T Riders Union Comments on the MBTA Fare Increase

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors
10 Park Plaza, Room 3830
Boston, MA 02116

April 30, 2014

RE: T Riders Union Comments on MBTA Fare Proposal

Dear Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors:

We are writing on behalf of the T Riders Union (TRU) program at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). ACE is an environmental justice organization based in the Roxbury of Boston with over 600 members; www.ace-ej.org. For over thirteen years TRU has worked with MBTA riders to organize and advocate for an affordable and reliable public transit system for all.

As you well know, public transit is a lifeline for our communities. An investment in public transit and the infrastructure that supports it will grow our state economy, slash our greenhouse gas emissions, and increase access to work, educational, civic, and social opportunities.

TRU DOES NOT SUPPORT:
* MBTA fare increases – For years MBTA riders have paid an unfair debt burden for Big Dig mitigation. It is a state commitment to public transportation that has fallen on the backs of MBTA riders, which has resulted in a vicious cycle of fare increases, service reductions and cuts. Furthermore we believe that fare increases do not have to be every two years, especially if the MBTA is in good financial health. The system must be accessible and affordable, and MBTA riders’ incomes are not necessarily rising every two years.

TRU SUPPORTS:
•,Lowering the RIDE ADA fare to $3
•,Protections for students by expanding the M5 to M7 student pass at the cost of the M5 ($26/month), however this alone does not address the youth rider crisis

It's time to take the state’s investment into transportation and put it to meeting the long standing needs of the community. TRU asks the MBTA to:
•,Include a YouthPass pilot in this budget. This pass/fare category will provide a discounted fare to all young people ages 12-21, regardless of whether or not they are a student, allowing them access to opportunity
•,Commit to piloting the UPass which will increase MBTA revenues and fund the implementation of a YouthPass
•,Work with TRU and our partners to plan for fare structure changes now, and make the process transparent to the public which includes releasing drafts of the proposed fare policy for comment at public meetings and hearings

It’s time to act on behalf of the MBTA riders especially the lower-income people and working-class families that have no other option to get around than public transit. TRU and our partners were a part of getting $150 million in additional revenues dedicated to the MBTA annually through FY18 (July 2017-June 2018) and though it was only half of what is needed we believe the MBTA can do better with what it has. Work with us to create a world-class public transportation system that’s affordable, reliable and accessible for all. If you have any questions or need to reach us, contact Lee Matsueda at lee@ace-ej.org or 617.442.3343 x229.

Thank you. Sincerely,

Louise Baxter,,Stuart Spina,,Lee Matsueda

T Riders Union (TRU)