, the MBTA was an independent body. It had its problems and was critically underfunded but he had no active role in its function. It was the legislature, which nobody in this goddamn state EVER takes to task which is why its leadership is chronically busted for corruption, whose job it was to fix the funding issue (and still is).

During Baker, due to the mismanagement and critical funding flaws, the governor stepped in when the storm hit and made this "his" agency by appointing a controller board tied directly to him and removing its independence. That makes it HIS problem...and he's STILL not going to the legislature and making the abysmally stupid Forward Funding legislation the whipping boy for all the problems.


We are eventually going to have single trains on each line that you have to drive and maintain yourself at a cost $150,000 per trip. That money goes towards a non-stop round the world cruiseliner for all pensioned T workers.

Charlie is was and will always be a liar

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And don't forget who is responsible for dumping Big Dig costs on the T that now represent a large part of the T's debt today. Chuck you Farlie.

And btw, shame on you Stephanie. You have thrown your entire career and what you used to stand for in the trash.

And the cash bus fare today

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And the cash bus fare today is $2.00.

50 cents -> $2.00 = 400%

Going by the new CharlieCard bus fare, $1.70, that's a 340% increase.

50 cents to $2 would be a 300

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50 cents to $2 would be a 300% increase. Unless you consider a 50 cent fare styling at 50 cents to be a 100% increase.

But the cash bus fare isn't $2.

Whoops, my apologies. $2 is

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Whoops, my apologies. $2 is 400% of $0.50, and as you said, only a 300% increase.

But yes, the cash bus fare IS $2. It's currently $2.10, and effective July 1 it will be going down to $2.00.

You're cherry-picking the $2

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You're cherry-picking the $2.10/$2.00 cash fare. The MBTA is not running a cash system anymore, cash is the exception. You're "supposed" to use a Charliecard. The Charliecard fare is $1.60 for bus and $2.10 for subway, which is a 220% increase in bus and 180% increase in subway fares since 1990.

That doesn't matter. If, as

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That doesn't matter. If, as the original comment I'm responding to says, in 1990 you could get on a bus and drop two quarters in the farebox, and now you have to drop in 8 quarters, that's a 300% increase. And I pointed out the cash fare because the comment I was replying to (which may or may not be you, because anon) specifically said "But the cash bus fare isn't $2."

And even if, with the CharlieCard discount, the bus fare has "only" risen 240% (using the new fare of $1.70, which you keep ignoring), then the original comment's point still stands. Whether T fares have increased 350% or 240%, THAT'S STILL A LARGE INCREASE. It's still MUCH more than the gas tax has increased. It's still much more than average wages have increased.

So many used late night...

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They had to give it a $7 per rider subsidy. Yeah, sounds like a sustainable thing in an age of uber that's marginally more, let alone split among people.

In the end for the fare increase. Ultimately you have to start some where. Better to have a solvent system able to operate than the perpetual issues we have now. I just hope they squeeze the union's unsustainable pensions and such at the same time.

Actually, subway service was

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Actually, subway service was more like $3 a rider, but don't let good facts get in your way of talking points. BTW, the entire thing, subsidies and all, cost $10 million a year to run the full amount of time (2:30am last train) - which is chump change. We are now at the middle of the pack for subway service closing times, and bottom of the barrel for bus/transit overall closing.

You don't improve solvency by driving ridership down

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You don't improve solvency by driving ridership down. And that subsidy is comparable to the cost of most non-rush-hour service. Indeed it's likely less than the subsidy for some parts of the commuter rail. I wonder why we're not cutting that instead. It might have something to do with the geography of Baker's voter base.

See http://amateurplanner.blogspot.com/2016/02/lets-use-numbers-to-examine-t...

Also you might consider that at $7/ride, you're not really paying the full cost of that Uber ride (e.g. health care for the driver, retirement, sick days, the full cost of the car, and not to mention road maintenance--all stuff we expect our T fares to cover). Given all of these other costs I would be surprised if prices stayed that low forever.

Even when it was open during

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Even when it was open during those hours the usage was at a level that it wasn't very affordable to keep open. The argument that it should be kept to that time slot even despite the cost is a separate point.

Public good

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The MBTA shouldn't be run at "affordability". It is a public good. We, the state, should be paying the lion's share of every ride through taxes. In an ideal world, the MBTA would be fully free and the riders would pay less per year in taxes than they do for fares and the non-riders would likely become riders or pay a middling amount more in taxes to see their roads improve from less traffic/usage.

I'd be in favor of this, and

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I'd be in favor of this, and I think it makes good economic sense too since there is really no such thing as a "wasted" transit trip.

It sounds like you didn't

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It sounds like you didn't read the link I posted. To show that the late night service was not making enough money, the control board compared the subsidy per passenger to the average for the entire week, but it turns out that if you compare late night performance to any random weekday afternoon or any weekend day, the late night service actually performs better.

In other words, if you're going to cut service based on what is the lowest performing time of the day, it doesn't make sense to start with late night service, which actually does pretty well compared to other off-peak times.

What's more, their numbers do not count any additional riders who may have taken the T during normal hours because of the promise that late night service would be available to get them home.

By your logic we should also

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By your logic we should also raise the tolls and gas tax and shut down the Mass Pike at night because few people use it during those hours and non drivers are subsidizing it. Would that be cool with you?

Funny how you blame Baker

This is bullshit. First they cut late night service and now this. T fares have gone up over 350% since 1991. The gas tax? A measly 14%. And Charlie Baker promised no new fees. I'll remember that lie when he is up for election.

The MA legislature is almost entirely Democrat, yet the one person you target is the Repub governor? Really?

Patrick tried to modestly raise the gas tax and he got shut down by those people we elected. Yell at them, not the governor.

FWIW, I have always advocated adding $1 to the gas tax, particularly at a time like now where gas prices are low, as long as the proceeds go to mass transit. And I live out in the sticks and rarely use the T.

Baker? Really?

One guy with the power

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The one guy with the power and the R after his name to take on the D legislature, that always gets off scot free around here, is Baker.

So, yes, his pointing at the fares instead of the gas tax or legislature IS worse than the rest of us ignoring them...it's actively providing them cover from the real issue: Forward Funding.

Yes Baker, really. He is the

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Yes Baker, really. He is the one who promised no new fees. He is the one who lied. He is the one who didn't fight for late night T. He is the one who dumped a billion dollars of debt on the T from the Big Dig. He is the one not using all of the funds allocated for the T for service improvement(some $70 million this year). Should we be OK with his lies and mistakes?

OMG $1 billion of debt!!!

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You do realize that the interest on that debt today is probably about $25 million a year and has been cut in half over the last 15 years due to lower interest rates - which I'm hoping has been refinanced by this point. To say nothing of the fact that $1 billion in inflation depreciated money is around $650 million today.

What has the T done with the other $975 million in incremental ANNUAL revenue they have been able to reap?

Stop asking questions and search out your own answers

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Under section 37B of the MBTA budget, it states quite clearly that all revenue has to be spent on operations if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy - "We, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera... "Fax mentis, incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera... Memo bis punitor delicatum! It's all there! Black and white, clear as crystal! You STOLE Fizzy-Lifting Drinks! You BUMPED into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get... NOTHING!!! You lose! GOOD DAY, SIR!


Seek and you shall find

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If you read that document thoroughly and correctly, you will find that it backs up everything I have stated about additional revenues, declining debt service, etc.

Where does it say "operations" doesn't include debt service? Debt service is an integral part of the "operations" of a capital intensive business. In fact they spend virtually all of page 11 on the role of debt service in their operations.


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If they actually use it for capital projects that $42 million can support about $1.5 billion in debt in perpetuity at current rates. However i worry that this will go to wages and pensions like every other dollar they've gotten in the last 15 years which means we'll get what we always get - nada.

The fair hike is going

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The fair hike is going completely to deficit reduction in the operational budget, capital projects are funded completely differently. Even with this hike, we are still running around a $100 million deficit (at least projected for next year).

im a doctor, so you can trust me

when i say that this is the exact mentality we need if we want to improve the T. its a scientific fact that the louder you stomp your feet and point at the other guy, the more reasonable you are seen & more attention your noble cause receives

And smart at the maths too!

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Yes, let us look at the number of people who agree with what you say compared to spin-o-rama - you've got an entire handful and spin has a measly few dozen!

You benefit from the roads

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You benefit from the roads even if you don't personally use them because of all the services and economic benefits they bring.

You benefit from the T

You benefit from the T even if you don't personally use it because of all the services and economic benefits it brings.

The economic effect of the T

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The economic effect of the T is very important, but it's smaller measurable factor than the economic effect that the roads bring to users of public transit.

The amount of economic

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The amount of economic benefit that public transit users get from the roads is quantifiably greater. While public transit is very important, the roads have a bigger economic effect. Public transit users are also participants in the larger economy.

It's the Road Warrior!

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I remember you from the last thread! Yes I'm sure public transit exists for no reason in all these big cities, close down the London Underground folks, the roads are something something unquantifiable.

No one said they don't exist

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No one said they don't exist for any reason, that was not the argument. That other cities have public transit does not mean that people who use it don't also greatly benefit from the roads.

Quick summary of the mini-thread

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1) Original news story: transit infrastructure being shut down for excuse of low utilization during certain hours; fare increase

2) Spin-o-rama: Draws sarcastic comparison to the fact that neither would ever happen to the highway system despite the same under-utilizations

3) Road Warrior: just like the last thread, "you benefit from the roads even if you don't use them"

4) Spin: replies, accurately, in kind, just like the last thread

5) Road Warrior: again, repeating the same thing you said last time, "actually, the T isn't as important as the roads by my unquantified metrics for importantness"

Actually, man, public transit is super important for the economy of this region. It's why so many white & blue collar workers take it every day. It's why there are tacit ride subsidies to keep it running during non-peak hours. It's why it has expanded since the Tremont St Subway. It's a crucial point of infrastructure and if it disappeared tomorrow there would be extreme economic impacts.

Inaccurate summary. All the

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Inaccurate summary. All the other poster did was make a point which bolsters the argument that economic factors spread across the various method.

Everyone agrees it's all important, no one was suggesting anything else as you keep doing.

How can you possibly compare

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How can you possibly compare the two? Yes, it's true that we need roads to move goods to market, but nowhere *near* the number and size of roads we currently have. The vast majority of road space is currently taken up by people in cars making trips that would be more efficiently served by mass transit.

But I would argue that in a place like Boston or Cambridge, where our core industries rely mainly on intellectual capital (read: People), transit actually adds far more economic value than the road network. It's a stupid argument, though, because we obviously need both. The question is which one should be funded first.

You set up a false argument

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You set up a false argument to make an unrelated point.

No one is saying that better public transit wouldn't benefit people. However, some people suggest because they use public that they don't benefit from the roads, and that is not true at all.

"transit actually adds far more economic value than the road network"

The roads bring more than public transit, you offer nothing to the contrary to refute this. The go

"It's a stupid argument, though, because we obviously need both."

That wasn't point being made, you just decided to add that in.

You're literally asking for it

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He's not setting up a false argument, you're repeatedly in multiple threads begging the question and getting answered and then fighting about it.

You are right that the roads bring more than personal transit. You are right the roads are important to everyone. AND, WITHOUT CONTRADICTION, public transit is very important as well! And brings benefits to those who do not use it! For instance, how quickly do you think items could be shipped for business purposes if rush hour had 10x the cars, 10x the duration, and 10x the spread? 100x? What alleviates the need for every individual person in the metro area to personally drive their sedan on rt 9, a road shared by Wegmans trucks and FedEx trucks and ambulances?

It is not unreasonable to reply to "the roads bring benefits to non-users and are therefore valuable" with "public transit does the exact same thing and that fact is usually less understood by the masses".

It is, in my opinion, a bit unreasonable to then, in a thread about transit being empirically devalued, reply to that second comment with "ah yes, but the roads matter MORE".

In the other thread I pointed out that this seems to be very overtly implying that the utility with greater function therefore deserves more funding at the expense of the other, as that is the situation being discussed. I proposed, therefore, that since water matters more to everyone than the roads do, perhaps every time someone discusses funding the roadways or fixing potholes, I should chime in saying "ah but not everyone benefits from the roads, while EVERYONE benefits from water". Would that be constructive?

Almost nothing you said is in

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Almost nothing you said is in disagreement with the original point. However, you keep suggesting that by pointing out that the benefits cross multiple methods, someone is advocating removing something, which is a logical fallacy. Someone posted about the roads in a thread about transit, and that is what the post about everyone benefiting from all types of transit is about and many agree with that.

Let me put it this way:

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Let me put it this way:

Logistics that *need* to use the roads (e.g. ambulances, delivery truck drivers) benefit from transit because it keeps everyone else off of them.

Bigger economic effect, but

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Bigger economic effect, but in a negative way. Rising sea levels, gas run off polluting rivers, 30,000 killed by drivers every year, billions in medical bills from car crashes, etc

Per the WBUR pie chart,

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All of the public meetings and soliciting of feedback resulted in over 3,000 comments. 8% of those comments were in favor of a fare hike. What was the point of that exercise? Is there some threshold of negative comments that would prevent this?

State Reps and State Senators

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State Reps and State Senators showing up at meetings to say they were against the increase might have had some influence.


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The point of the exercise is basically the same as a show trial. The government lets people think that due process, a fair hearing, whatever, has taken place, then does what it originally planned to do from the outset.

(I'm sure there's a term for this when the government engages in these kinds of charades in the form of public hearings rather than judicial trials, but I can't think of it now. Also compare rubber stamp parliament and Potemkin village.)

The government will always

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The government will always give the people a minimum of three options. Two of them, upon closer examination, are basically the same, and the third is completely impractical to implement

Sir Humphrey Appleby - from Yes Minister


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Shameful. This fare increase is very ill timed. Very ill timed. It's clear they don't care about the riders.

And shame on Pollack, and she essentially said the usual "It'll improve service" (source).. because we've heard that before. I think it's said just about every time fares increase, and in return the service does the exact opposite.. it gets worse!

I'm not sure how a measly 42MILLION will help fix a 7BILLION backlog of maintenance, which are the causes of such breakdowns and delays. Plus this is going to the operating budget, not that backlog maintenance. So unless they other things in the works, service will remain the same and the riders are being taken for a ride, so to speak with promises of improved service that will never happen.

Got to raise funds and start

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Got to raise funds and start somewhere. 7 billion was not accrued in a day. 42 million is a lot of new signals and switches.

see where

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see where I wrote

Plus this is going to the operating budget, not that backlog maintenance.

On how that's gonna play out.

If you raise the funds then

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If you raise the funds then there is at least more money that can be moved to places that need it, as opposed to not bringing in anything additional

I'm not sure you understand

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I'm not sure you understand the difference between operational dollars and capital (backlog maintenance) dollars.

Budgeting doesn't work that

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Budgeting doesn't work that way. This money is entirely going to operations. In fact the T already got in trouble recently for paying operational expenses - specifically some of their wages - out of the capital budget in years past.

This money is going to plug

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This money is going to plug an operations budget hole, which is caused by increasing wages and healthcare costs. If the T hadn't raised this money, they simply would have had a bigger deficit in the ops budget. They would not have been allowed to transfer money from capital to ops, so the lack of a fare increase wouldn't've hurt the capital budget. Nor is this fare increase going to give them more revenue than they need to cover ops, so it's not like they can move some of it over to capital improvements (even if they were allowed to do so).

While it's perfectly

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While it's perfectly reasonable that people don't want fares to go up, public transit here has been significantly less expensive than most other cities.

Completely false. Let me copy

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Completely false. Let me copy-pasta myself yet again:

Lets see, in the NA we have:

NYC/PATH: $2.75, minus the 11% bonus making it about $2.45

Chicago: $2.25

Philly: $2.25 cash/$1.80 Token

Baltimore: $1.70

Montreal: ~ $2.37 USD

Toronto: ~$2.37 USD (Cash) / $2.11 USD Token

MBTA: $2.65 Ticket/ $2.10 Card

I will admit that the monthlies are reasonably cheap. But, hey, look, we are pretty much right there with a shit system that is falling apart. Do again tell me how we have the cheapest in the country though. You really think we should be charging as much as NYC?

*DC/BART/MUNI/etc not comparable due to distance based fares and BART being a glorified commuter rail, and MUNI being basically buses.

Not false, monthly passes are

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Not false, monthly passes are less than most other major cities despite being one of the most expensive overall places.

"Do again tell me how we have the cheapest in the country though."

That was not said in the post, it was comparing to other major comparable cities, and the monthly passes are less expensive.

Poor yuppies

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What about all the poor beautiful people who bought in the "transit oriented" condo developments?

What I want I will not pay for

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T riders, like car drivers, want a high level of service at a low cost. But it all costs money.

Recently I was in Berlin. Wow, talk about transport fur alle! Buses, subway, commuter rail and rail. Countdown clocks at every station and most bus stops. Even on New Years Day the subway ran every 15 minutes. Their fare system is different, relying on geographic zones and time limits, but even with recent favorable exchange rates, it's more expensive than any system in the US.

But users pay, plus all taxpayers. It works.

Capital Needs: What, exactly, would this SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS pay for? All new signals? New trains? I would really like to know.

Something not addressed, so far as I know: falling gas prices. Shouldn't that be reflected in the T's expenses?

My sense is the T should regroup, reassess, and devote all new revenue to improving the current infrastructure and existing service.

Excellent point

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Car drivers don't want the gas tax to go up. Transit riders don't want fares to go up. Yet the transportation infrastructure needs improvement.

I don't know how I would work this out, but if capital costs on the T could be funded other than from the farebox, the argument against fare increases would be tough. If expenses rose 5%, the options would be a 5% fare hike or service cuts. Then how would people be able to bellyache.

Enough already with the comments about how important roads are

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Yes, Mr. Road Fan, we get it: Roads are important. Through the sheer power of your arguments, but mostly through your sheer repetition of same, we now finally understand that many valuable and important goods come to us via trucks, on roads, and that even people who ride the Orange Line benefit from the marvel that is the modern American road system.

So enough, kind sir. You don't have to reply to every. single. comment. about how important roads are. We get it.

Thank you,

The Management.

Anyone see Diane Wilkerson all over social media?

Criticizing Baker for putting in too many white men (in MBTA management positions) who do not understand the concerns of blacks who actually use the T?

I wanted so bad to comment something like "maybe if you bribed these guys you could keep the fares down?" or something to that effect.

(I shouldn't say all over social media, just a few comments to people I know)

I pay $50 a month as a bus

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I pay $50 a month as a bus commuter and don't own a car and I'm getting away with murder, so a fare hike doesn't bother me. If you can afford a smart phone(and seemingly everyone can), you can handle a fare hike.

Thanks for Sharing! Good for you.

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There is a big difference between a $50 per month bus pass and say a $362 per month Zone 10 (by way of an example) commuter rail pass. And I will let you do the math regarding a 9.3% increase for each (yes, one amount will be much higher). And that increase just might be difficult for someone to absorb at either end of the spectrum.

Aside from that, however, whether or not someone who can "afford a smart phone" can afford this rate hike is not relevant to anything since it is an assumption on your part.

Interesting tidbit about the

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Interesting tidbit about the smart phone market: Even though you mostly hear about apps for the iPhone, the substantial majority of smart phones out there are Androids. Why? Because all of the major carriers will give you one "free" with the purchase of a contract. What's more, a smart phone data plan is typically cheaper than Internet access for one's home, so for some of the poorest people in the country, a smart phone is *the only way* they can get Internet access short of going to a library (not an easy thing to do if you are working 2-3 jobs and taking the bus everywhere). And given that Internet access is now a requirement for accessing some government services that are part of our social safety net, it actually makes zero sense to assume that if someone "can afford a smart phone" then they are not in fact poor.


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So it may now be cheaper for me to actually drive into work and pay parking than take the CR. This is not cool.

For now, perhaps

If memory serves, the last commuter rail fare hike a couple of years ago was matched by 20-40% increases in the cost of parking near South Station, effective the same day.

It's not only the T. DC Metro

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It's not only the T. DC Metro needs a 6% revenue increase ( thru some combo of fare and/or subsidy increases) annually for the next 10 years to improve service.

"But the Baker administration

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"But the Baker administration is interpreting it as a 10 percent cap, and argues that it doesn’t apply to passes since they aren’t technically “fares.”"

How is this a thing

Baker treats T riders like we

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Baker treats T riders like we are morons while also taking more money out of our pockets. Screw him. He will remain popular among suburban SUV drivers who love to see him screw over urban people.

>$1,000 for MBTA local annually now

$1,014 for MBTA local LinkPass for Subway & Bus. 12.7% increase for monthly pass holders...

I really wish I was getting something more for my money.

There hasn't been any expansion. They've done a few things on the south side of the city for stations though I think? Govt Center is about it that I can think of that has seen a major renovation lately.

Late night service is about the only thing I've been happy they've started. Of course, they want to (or probably are?) get rid of it again.

It's not super useful because of 2 problems - communication & frequency. At night, the countdown clocks should reverse & say what time the next train will leave the station more like the commuter rail. I would like it if they would stop holding the trains at the stations and get the trains moving faster.

MBTA real world question though - can they actually run trains faster with the quality of the track/switches? Is that what my increase is really going to rather than what seems to be nothing? That'd be great.

Sad that real estate has

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Sad that real estate has doubled in some places in the last 5 years, the tax base with it, but public transit keeps getting worse and more expensive.

A solution?

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Without doing the research (I'm not sure how Proposition 2½ or other laws affects it), why can't Boston (and/or other cities) submit a ballot question that would provide a % tax increase that would go solely to capital projects on the MBTA?

Although nobody wants to see their taxes increase, I would imagine that residents are smart enough to vote for an increase that would actually go to new trains, new signals, Green Line extension, Red/Blue connector, Orange Line extension to Needham, Blue Line to Lynn, etc.

If we can't do that, can we allocate all tax monies that come from the legalization of marijuana to public transportation? I mean our lottery/gambling proceeds are supposed to go to education, right? (Ha!)

As long as that ballot question

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also put serious limits on the amount of "study" and "community input" and "givebacks - er - mitigation" associated with designing those capital projects. And also puts serious deadlines between start of design and start of construction.

Replacing track and signals and so forth shouldn't require a gaggle of public meetings and environmental justifications and the like. The work NEEDS to be done, so just do it!

Would that be like a debt

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Would that be like a debt exclusion?

I get what you're saying and I agree. I think many of us would chip in for a determined period of time if that money was going solely to the T maintenance and infrastructure. But, most of us know the money never goes where it should.