'Charlie on the MTA' could be updated with new people to vote for to fight the fare increase: Members of the Boston City Council

Boston City Councilors say the $85 million the city directly pays into the MBTA every year should at least buy them a meeting with T officials to press their case to do more than just maintain an increasingly unreliable system they say particularly penalizes residents who don't live near a subway stop.

"It's cheaper to go from Hyde Park to Providence than to go from Hyde Park to Ruggles on the commuter rail," Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) said, in filing a formal request for a hearing at which to try to get T officials to attend to explain everything from fares on commuter rail to why the T thinks it deserves a possible fare increase.

In her formal request for a hearing, she added:

At current MBTA service levels, certain buses and subway trains are so crowded during rush hour that many commuters must “go out to go in,” traveling first in the opposite direction from their destination to be able to access transit in the intended direction, yet the MBTA is considering fare increases for the next fiscal year, which would disproportionately burden Boston residents and especially lowincome and working class residents who most need access to affordable, reliable public transit.

"If the MBTA was a business, they'd be out of business," fumed Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), who has been complaining about commuter-rail fares in Hyde Park and Roslindale for years.

"It's absurd that residents of the city of Boston pay different fares to go into town," Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), said. "It's simply unjust," agreed Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large).

Unlike Mayor Walsh, who has been reluctant to raise the issue, councilors said the $85 million a year the city of Boston directly pays the T each year for the privilege of being in the T district should be a lever to get both more equitable fares and better service.

"That's real money," McCarthy said. "The MBTA does not service Boston residents well."

"The city of Boston pays a huge amount of money into the T and deserves to have a seat at the table," agreed Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, Fenway), who added state officials need to start thinking about real investments in the system, not just fare increases and cost cutting. He added, "we had a very different response when Gov. Patrick was there."

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Comments

She's right

"It's cheaper to go from Hyde Park to Providence than to go from Hyde Park to Ruggles on the commuter rail,"

Hyde Park (Zone 1) -> Providence (Zone 8): $6
Hyde Park (Zone 1) -> Ruggles (Zone 1A): $6.25
Ruggles (Zone 1A) -> Providence (Zone 8): $11.50

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Voting is closed. 36

One problem

By on

You are trying to use logic and numbers with the T.

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Voting is closed. 27

This makes sense

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The point of the commuter rail is to get people into and out of Boston from outer areas of the city and surrounding metro area. Thus, the whole reason the train exists is to take you in and out of zone 1A. Those are the fares that should be highest. They are the ones that pay for the train to exist.

The person going from Hyde Park to Providence or Andover to Haverhill are able to use that same train BECAUSE it already exists. The train was already going to Haverhill because people in Haverhill want to go/come from Boston on a daily basis. So, the few people that will go from Andover to Haverhill on that same train cost the train next to nothing to add to what it was already doing. Those fares should be lowest. They are piggy-backing on the needs of the Haverhill-Boston commuters.

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Voting is closed. 22

You're missing the point

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To use your logic, all they're requesting is for Bostonian's to be able to take a commuter rial which already exists in town at a reasonable fare. I live in the city and pay $200 per month to take a line which already exists, that's not reasonable.

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Voting is closed. 21

You're missing his point

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Which is that charging a reduced fare for interzone fares is a way to maximize utilization of the system. For instance, if 10 people who paid $6.25 each to go to Hyde Park got off at their stop, those 10 seats would be empty beyond that point. Reducing the fare outside of the core area, which is where most commuters are headed, provides an inducement for someone to board at Hyde Park (or any stop between there and Providence) to use the service and occupy an otherwise empty spot on the train.

Airlines flying from New York to Hong Kong used to stop at Vancouver. They would sell seats on the New York to Vancouver leg really cheap, since they knew they would have the empty seats on the first leg. Same thing with this.

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Voting is closed. 19

Bingo

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AND they can sell *enough* seats from NYC to HK to make it worth starting in NYC not Vancouver even if they don't have anyone that particular day going to Vancouver from NYC.

The same is true of a train going to Providence. There are enough people commuting at the further stations that they're not just going to start the train closer just because they don't sell any interzone tickets from Hyde Park to Providence that day. Thus, the train already exists and is going from A to B with stops at C along the way. The C to B rate is purely a nominal charge. If *anyone* is getting screwed in this situation, it's the reverse commuter who rides from Hyde Park to Providence in the morning and then back home to Hyde Park each day. They're paying whatever nominal interzone rate they're paying each day and it's costing the MBTA *far* less to take them since they already had to get the train to and from Providence and Boston for all the Boston inbound commuters as it is!

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Voting is closed. 14

You're missing one of the main arguments of the council?

Don't get hung up on the distances being traveled. One issue is that the city is paying more into the system than is appropriate proportionally and the council wants to address that with discounted fares in the city.

True?
False?

If the citizens of Needham are paying less per capita into the system why do they pay basically the same fare on the Needham line as the city riders? Etc...

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Voting is closed. 12

But you SHOULD get hung up on

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But you SHOULD get hung up on distance, because that's how the fares work. They're distance-based. The farther you are from Boston, the more you pay to get into Boston.

If the city council wants discounted fares within the city, they're free to subsidize them beyond their MBTA allocation. There's even precedent for this.

And Needham is paying less per capita into the system because it gets less service - only bus and commuter rail. The allocation takes that into account. Of course Needham should contribute less per capita than Boston, because it doesn't have subway service, just commuter rail and bus.

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Voting is closed. 17

Zone1A

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Should include all of Boston Proper and cost somewhere between a
monthly link $ 85 and a full zone 1 200,25 maybe $125. it would be equitable for everyone i tweeted this earlier to Wu,.

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Voting is closed. 14

T fares

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A zone 1-A pass currently costs 84.50, same as a link pass. FYI

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Voting is closed. 14

I think you mean "City of Boston"

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The term "Boston Proper" is generally used to refer to the areas that were part of Boston in the mid 1800s, before the annexation of Roxbury, Dorchester, Brighton, West Roxbury, Charlestown, and Hyde Park. And not including Southie or Eastie, either. Basically Zip Codes 02108 - 02118, plus a few odd ones like 02199 and 02215.

Ruggles station, for example, is in Roxbury and is not in Boston Proper.

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Voting is closed. 15

Proper use of "Boston Proper".

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Boston Proper" is all of the City of Boston.

Roxbury is part Boston Proper, all the "neighborhoods" are.
"The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 687,584 in 2017. United States Census Bureau. 2017.

Roxbury is not part of "Metro Boston".
The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country.[11] As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States. United States Census Bureau. 2017

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Voting is closed. 12

Bahne's right

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Traditionally "Boston Proper" has meant the original parts of Boston, with maybe the Back Bay and South End.

Roxbury is a part of "Boston," along with the areas that were once the towns of Brighton, Dorchester, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and the City of Charlestown, along with South Boston (which was a part of Dorchester until 1809) and East Boston (which was, well, an island for a long time and still geographically separate from Boston Proper.) Roxbury was annexed to Boston is 1868.

Medford is a part of "Metro Boston," since it is not a part of the City of Boston (in fact being a city in its own right) but is a part of the Boston MSA.

If bobp said that "all of Boston should be" in a zone, he'd be using proper terminology, but he said "Boston Proper," which meant North and South Stations along with Back Bay and maybe Yawkey.

I hope that straightened things out for you.

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Voting is closed. 9

How would this be equitable

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How would this be equitable for everyone? It's actually LESS equitable than the current zone fares, because the city of Boston includes suburbs stretching miles to the southwest, but nothing outside of downtown to the north.

If you're X miles from Boston, you pay Y fare. That's equitable. Reducing fares because someone happens to live on one side of an arbitrary line on the ground is the exact opposite of equitable.

West Roxbury is ~7.5 miles from South Station, and is in Zone 1.
Newtonville is also ~7.5 miles from South Station, and in Zone 1.
Waverly is ~7 miles from North Station, and in Zone 1.
Winchester Center is ~7.5 miles from North Station, and in Zone 1.
The Melroses are 6.5-7.5 miles from North Staiton, and in Zone 1.
Quincy Center is ~7.5 miles from South Station, and in Zone 1.

West Roxbury is not special. It belongs in Zone 1 just like all the other stations that are that same distance from Boston.

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Voting is closed. 17

West Roxbury is Boston

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West Roxbury is special. It is part of Boston and should be connected with the rest of mass transit. The "line" matters. Riverside Station in Newton is over ten miles from Boston and stations from Newton Center outbound are over 7.5 miles from Boston. Yet riders and nearby residents pay only $2.25 to reach the city with more continuous service. In addition, there are great "main street" business in Roslindale, West Roxbury and Hyde Park that don't get the patronage they deserve due to the lack of access to transit. I'd have no qualms about paying more if the trains ran more frequently. The MBTA needs to keep up with the commuting trends of the present day. It's 2018, not 1908. You can't expect people to to incorporate their lives with the rail if it shows up every 1.5 to 2 hours, every two hours on Saturday and no service Sundays. Residents will opt for their cars if it is inconvenient or unreliable.

What's stopping the Needham Line from making some adjustments to one of the shortest lines on the commuter rail system? Since changing infrastructure can be expensive, why not work best with what we have? Additional trains don't have to go all the way to Needham. They could stop at West Roxbury and return to South Station?

There's a growing demand for more regional transit. Connecticut does it well with their Metro-North trains, which run every 30 minutes to and from New York City. West Roxbury, Hyde Park and Roslindale Village shouldn't have to pay-up for the MBTA's lack of vision.

If you want to talk about meeting revenue quotas, start with capturing fares more readily at above ground Green Line stations. Far too many times I've witnessed riders either not pay by entering one of the rear doors or wave their Charlie Card in the air while boarding as if it were a monthly commuter rail pass.

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Voting is closed. 0

Yup

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Too bad West Roxbury didn't want an Orange Line extension back in the 1970s when it was on the table (due to a fear of, well, you know.)

As it is, West Roxbury has the commuter rail, which is priced based on distance. If only West Roxbury had, I don't know, a couple of bus lines that parallel the rail line, things would be easier for the people who live there.

Also, again, you do realize that the T is not a city agency, right?

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Too Bad

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"Too bad West Roxbury didn't want an Orange Line extension back in the 1970s when it was on the table (due to a fear of, well, you know.)"

You are right. That's unfortunate.

"As it is, West Roxbury has the commuter rail, which is priced based on distance. If only West Roxbury had, I don't know, a couple of bus lines that parallel the rail line, things would be easier for the people who live there."

Agreed as well. If not the train, anything that could link the community to the rest of mass transit would be a game changer.

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Voting is closed. 0

Repeating myself; make the T

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Repeating myself; make the T free.
The collection of fares costs a lot: Charlie Cards, turnstiles and their maintenance, security, employees and costs associated with collecting and securing revenue. We should treat it like the public good that it is. Unless you're driving on the Pike, you're not paying tolls to drive within the city. Make taking the T more equitable.

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Voting is closed. 30

Define "free"

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How would the authority make up for the shortfall in revenue?

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Voting is closed. 12

Taxing the suburbs

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Or they can stay in said suburbs all day if they don't want to pay their share.

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Voting is closed. 15

How do you propose doing this?

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What kind of tax would only cover suburbanites? How do you define the suburbs? Would Cambridge also pay this tax? Worcester? Palmer?

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Voting is closed. 13

Simple Math

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The MBTA likely already has data on the origin and destination of average trips on the MBTA - both during rush hours and outside peak hours. It's how they determine scheduling.

The percentage of each trip can then be attributed to a specific municipality - including Boston itself. Not just the origin but also the destination.
Take the total MBTA budget and divide it along those percentages - sending a bill to each government, to the proper amount. ALSO - be sure to send hefty bills to schools whose students use the MBTA like a defacto campus shuttle [looking mostly at you BU].

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Voting is closed. 14

Yeahbut

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How do those municipalities raise the revenue?

Do they use property tax? Are they allowed to increase above and beyond 2.5, and what is the mechanism?

Do they use another tax? Which one? How much?

You haven't solved the revenue problem, you've simply moved it to a jurisdiction that doesn't have the ability to raise the revenue.

You also haven't solved the next problem -- with fareless MBTA, the ridership will change, perhaps dramatically, and differently in different communities. And since people aren't "tapping" in, how do you get good boarding and alighting data?

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Voting is closed. 10

the T is not a public good

Strictly speaking, a "public good" is non-excludable and non-rivalrous, like a lighthouse- you can't control who uses a lighthouse, and if I use it to navigate that doesn't prevent you from using it too. The T is neither of those things.

I'm not arguing against making the T free, and I'm not sure you even meant it that way, but when talking about government funding that's an important distinction.

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Voting is closed. 12

Trains should still have a

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Trains should still have a fare along with any bus that has a dedicated tunnel, but Boston should make buses FREQUENT and FREE.

The only possible way Boston can cut down on traffic is to get people out of cars for short daytime trips. If you could just hop on a bus (that you knew would come by in the next 5-6 mins) and hop back once you did whatever you needed to do, you would choose that rather than driving.

And people who are budget sensitive will start picking a free bus over the train, alleviating congestion there as well.

You can pay for this with a congestion tax in downtown Boston and heavily traveled thoroughfares like Comm Ave, Columbus Ave, etc. during peak daytime hours.

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Voting is closed. 12

What the what?

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"It's absurd that residents of the city of Boston pay different fares to go into town," Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), said. "It's simply unjust," agreed Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large).

Look, I hate a billion things about the MBTA just like we all do...but this is just shoe-on-head stupid.

Different Boston neighborhoods are served by different forms of transportation. Different neighborhoods are different distances from downtown.

It's about 6 miles to Oak Square. They have to take an inner express bus to get downtown (or a local bus and the B line). They pay $5 (or $2.25 for 57/B). They have a 40 minute commute (50+ if they do 57/B)...worse if the Pike/exit is fucked.

It's about 8 miles to Hyde Park. They have to take the commuter rail to get downtown. They pay $6.25. They get a 25 minute commute...on a train with its own right-of-way but has a stricter schedule.

Sure, they pay slightly different rates, but they come from different distances, by different modes, in different travel times, with different comfort levels, with different difficulties...

The idea that they have to pay exactly the same and not doing so is unjust is hilarious.

The city is not a circle. The subway doesn't serve every neighborhood. The train has to go farther to reach Hyde Park (8 mi) than it does to reach Boston Landing (4 mi). Costs are not perfectly linear. It's a great trope, but it's dumb. They should be ashamed for how dumb that is.

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Voting is closed. 30

Not a circle.... yet!

I am intrigued by your proposal for an eminent domain seizure of Brookline and Cabridge

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Voting is closed. 18

In all seriousness

I believe the core of the argument is that Boston pays for more service than it receives. I would like to know if how that is being determined before I decide if I agree with this proposal.

If we are paying more per resident into the system, then it is inequitable and either Boston should get cheaper service or other places should pay more into the system or they should pay higher fares.

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Voting is closed. 10

Not flaming your post but

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Not flaming your post but honest question...

Do you think it is fair that people who go from SS to Needham pay only .50 more than someone going to Rozzie sq? Needham 6.75, Rozzie Sq 6.25. Forest Hills to Rozzie Sq (1 stop) is $6.25! I am not saying Needham should pay more but it feels pretty inequitable.

The trains do not run on time, they are late consistently (I am now on 3 months of my train showing up late at Back Bay). They do not serve some very normal work hours and remember this is only for 5.5 days of service (if you buy the monthly pass). The Needham line only runs part time on Saturday and nothing on Sunday.

I would totally pay more for the CR but what they are doing now seems to be price gouging.

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Voting is closed. 17

Answered in another post above

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See my post above about why the trains exist. Saying it "only costs $0.25 more to go to Needham" (Zone 2) is bunk because the train exists to get all of you into the city because you're beyond the subway line. You're the point for why that train exists. Also, if Roslindale Village went to Zone 1A, then what about the next 3 stops that are all within a mile of you? Why would anyone get on/off at those stops instead of finding a way to Roslindale Village if they're suddenly Zone 1 and not 1A...so are they 1A too? So, then where is Zone 1 on the Needham line? It just suddenly doesn't exist? It's supposed to fit in the short distance between Hersey and West Roxbury?

Basically, if you live within the subway lines, you're in 1A because taking the commuter rail in for you is a matter of location/convenience versus getting to the subway from your particular situation. You're not why the train exists.

If you live outside the subway lines, you're in 1 and beyond because you're why the train exists.

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Voting is closed. 15

The answer is simple

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The T should put all the commuter rail stations more than 6 miles from the terminus into a zone 1B. Charge the riders subway rates, create a special pass the same cost as a subway pass (yes, it's a link pass,) then, at the end of the fiscal year, bill the City of Boston for the lost revenue. Win, win, except when the City cannot afford to pay their bill.

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Voting is closed. 11

link pass

Speaking about link passes, it irritated me years ago when the T abolished the subway pass and lumped them into the link pass, as I never use busses. However, with all the water under the bridge since, involving the T, I just chalk it up to a contribution towards alleviating the T's deficit. Nevertheless, it still doesn't seem fair.

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Voting is closed. 11

What really had to sting

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Those of us who were buying the Combo Pass had a decrease in what we paid each month. That is why I think this whole controversy will just end up bad in the end, because after all the T would have no desire to see their revenue go down. I mean, they have a $100 million deficit this year, and let's not forget the maintenance backlog from years of dealing with increased costs with limits on bringing up the revenue.

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Voting is closed. 10

What's the problem here?

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What's the problem here? Effectively they gave subway+bus privileges to the former subway-only pass. This is analogous to providing free subway-bus transfers if you pay per ride.

The people who got screwed were the riders of the shortest express buses (501, 351, etc). Those used to be covered by the Combo pass, but they saw a big fat increase when they got kicked up to Inner Express along with almost all the longer express routes. Also, there used to be discounted 10-ride tickets for Express Buses, but those went away.

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Voting is closed. 11

the problem

The subway only pass was cheaper than the Combo pass. When they eliminated the subway only pass and created the link pass, it effectually created a large fare increase for those who only ride the subway and never used busses. As I said, though, it's water under the bridge.

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Voting is closed. 9

Ok, before the 2007 fare

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Ok, before the 2007 fare increase, a bus pass was $31, subway was $44, and combo was $71.

After the increase, a bus pass was $40, and a bus+subway link pass was $59.

So subway-only riders saw a 34% increase, while bus-only riders saw a 29% increase. But subway-only riders gained free access to the bus system. And this was part of an overall fare increase (with decreases in certain situations due to a major restructuring). Single subway rides went from $1.25 to $1.70 (with a CharlieCard), a 36% increase, but they gained a free bus transfer.

I also think it's a weird fare scheme that charges different amounts for monthly passes based on which types of vehicles you use for local trips. They tried to make it slightly less weird, with a guideline that each level of pass includes everything covered by cheaper passes.

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Voting is closed. 9

It should'nt be the same price as the Subway

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It cost more to operate and is far most rapid and convenient. I live in the city and pay $200, i personally think $125 is reasonable.

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I don't live in the city

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But I probably live closer in than you do.

The T is not a Boston service - it is a regional one.

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Voting is closed. 13

If Needham went ahead with its GLX

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Then this whole mess would be solved. A GLX extension from the Highland Branch to Needham has been debated for decades. Meanwhile the Needham/Newton I-95 cluster is getting congested. To the point it needs relief. If Needham finally went ahead with its GLX, it eliminates the need to run CR to Needham and frees up the entire West Roxbury/Ros corridor for the Orange Line (no FRA conflict with CR locomotives). In addition, any metro service that provides better transit to VA centers, such as the one in W Rox, becomes a stronger contender for federal dollars.

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Voting is closed. 10

Finally someone gives the rational proposal

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The only hiccup now is that the railroad bridge that spanned Route 128 is gone. They might have to single track some of the Needham Green Line, which is done in other systems across the country (and of course on the Needham Line now) but this would enable the extension of the Orange Line to VFW Parkway.

Of course, these things cost money. 'Nuf said.

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Voting is closed. 8

Yes!

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If the West Roxbury VA had better transit access, the feds could consolidate Boston's two main VA centers. The JP VA is still a mess. If you have a strong VA hub in West Rox, JP closes. Without the federal Heath extension mandate, the T can finally get rid of its last Green Line "streetcar section". I'm sick of seeing parents with strollers almost getting creamed as they scramble to the Green Line in the middle of the road. + With JP VA gone. the T can finally trim the Green Line to the LMA, perhaps put it underground, and build a new terminus station in the middle of the LMA.

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Voting is closed. 8

fix the streets

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The MBTA is going to wait until they have the new fare collection system (2020) before making any changes. There's no reason to do anything before they have the technology to easily implement it.

Given the mediocre frequency, it's not clear to me that lots more people would ride the Needham line even if were the same price as the orange line.

Considering the City has full control over the roads, Wu could get a lot more bang for her buck by getting her colleagues at BTD to implement the Washington St bus lane tomorrow, instead of waiting for a SECOND pilot in May. And add bus lanes elsewhere, and ticket people who park in the ones we have. That would help thousands of bus riders right now.

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Voting is closed. 22

And another thing of stupid...

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"If the MBTA was a business, they'd be out of business," fumed Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), who has been complaining about commuter-rail fares in Hyde Park and Roslindale for years.

It's not a business. It shouldn't be equated to a business. If it "lost money" every year, that would be FINE...IF it were efficient and could meet all of our expectations of a good public transit system in the process, then the city/state/whomever should pay any losses by way of its budget every year.

It is a PUBLIC SERVICE. The State Police cost more money than they make...nobody says "the police would be out of business if they were a business".

The qualities of the MBTA aren't how business-like that it is or isn't.

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Voting is closed. 35

Yeah.

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Yeah.

The T (most of it, anyway) was routes/services run by business that went out of business. If they could have stayed as profitable business propositions, the T as we know it wouldn't need to exist.

That doesn't excuse the T from needing to be cost-effective, etc... Personally, I think a public-agency transportation system ought to be able to meet system-wide operating/maintenance costs from system-wide "farebox" revenue. Subsidies should only be necessary for capital/infrastructure costs.

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Voting is closed. 14

Don't get me wrong

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I think it's high time the City Council and mayor got more in the grill of the State House over the MBTA and transportation spending. It's moronic that the Pike has tolls but 93 in both directions doesn't. It's moronic that the MBTA is at the heart of our economic engine for the state, but the state tries to balance the approval of the Berkshires for what's needed in the city. They even got to use the Pike for nearly 20 years toll-free and griped when the tolls came back only a few years ago.

The state is a microcosm of the country with vast low density tracts of red with densely packed cities of blue. It's time to focus on the blue so the red can still enjoy their subsidized life.

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Voting is closed. 14

The point of the T

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Is to transport people from point A to point B. Price discriminating based on service mode makes it more confusing, and pushes people to slower, more crowded service. If the fare from Hyde Park were $2.25, fewer people would crowd on the 32 and the Orange Line and get a faster trip, while people who are riding the 32 and Orange Line would have better service. The Commuter Rail has some excess capacity, both for standees going a few stops and by adding cars and service (the T wants to run as little service as possible, of course).

And then there are fares which just don't make sense. Let's take a trip from Waltham Square to the Pru. You can do this by:

* $6.75: Commuter Rail to North Station, then Green Line or Orange Line (assuming you have a monthly pass, otherwise $9)
* $5.25: 505 outer express bus
* $4: 55x inner express bus (1-4 minutes slower than the 505)
* $2.25 70 local bus to Red to Green line
* $1.70 70 bus to 1 bus

All of these price points get you the same product: a trip from Waltham to Boston on a vehicle owned and operated by the T (or its contractor) yet all have dramatically different fares. Why? Because we've always done it that way (although fares were simplified in 2007 with the Charlie Card).

A better system would be with distance-based fares based on the distance traveled, with free transfers between modes. Local bus and subway would remain a flat fare, zone B (for Boston). Other fares could be calculated as follows, with express bus fares matching Commuter Rail fares:

Zone B: Commuter Rail in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge which pay a higher share than other cities and towns, as well as any Commuter Rail stations adjacent to rapid transit stations (Malden, Quincy)

Zone 1: Other towns which pay a higher percentage in to the MBTA (the 14 cities and towns originally served by BERy, good history here).

Zone 2: Stations in other cities and towns roughly inside 128 (except north of Salem, where 128 parallels the shore).

Zone 3: Stations between 128 and 495

Zone 4: Stations outside of 495

Zone 5: Stations in Rhode Island

For zones, there would be certain stations in overlapping zones, so, for instance, if the zone boundary was Route 128, stations on either side would be in both zones. i.e. Belmont and Waverley would be zone 1/2, so you'd pay a zone 1 fare going inbound but a zone 2 going out (Melbourne, which has just two zones, does this). The zone fares are themselves an anachronism of the old B&M fare structure which were distance-based fares charged to the mile (alas, the link I have showing a 1971 fare structure is dead, but believe me, it makes today's fare structure look simple).

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Voting is closed. 11

Great idea, but

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Assuming zero sum budgeting, won’t a lot of people get screwed under this scheme. I mean, isn’t there a chance that at the end of all of this the subway would cost $4 a ride.

As for the Waltham example, I looked casually at commute times of different modes a while back. Essentially, you are paying for speed. The train is the quickest, while slogging on the 70 is the slowest mode. I gotta think that people pay for that, and putting the cost of all modes equal would mean, for Councilors Wu and McCarthy, very crowded commuter rail trains.

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Voting is closed. 16

All of these price points get

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All of these price points get you the same product: a trip from Waltham to Boston on a vehicle owned and operated by the T (or its contractor) yet all have dramatically different fares. Why? Because we've always done it that way (although fares were simplified in 2007 with the Charlie Card).

No. Because you AREN'T getting the same product.

All of those modes you mentioned have different levels of comfort and speed. Commuter rail to subway is by far more comfortable, and usually the fastest. Local bus the whole way is the least comfortable, and definitely the slowest.

You pay more for better service. It's that simple. If you think they're equivalent then perhaps you should try only taking local buses everywhere for a month. See how equivalent of service that really is.

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Voting is closed. 17

I ran some numbers

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These are very rough estimates. Taking the difference between monthly pass prices and multiplying by 10 (accounting for the trains being used by some people covered by reduced fares) and multiplying that number by the ridership given in the most recently published MBTA Blue Book, I come up with the 1,548 people who board at zone one stations in Boston spending an extra $1,791,810 in aggregate (1,548 times $1,157.5) and those 621 souls who board at Readville spending and extra $827,482.50 in aggregate (621 times $1332.50) compared with using a Link Pass. That works out to $2,619,292.50, again a rough estimate.

The reasons why proposals such as the ones McCarthy and Wu make me wince is that the $2.6 million has to come from somewhere. Either the T would have to raise fares some other way or the City would have to step up with an increased assessment, which would come from somewhere in the city budget. Perhaps they close a few libraries or a fire station. Maybe cut back on street cleaning. Not for naught, but this has to be factored in.

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Voting is closed. 12

Or the opposite?

I.e. the MBTA budget allocates $2.6m more in funding to city service if that proportionate to the amount Boston pays into the system?

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Voting is closed. 10

Except

Ridership would change if fares changed. More people would take the commuter rail more frequently than they do now if all neighborhoods had an equitable fare. The question is whether it would be so many more people that it ends up being cost-neutral or even increases revenue from people switching from bus or car to commuter rail. We’re trying to gauge that from our survey which asks how many times per month someone rides now, their current mode of transportation for commuting, and how many times they’d ride the commuter rail if fares were equitable. Here’s the survey: bit.ly/MBTACRfares.

Even if there ends up being some lost revenue (which again wouldn’t be as high as simply the number of riders times the decrease in price per ticket), there would be benefit to the transit system from relieving congestion on the orange line and traffic that delays buses.

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Voting is closed. 12

You already have an equitable fare

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I live closer in than Roslindale, but not in Boston. Of course I pay less. Simple.

My city's assessment is less because we get six total buses between 7pm and midnight - counting all lines.

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Voting is closed. 14

Mode would most likely change

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More people would ride the commuter rail and less would ride the bus and Orange Line if all of Boston were in 1A, with perhaps a few Bostonians ditching their car. I don’t see the cost of a zone 2 pass being more than parking downtown.

But good luck convincing the T to lose revenue.

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Voting is closed. 12

Nobody should ever decide

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Nobody should ever decide against taking the commuter rail because of the price. That's why we subsidize mass transit. It should be people's primary choice.

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Voting is closed. 9

Nobody should ever decide

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Nobody should ever decide against taking the commuter rail because of the price. That's why we subsidize mass transit. It should be people's primary choice.

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Voting is closed. 10

How about the school kids

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Now riding the Needham line every day. they have a school pass. why aren't they paying full fare for the convenience of riding the commuter? There are other ways to gain revenue

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Voting is closed. 12

So

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You want them to drive instead?

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It's more efficient to carry

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It's more efficient to carry large groups of people by rail than by bus.

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Voting is closed. 9

Free fare days for the T.

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From time to time a free fare afternoon, day, weekend, week, month or free repeat trip to improve commerce in partnership with corporate partners just like it's done at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Admissions http://www.mfa.org/visit

Marketing/promotion of public transit can be better!

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Voting is closed. 10