POLL: MBTA's Fare and Service Changes in Somerville
Are you happy with the MBTA's recommendations for fare hikes and service changes?
On Wednesday, the MBTA and Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced recommendations for closing a $161 million budget gap in fiscal year 2013, which begins on July 1.
The recommendation uses fare increases, one-time payments from the state, administrative changes and some service cuts and reductions to balance the budget.
In January, the MBTA had proposed two different scenarios for closing the budget gap, and those scenarios called for even more fare increases and service cuts.
Before issuing its recommendations Wednesday, MassDOT solicited feedback from the public, and according to a MassDOT report, the transit authority held 25 meetings and 6 public hearings; 5,800 people attended the gatherings, 1800 people spoke, and 5800 people wrote emails.
Now that the MBTA has made its recommendation, what do you think?
As part of the final recommendation, T riders will pay, on average, 23 percent more for fares. At the same time, reductions and cuts to service were not as deep as those proposed in January's scenarios. Somerville walked away from the recommendation relatively unscathed.
According to the MassDOT report:
- 80 percent of people who spoke and wrote were opposed to service reductions
- 24 percent were opposed to fare increases
- 11 percent of people who spoke and wrote supported fare increases
It seems most people wanted to save service and there was more support for raising fares.
At the same time, some think the 23 percent fare increase is too much. For instance, Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, said in a statement, "[T]he 23 percent fare increase proposed today is still a significant increase. It will cut daily ridership by over 5 percent at a time when we should be encouraging more people to use public transit."