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Council to look at requiring Boston employers to let workers buy T passes as a pre-tax benefit

The Boston City Council today agreed with a request from Councilor Lydia Edwards (East Boston, Charlestown, North End) to look at an ordinance under which local employers would be mandated to let their employees buy monthly MBTA passes as a pre-tax benefit, which would save workers some money and increase T use at a time when local roads are increasingly choked with people driving in from their suburban homes now that they've been priced out of the city.

Edwards said a number of cities, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Seattle, already have such ordinances - as does the entire state of New Jersey.

Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) backed the idea, but said she will continue to work to make it obsolete by making the T free altogether.

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Comments

The problem with this idea is T.

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Voting closed 34

MBTA management ignores the state house they must chuckle when they hear from the city council.

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Voting closed 10

The MBTA doesn't have to listen or do anything. They already have a program for employers to offer T passes, Boston is considering making it mandatory for employers to participate. (Perq is a hip new name for it but it looks like this is how employer-provided T passes have worked for decades.)

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Voting closed 7

well, no, this is an existing program the MBTA has - state employees, for example, get pre-tax income taken out for purchase of a t pass. what the council wants to do is force ALL companies operating within the city to participate in the program.

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Voting closed 8

I want a T Pass
Without the tax
I wait for the train
What a pain
Fix it, you dumb ass

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Voting closed 18

...which would save workers some money and increase T use at a time when local roads are increasingly choked with people driving in from their suburban homes now that they've been priced out of the city.

Even pre-tax, it was still more affordable for me to drive from Metro-West into Alewife, park, then take the red line than it was to get a monthly commuter rail pass and parking pass and commute in that way. Until the MBTA is made more affordable and actually reliable, driving is far preferable.

The MBTA isn't just a joke at this point, it's an embarrassment.

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Voting closed 22

No, we're not, since you're talking about the Commuter Rail, which is run and maintained by Keolis, a private contractor for the state. The benefits in question would apply to monthly T passes, which are about $90. Commuter Rail passes, as you know, are much more expensive and usually aren't covered under tax-free transit offers.

Also, if you used to drive to Alewife and then park to take the Red Line, you would have been a beneficiary of this proposal. And apparently you were still willing to take the T from Alewife into the city despite it being an unreliable embarrassment..?

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Voting closed 18

I don't participate, but people at my job can buy pre-tax T passes including all the zoned commuter rail passes.

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Voting closed 21

Wow. How did you fit so many incorrect facts into one post?

Keolis is a contractor for the T.

Pre-tax transit benefits apply to any transit system. But the Commuter Rail is part of the T in any case.

The problem is the Federal limit on pre-tax transit is $270 per month, and Commuter Rail fares blow that away starting with zone 4.

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Voting closed 21

This is a no-brainer. The employer doesn't have to contribute anything to the transit pass (though it's nice if they do). The employer and employee both get a tax break. And it's a benefit that encourages employees to work there. The only downside is the administrative cost/hassle.

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Voting closed 25

This won’t happen unless James Rooney of the Boston Chamber agrees. So highly unlikely. Gas tax yes, but no on placing a burden city employers.

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Voting closed 6

Because he's a corrupt guy who only cares about accruing personal wealth.

Chamber of commerces in general are terrible things. I've had to deal with them with various businesses and it's always needless gate keeping at the local level with full throated Trumpism at the national level. They should be disregarded as a rule and it's very telling that this bozo is the leader of the Boston Chamber.

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Voting closed 5

Why doesn't the City Council pass an ordinance taxing employer-provided parking? For that matter, tax public parking as well.

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Voting closed 3