How about a 25% fare hike and no service cuts?

The MBTA could avoid service cuts by shifting costs of services to state agencies that really should be bearing them and by levying an "equitable" 25% fare hike, the MBTA Advisory Board said today.

The board, which represents the cities and towns in the MBTA service area, released a counter-proposal to the T's current plans, which calls for fare hikes of at least 35% and major cutbacks across commuter rail and bus line and the elimination of all ferry service.

However, part of the advisory board's assumptions would also include levying new fees - such as a 50-cent surcharge on tickets to sporting and entertainment events, a $10 yearly fee for college students and payments from "large beneficiaries of late night and weekend commuter rail."

The advisory board says the T could save $71 million through a series of steps, including transferring the cost of transit security to State Police, handing ferry service over to MassPort and shifting the cost of private and suburban bus systems to the state Department of Transportation.

More savings could come through elimination of all raises in the coming fiscal year, finally selling of station naming rights, canceling the planned elimination of alcohol advertising, and new fees on entertainment and sports tickets and on companies that benefit from commuter rail after 10 p.m. and on weekends - such as sports venues.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Ad:

Comments

third alternative shows movement

So know we have a third alternative, which in my opinion is a good sign mostly because it shows movement. Parceling out transportation to other orgs may not make sense organizationally but it might find funding there. No mention of big dig debt or fixing the forward funding?

up
Voting is closed. 0

big dig debt / forward funding

Only by implication, but in rather stern terms:

The MBTA is mired in a structural and cyclical deficit, which requires a legislative fix.
...
Leadership is required from the Patrick/Murray Administration, Legislature and other leaders to find a way out of this that does not require figurative annual bloodletting.
...
The Advisory Board plan will preserve the transit system until a real and lasting solution can be found. The Advisory Board plan can bring all of the stakeholders in our transportation system: the Governor, the Legislature, municipalities, businesses, large institutions, students, seniors, those with disabilities, transit advocates, commuters and all the users of the system together to finally have that "adult conversation" so long promised and so long avoided. Shame on all of us if we avoid it again.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Like the T's Plan

By on

Like the T's plan, this is a one year fix but one that avoid service cuts. The state needs to start on the big fix for both the MBTA and the rest of transportation asap.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Ding ding ding! This is more like it.

By on

Oddly, a 25% increase would mean a lower cost for monthly bus/subway passes than what they're now proposing. But whatever. I'd gladly pay $5 more than the proposed rates if they kept providing a service that's actually usable, not just for commuting and going to daytime appointments, but for weekend activities and events that last after 10PM.

Most of the protests that I've read about have been against service cuts, much less so for fare increases. Most people seem to understand that the T needs money and current fares are lower than just about anywhere in North America. It's the proposed service cuts that are a complete disaster.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Tax, tax, tax

Somebody send these people diapers that fit over their faces, because that's where the (expletive) is coming from. What the (expletive) do sports tickets have to do with the trains and buses? What does being a student have to do with the trains and buses?

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not going to fix this problem. You know what's going to fix this problem? Cutting the service, then using the money to buy Smart cars for people, because we clearly as a community don't want to have good trains.

You all keep voting for the same legislators over and over again. Remember what Einstein said? "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results." Beacon Hill made a law about MBTA funding that doesn't work in the real world. They are stupid. Fire them from their jobs. Or sit with your thumb up your (expletive) again during the next election. Either one. You deserve what you get from your complacency, Boston.

You see that "D" on the ballot? Don't fill in the circle next to it. Those "D" people care about themselves, their buddies, and their third cousins that are too stupid to work anywhere else. Those people are not your problem or my problem. Stop enabling them. Try caring about something that isn't Keyboard Cat or Dancing with the Stars for five (expletive) minutes. Or take an hour to travel four miles. I don't care either way. I drive because I'm not busy outbidding everybody else to pay $1,500 to live by myself in a shoebox.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Congrats

By on

That's the most hilarious thing I've heard from a Republican since Intelligent Design.

up
Voting is closed. 0

What Republican?

To whom do you refer, sir? I don't see any comment in this thread in which the writer declares that they are a Republican.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Students and Sports

What the (expletive) do sports tickets have to do with the trains and buses? What does being a student have to do with the trains and buses?

I sort of agree about the students, but it's easy to see why this is reasonable for events at the Garden or Fenway. They put massive pressure on the system, which costs money. The alternative is to charge more for a ride under such circumstances, but that would then penalize people who have nothing to do with the event.

up
Voting is closed. 0

How about an equitable hike

By on

How about an equitable hike on gas taxes and (creating) tolls on 93?

I do agree with sports teams paying for service. All the extra Red Sox service + staff isnt free, but it is necessary.

Instead of a $10 yearly fee on college students, how about mandatory transit passes at a reduced rate? $100 a semester = unlimited rides on local service. In-state students exempt because they have local arrangements.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Will, Yes, I agree with the

By on

Will,

Yes, I agree with the above poster, because when I went to college at the University of Pittsburgh, we had a half a** city bus service and as a student, and I paid somewhere between $100-$150 a month for unlimited bus service in the city which was built into my tuition. Want to know a surprise? No one complained, because they used the buses. I would go out on a limb and say 80% of college students in Boston rely solely or heavily on the MBTA.

So Will, I am assuming you did not rely on public transportation in an urban environment during your college years (if you had any) and if you did, you obviously are disillusioned to the role it played in getting you around to where you need to be.

And by the way, keep on voting "R" in complete ignorance and futility. Have a good one!

up
Voting is closed. 0

I might as well talk to a wall around here sometimes

Not blindly voting "D" doesn't mean that I automatically vote "R." Sometimes I vote "D," but it's because I like the guy (or girl.)

If 80% of students use the T, then THEY can pay for it. If you want to spend my tax money on the T, that's alright too, because sometimes as a member of a society, I need my fellow citizens to get places. I won't bat an eyelash.

But I draw the line at "everybody has to buy a pass." It's bad enough that the horse's ass known as Mitt Romney pulled that crap with health insurance, and raised my taxes in the process.

Sometimes I like Republicans. But given the choice between Obama and Romney, I'm giving Barry four more years. Why? Because Barack Obama CUT my taxes (reducing self-employment tax from 15.3% to 13.3%), and Mitt Romney RAISED my taxes.

You are correct, sir, I did not attend college. And if I did, I would have picked one with ample parking.

up
Voting is closed. 0

But there's one big flaw in the current voting system.

By on

If I want to vote D (or R) for any candidate in a primary, I'm forced to accept a ballot that has only Ds (or Rs) as my choices. Not only that, but my choice of ballot becomes part of the public record for that election.

Just another reason why public participation in the electoral process continues to decline.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Funny, I was going to post about this too

By on

When I went to school in Pittsburgh, we had ID card bus passes. The first year it was about $35 extra, but after that it became required. I didn't mind. I never paid for a bus with cash there, until many years later while visiting.

I disagree about "half assed". I found their system to have a similar feel to ours, but they did not keep any of the original streetcar lines, sadly. As far as service went, they had much later hours and even a 24 hour span on the busiest lines. I remember riding the 61C at 3-4am occasionally. Here, they make excuses instead.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Pittsburgh bus system

By on

Yeah, when I was at Pitt you just flashed your student ID at the bus driver. I think they extended it to CMU students too? I think it also helped deal with some of the crowding in the student ghetto - I had a lot of friends who moved to Shadyside/Squirrel Hill/Bloomfield because it became so much easier to access campus with the bus system. And because it was nearly impossible to get a cab to/from anywhere other than the train station or airport, the late-night service was really great to have.

Though I'm not sure how it would work in Boston - would there be an MBTA pass encoded onto the IDs issued by the universities, or would all students just get a charlie card when they get their student ID?

up
Voting is closed. 0

When I lived in Buffalo all

By on

When I lived in Buffalo all of the area college students were given NFTA-metro semester passes as part of their tuition fees, worked out great and no one complained.

It would be even better in Boston because the MBTA could spend less time stopping fair evaders on the B line. Oh wait they don't even try now...

up
Voting is closed. 0

How about an equitable hike Re: How about an equitable hike

By on

|I do agree with sports teams paying for service. All the extra Red |Sox service + staff isnt free, but it is necessary.

Shouldn't the fares paid by all the people who make the extra service necessary make up for the additional costs?

The MBTA needs to start charging what it costs them to provide the transportation. If the people decide that's not OK, they provide some way to figure out some way to pay down the MBTA debt.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Sounds like something to pursue ... T

I don't have a problem, per se, with increasing fares. Giving up service - any service - is worse.

Can someone explain the $10 fee on college kids? They pay their fares (well, some/most) just like the rest of us. Why are they charged extra?

Charging a tax, sorry, "fee", on sporting events, etc., sounds logical and stupid at the same time. People use the T on nights and weekends to get into Boston from out of town, so they should pay for the "privilege", but, of course, charging them extra might mean more drive? Well, I dunno, that doesn't make sense. Yeah, charge 'em.

Oh, while we're at it, why not take the $10 fee on car rentals away from the Convention Center and give it to the T?

up
Voting is closed. 0

This

By on

Or the parking ticket surcharge, or the massport concession fee.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Are cuts to "The RIDE" off limits?

By on

It's been almost a year to the day since the WBZ I-Team reported on tremendous waste in the $90M "The RIDE" program, essentially a taxpayer funded free livery service. WBZ found that what are supposed to be "shared" rides are rarely shared at all, a fleet of large sedans and small buses transporting one person at a time. Often to the same destination. If they're going to take one person at a time, why not switch to compact cars, at least for the ambulatory?

For those who say it's a federally mandated program, fine. But develop a system where more than one person at a time can be transported. I don't think the feds mandate a limo service, then again...

up
Voting is closed. 0

Who pays for it

Not asking for cuts to the Ride, but now that we have an official DoT - why is The Ride still under the T's budget? Transfer it to the DoT, and remove a big money loser form the T's budget. If we want the ride, let the "road/car" budget pay for the service, not the T....

up
Voting is closed. 0

Great idea

By on

Excellent idea. The Ride is a huge expense which benefits only a very small fraction of riders. It's primarily a social service, not public transportation, but required under ADA and similar laws. If we put its costs and revenues in its own ledger sheet, we can start looking for social service money to pay for it, and the rest of the T won't look quite so bad.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Every transit system in the

By on

Every transit system in the country that operates fixed-route bus service is required under ADA and the Federal Transit Administration to provide para-transit service for those that cannot use the fixed-route service. Why wouldn't the MBTA be the agency repsonsible for it?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Paratransit and normal service

By on

provide para-transit service for those that cannot use the fixed-route service

Right, and this is a good thing. However, it makes me wonder: if the MBTA and MassDOT were to bite the bullet and make the capital expenditures to bring ALL fixed-route service up to ADA standards, would that suffice to end the expensive paratransit workaround?

Obtain a fleet of 100% low-floor, wheel-chair accessible buses and trains. Level-boarding at every single station. Bus stops which are compatible with level-boarding on accessible buses. Would that be enough, or would paratransit still be required?

And then there's the two levels of paratransit. Strictly speaking, the MBTA is only required by law to offer paratransit in areas within 0.75 miles of a fixed route. However, the MBTA offers a wider area. One of the proposals they put up is to split the fares into two zones: the legally mandated 0.75 miles would continue at the low rate, but the outer service would get the extra charge.

I think the extra range on paratransit is a nice thing from a social perspective, and we should consider keeping it in some fashion. A possibility is to continue having the MBTA fund the core paratransit service which is part of their mission. But the Commonwealth and MassDOT could find a more appropriate social services source of funding for the regions that are outside of the 0.75 mile region from any MBTA transit route.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The ADA requires para-transit

By on

The ADA requires para-transit be offered within 3/4 mile of fixed route stops even if the fixed route service meets all ADA requirements. There are people who cannot get to the stop to begin with, no matter if the fixed-route meets all ADA standards.
There is no legal "workaround" for the 3/4 mile requirment.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Good to know

By on

I always thought para-transit was the workaround for not having a sufficiently accessible transit system.

However, I think this makes the argument stronger that money for para-transit should come from something like state Medicaid funds. For example, restaurants are required to be accessible by law. But if a person is not able to get to the ADA-compliant restaurant, there is no requirement that the restaurant deliver food to that person's home. Same goes for just about any other business. Now there are good reasons why transit is more fundamental and should provide these services. But I don't see why the funding for it has to come out of operating revenue. Especially if the MBTA is supposed to be seen as an "independent" agency which balances its own budget. This is a social service, it should be funded as such, through the state and federal governments.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Many transit agencies see ADA

By on

Many transit agencies see ADA paratransit as an unfunded mandate.

The law makes it the MBTA's obligation for the service within 3/4 mile of a fixed-route.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well ...

Maybe if the MBTA did a better job of making it possible for paratransit users to use regular transit, and communities did a better job making sure that people could get to the transit lines themselves and kept the bus stops clear of illegally parked cars and snow, the need for paratransit would be reduced some?

up
Voting is closed. 0

The Ride provides much more

By on

The Ride provides much more service than is required under the ADA. Part of the fare increase/service cut proposals was much higher fares for trips on the Ride that aren't required under the ADA, because they're more than 3/4 mile from a bus stop.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The problem is the Ride

By on

The problem is the Ride largely caters to sweet old ladies and people in wheelchairs.

Nobody wants to be the guy who screws over the sweet old ladies and people in wheelchairs. Not even the GOP.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Damn those Republicans on

By on

Damn those Republicans on Beacon Hill who got us into this mess!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Don't worry we are working

By on

Don't worry we are working hard to get rid of all 3 of them and then we'll find some other scapegoat, like the Dutch.....and their wooden shoes, to blame for everything.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Service cuts are much worse than fare hikes

I can grudgingly accept the need for a fare hike, especially since the last fare change on 1/1/2007 actually was a fare decrease for many riders.

But the proposed service cuts seriously reduce the MBTA's usefulness for me, and probably for many others like me. Without a car, the T's night and weekend service are how I get to places like Providence, Lowell, Concord, the North Shore, and various parts of suburban-to-exurban Boston. Cutting this service means that I just can't leave the city unless I want to bike all the way to my destination.

Some of these areas also heavily depend on the T to bring them tourists, whether from metropolitan Boston or from out of state.

up
Voting is closed. 0