MBTA leadership and Gov. Baker:
The MBTA is proposing to increase fares by an average of 6.3 percent starting on July 1, 2019. The biased study funded by the MBTA to promote this fare increase clearly shows the proposed fare changes would increase annual revenue by $32.1 million, and by doing decrease annual unlinked passenger trips by 4.8 million riders.
It is irresponsible to push 18,500 more cars on an average weekday onto the already overburdened, outdated, and poorly maintained roadways of the Commonwealth. It is also clearly at odds with all the green initiatives this administration plays lip service to. I would have loved to provide these comments in a public meeting. However the MBTA continues to ignore the riders on the Fitchburg and Lowell lines west of Zone 3 and conveniently no meetings were scheduled in the northwest suburbs. The only time we are not ignored is when you raise fares which fall heavily on the riders west of Zone 3. The highways north and west of Route 128, including Routes 2 and 3N, and Interstates 93 and 495, and all the state secondary roads in the area are struggling under the pressure of increased vehicle traffic due in part to the out of reach costs of mass transit.
Someone making $13 an hour at a job inside the Route 128 beltway cannot afford to lose two hours wages each day just to get to work. Therefore, they drive along with all the other people in their caste for half the cost of riding the commuter rail. The MBTA commuter rail is the second highest-cost mass transit option per mile in the country.
We do not need higher fares. We need increased ridership that will bring even more revenue.
The MBTA needs to reduce the fares and work with cities, towns, businesses, and the public to make the use of commuter rail an option that the working class views as a viable choice. The current policy promoted by the governor, to provide an elite commuting option to the wealthiest residents of the state, is not working. The MBTA needs to reduce fares, not increase them, and find creative ways to promote ridership as a cost-effective and sustainable choice.