On Jan. 27, 2016 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation had a meeting to discuss fare raises and the commuter rail. The event was hosted in the Jenkins Auditorium at Malden High School.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has thought of three options regarding the hike in prices. Their first option would be to raise the fare by 6.71% and the second would be to raise it by 9.77 %. The third option would be something entirely different. The final decision will be decided in March but will not come into effect until July.

The night started off with the Chief Administrator of the MBTA, Brian Shortsleeve

speaking. He started off on the topic of fares, explaining that “the increase is a last resort.” He continued to talk about cost control. In the past fares have been increased unpredictably and sometimes by a lot. Now the MBTA is scheduled to have modest and predictable fare changes every two years by no more than 10%.

Shortsleeve added that the Fiscal and Management Control Board is working hard to control costs and will continue to do so even after the fare increase. They have already started looking into ways to cut costs, including reducing overtime.

Then Shortsleeve addressed improving the MBTA’s service. He mentioned that in order to fix rails, signals, buses, and any equipment related to public transportation, the MBTA needs income and they are working hard to get it. An increase in the fare will be put towards better maintenance.

Next, he went into specific price changes. Shortsleeve compared the two different options to the audience. The student and senior passes would be raised from 80 to 85 cents no matter which plan is put into effect. For others with option one, the passes could go up by 10 cents and with option two, up by 25 cents.

Representatives were then asked to speak. Among them was Jason Lewis, the Massachusetts state senator. When he spoke about the fares he mentioned that it was “hard enough for many riders to afford the fares as it is.” He also mentioned that last time there was an increase in fare there was a decrease in riders which could potentially happen again considering the low gas prices.

At the end of the night members of the community were allowed to go up and give their own opinions. Many brought up the same idea of looking into what the MBTA can do internally instead of raising the prices first. One of the other main topics brought up was that fare boxes sometimes do not work which lowers the income. Shortsleeve replied that people can easily get through the fare boxes at train stations since most stations do not have employees to make sure that they pay.

One of the speakers, David A. Senatillaka, brought up that 30% of what the MBTA gets goes towards debt that they have made for themselves. Another speaker, Joe Ballen, explained that runs a multi-million dollar company and when he loses money he does “not make [his] workers pay for [his] mistakes and the MBTA should not do that to [riders] either.”

The night closed off with Shortsleeve reminding the audience that there are still plenty of meetings to be had before the decision in March and that the costs will be initiated starting July first.

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One thought on “MBTA Discusses Fare Raises

  1. Once again up go the fares and service DOES NOT improve. I understand that due to price of gas and much needed infrastructure the T feels it needs to increase fares. However, when I learn on the news that these folks are being paid overtime because of a 10 hour work rule, then my answer is I’m truly sorry but I cannot support ANY plan that calls for a cost of increase in fares.

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