Boston Fare Strike is planning some fare evasion starting at 6 p.m. today at Park Street. The goal is to protest the recent fare increases, natch.
Bring an instrument or a noise maker and be ready to celebrate Fare Free Friday!
Also see: Riders of the Hull ferry talk about the proposed end of their commute:
The MBTA starts a series of public meetings on Tuesday to let the public
vent helplessly pipe up about plans to cut a number of bus lines, all ferry service, weekend and post-10 p.m. commuter rail service and the E line on weekends.
The T says it also wants to hear from commuters on its plans to raise fares by at least 35% to help make up a $160 million projected shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
- Background info and meeting schedule from the MBTA
- The T needs more than fare increases - Conservation Law Foundation
- So No to MBTA Fare Hikes and Service Reductions
- Students Against T Cuts
- Fare increases and service cuts are unwise, unfair and unnecessary - T Riders Union
- Where Does the MBTA Go from Here? - Jeff Egnyczyk
The Globe reports on comments Deval Patrick made this morning on WTKK.
That Dan Grabauskas has to go, the Outraged Liberal explains.
Looks like the extra revenue from the increase in the sales tax won't cut it for T officials, who have scheduled hearings on possible fare hikes of nearly 20%. Basic CharlieCard fares would go from $1.70 to $2.00, while bus fares would rise from $1.25 to $1.50. Commuter-rail riders would also see increases.
Without the increases, the T says it will have to cut service, including a reduction in bus service of 50% after 8 p.m. and on weekends, elimination of all weekend Mattapan line service, elimination of several "redundant" Green Line stops and the entire E line past Brigham Circle, reducing all midday and post-8 p.m. subway service by 50% and cancellation of all ferry service. Also: the last commuter rail trains out of Boston would leave by 7 p.m. and there would be no weekend service at all on commuter lines.
The first "workshop" on the T budget is Aug. 10 at 4 p.m. at the State House, followed by meetings on Aug. 11 in Revere, Aug. 12 in Braintree, and Aug. 13 in Somerville. The last three sessions all start at 5:30 p.m., which, of course, gives many working people little time to get to them.
More details from the MBTA (PDF document).
Mike Mennonno sees the sudden honesty about operating expenses at the T as mere groundwork laying for new fare hikes next year, now that Gov. Patrick and the legislature have made it clear they won't do anything about the T's crippling debt:
... The only question is whether it'll be thirty-five or forty percent. How does $2.30 for a single subway trip with a charlie card sound? $2.80 with a paper ticket? And bus fare of $1.75 with a card, $2.10 with cash? $79 for a monthly pass.
I'm starting a pool. Get your guesstimates in now.
Beyond Red & Blue summarizes data from the American Public Transportation Association on public-transit usage for the first half of 2007: Nationally, ridership was up, but down in Boston (subway ridership was down 8%; the sharpest decline in the country; bus and trolley ridership was down less dramatically; commuter-rail use was actually up a bit). Hmm, what happened in the first six months of this year that could explain that?.
See the APTA data for yourself.
Casey Ross has the details on proposals to raise $20 billion over the next 20 years just to keep our existing roads, bridges, tunnels and public transit systems from falling apart even more. How about 5-cent/mile tolls on I-93, I-95, I-495, to start?
The T Riders Union set up a few polls over on our site on how riders feel about the fare hikes.
We're going to collect the results of how riders feel and present them to the MBTA, so head on over and feel free to leave comments as well: http://www.ace-ej.org
Anali explains why the increase in T fares means she'll be driving to work all the time come Jan. 2.
Michael Burstein bids the T token adieu:
... I will miss the token. I grew up in New York City, not in Boston, but I remember the look and feel of the various subway tokens that the MTA issued as I was growing up. I loved looking at older tokens, ones that were no longer usable, as it was like looking at a piece of history. Somewhere, I've kept a collection of older tokens, both from New York City and Boston, and it saddens me to think that we'll no longer see new designs. ...
Plus, he adds: Tokens just work - e-cards sometimes don't.
Meanwhile, the Transport Avenger is pleasantly shocked to discover CharlieCards actually work well:
... It's great to just tap the card on the sensor. Getting on a bus takes a second, and the gates on the subway open with no delay. ...
Token ed. note: If only my laptop weren't awaiting a new brain, I could try to make a token flag flying at half mast for the top of Universal Hub.
Train Mon makes the mistake of trying to figure out the new commuter-rail fare structure and why the Zone 1A Pass makes more sense than the LinkPass.
The Globe's transportation reporter provides a handy video on how to use the new card - and shows why he desperately needs somebody at boston.com to change that dorky photo of him on his blog.
John Daley notes the T's fare increase is timed to coincide with the formal launch of CharlieCards, which, of course, are named for the protagonist of a song who will never return, no, he'll never return, because he couldn't get offa that train after a fare increase:
... I suppose it makes sense since, just like Charlie, a lot of working people now won't have enough money to pay the fare.
Talk about putting your best foot forward. The press release at mbta.com starts:
For the first time in the history of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, T customers will be able to transfer from the subway system to buses at NO EXTRA CHARGE. ...
Makes you feel good about the fare increases, no?
No. Ben Ostrander is upset with the elimination of free rides on parts of the Green Line, because it'll mean even slower trollies in the evening:
... Now we will wait as those in the back of the long subway train have to push their way to the front of the train to exit the ONE door there. I say push because the outbound trains at rush hour are so crowded that pushing is the only way we are able to get out now. And we get three doors now! Then we get to wait for passengers to board separately and those who have experienced the new fare boxes know they make boarding trains and buses slower. With only the front door to exit and enter from, commutes will increase for us all. ...
The Outraged Liberal is aghast that fares are going up while tolls are going away on most of the turnpike:
... The folks who benefit most from the Big Dig -- commuters from the north and south -- have not paid their fair fare throughout this process. The plans hatched by Mitt's minions assure that they will still get as free ride. ...
The Missus: Public transportation in this area is a major joke:
... At the prices we are paying now to ride the T ($1.25) and the bus ($0.90), the current service offerings and punctuality was "endurable." But what they want to charge us now is a bunch of B.S. ...
... They unanimously voted for a fare hike, eh? After all that smoke-and-mirrors regarding "We'll think about hiking prices after we hear what the ridership has to say" and after the ridership spoke up and said "NO"? ...
Jeff on Boonville Blog: The poor that use public transit because they can't afford anything else will get hurt the most:
But what the hell does a Mitt Romney appointee care about fucking poor people?
Sick of poor service, uneven automated fare collection machine implementation, and rising fares? Think the new fare increases (from $1.25 to $2.25 cash) are outrageous?
The T Riders Union (TRU) is going to march on the MBTA tomorrow at 12:30pm at MBTA Headquarters (10 Park Plaza, intersection of Park and Charles.) Frustrated riders who are trying to prevent increase of 29-83% to cash and Charlie Ticket fares will march to the monthly MBTA Board meeting, and present over 1,200 signatures opposing the fare increases.
Voice your frustration by joining us tomorrow.