Riders need early morning service and low-income fares

July 7, 2014

TRU surveying in Dudley Square

Over the past six weeks, our T Riders Union (TRU) has surveyed MBTA riders on transit issues and found that an overwhelming majority support increased early morning service and an income-based fare. Both initiatives would benefit low-income workers who hold night or early-morning shifts and rely on public transportation. Hundreds of responses have been collected from Dudley, Ashmont and Mattapan Stations and through our partners at SEIU 615.

Early morning service includes any bus or train trips that start before 6:00 a.m. Currently, there are a small number of buses that run early morning trips, but not nearly enough to get all transit-dependent workers to and from jobs. Over 86 percent of riders surveyed supported early morning service as an affordable way to get to work and back safely.

Over 90 percent of responses favored a reduced fare available to low-income riders who rely on public transportation. Cities like Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, and Tuscon, AZ, have implemented low-income fares to make their systems more accessible. In Portland, the transportation agency distributes passes at little to no cost to local organizations, who then distribute the passes to their members or clients. In San Francisco, all youth whose families have low- to moderate-incomes ride for free. Tuscon transportation riders can apply for a discounted pass if they fall into a certain income range. TRU members are researching ideas from these cities and others to draft a plan that would fit Boston residents’ needs.

The ideas for this survey came from a transit justice planning meeting in April with members and coalition partners. Now, TRU members are developing research and strategies to build a campaign that will secure both early morning service and a low-income fare. Join us at the next TRU Member Meeting on July 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 at ACE to discuss what happens next!