February 20, 2009
At last week's MBTA Board Meeting the Massachusetts Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, Jr. offered a grim look at where the T is headed. Without both reform and new revenue, the T is destined for "an endless spiral of fare increases and massive service cuts." State lawmakers must act immediately and decisively to avoid:
- Increases in fares of 20 to 25 percent
- 50 percent cuts in evening and weekend subway and commuter rail service
- Elimination of the 20 highest net-cost-per-passenger bus routes
- Elimination of RIDE van service to nine communities
- Along with other consequences that will harm those who rely on the MBTA
Transporting riders to employment and employment opportunities, education, health care, shopping, culture and recreation destinations is vital to keeping Boston's economic engine running. Nearly 35 percent of Boston residents do not own a car, and over 32 percent of Boston residents use the T to get to work. The T also plays a crucial role in reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Service cuts and fare increases will lead to a vicious cycle in which more travelers switch to cars, further reducing transit ridership and revenue, leading to even more drastic reductions in service. Transit dependent communities, like Roxbury and Dorchester, in which many residents lack access to cars, will be disproportionately affected by this spiral of fare increases and service cuts. For a community in which 53 percent of residents lack access to a car (a 1999 figure available in this report), reducing transit-based mobility severs a crucial lifeline for residents.
The T Riders Union and our partners are working to pass legislation that would help reduce the MBTA's massive debt (the largest of any United States transit agency), and avoid these fare hikes and service cuts. To do so, we need your help! See how to contact your state lawmakers about this vital legislation. Stay tuned for updates on our progress!