T Ridership Continues Historic Growth, Says MBTA
The T has seen four straight months of ridership numbers over 1.3 million. Meanwhile, state lawmakers approved a $50 million transfer of funds to close the MBTA's budget deficit.
The MBTA has seen the "the longest streak of ridership growth in MBTA history," according to an announcement sent by the transportation authority Thursday.
According to the announcement, 1.341 people in May rode the T's network of trains, buses, boats and other forms transportation.
That's a 2.9 percent increase over the MBTA's ridership in May of 2011, when 1.303 million people rode the T, according to figures provided by the MBTA.
Thursday's announcement said that, through May, the T saw four straight months of ridership numbers over 1.3 million, which it says is another "first" in MBTA history. It also said the T has seen 16 straight months of ridership growth. This growth is measured when you compare ridership numbers from one month to the same month the previous year—ridership has seasonal fluctuations, with numbers typically dipping during the summer months.
Growth amid financial difficulties
The growth in the MBTA's ridership comes amid financial difficulties for the transportation network, whose service area reaches 70 percent of the state's population.
In order to close an approximately $160 million budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, the MBTA was forced to raise fares, cut some services and ask the state legislature to approve a transfer of $50 million from a vehicle-inspection-fees fund to the MBTA.
State lawmakers approved that transfer Thursday, according to the Boston Globe.
However, the MBTA faces another deficit next year, projected to be $100 million, Richard Davey, secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said earlier this month.
As a result, Davey and other state leaders have called on lawmakers to invest in more sustainable methods of funding the MBTA and state's transportation infrastructure.
Meanwhile, a report issued earlier this month said that the T's growth in ridership could overwhelm the aging transportation network by the end of the decade, according to the Globe.