Your Thoughts: Fare Hikes, Maybe Bus Eliminations Coming to Somerville
Under one proposal, Somerville could lose some bus service. What do you think of the MBTA's plans close a $161 million budget deficit?
With a projected $161 million deficit for the next fiscal year, the MBTA on Tuesday announced plans to raise fares and cut services to deal with the budget shortfall.
The transit authority presented two proposals, both of which would raise the cost of taking the T for passengers while reducing transit options.
One of the proposals, called "scenario 1" in a report issued by the MBTA, relies more heavily on fare increases to balance the budget, while the other proposal, "scenario 2," relies more on cuts to service—both proposals increase fares and cut service to some degree.
Under "scenario 2," Somerville would face service cuts to at least six bus lines.
Cuts to bus service in Somerville
In one of the scenarios designed to close the transit authority's budget shortfall—"scenario 2"—the MBTA would cut 101 weekday bus routes, 69 Saturday routes and 50 Sunday bus routes.
As part of that proposal, the MBTA would make cuts and reductions to at least six bus routes that serve Somerville:
Bus 80: Serves Tufts University, Ball Square, Winter Hill, and McGrath Highway. Under the MBTA's "scenario 2," this route would be eliminated.
Bus 85: Serves Spring Hill and Union Square in Somerville on its way to Kendall/MIT Station. Under the MBTA's "scenario 2," this route would be eliminated on weekdays.
Bus 90: Serves Davis Square, Highland Avenue and East Somerville on its way to Sullivan Station and Wellington Station. Under "scenario 2," this route would be completely eliminated.
Bus 92: Serves the Assembly Square Mall area and heads into downtown Boston. Under "scenario 2," service would be eliminated on weekdays and Saturday.
Bus 95: Serves the Ten Hills neighborhood along Mystic Avenue and connects Medford to Sullivan Station. Under the proposal, this route would be eliminated.
Bus 96: Serves Tufts University, College Avenue and Davis Square on its way to Harvard Square. Under the proposal, this route would be eliminated.
Under the MBTA's "scenario 1," Somerville would not face reductions to bus service.
Other service cuts
The MBTA would not make significant cuts to subway service, although it calls for the elimination of weekend service on the Green Line's E branch and on the Mattapan High-Speed Line.
Under both of the scenarios presented by the transit authority, the MBTA would eliminate Commuter Rail service on weekends and on weeknights after 10 p.m. Ferry service would also be eliminated.
One thing is certain: Passengers will have to pay more to ride the T in the upcoming year. Fare increases are part of both scenarios proposed by the MBTA.
At the moment, it costs $1.50 to ride a bus and $2 to ride the subway with a Charlie Ticket, designed for infrequent users of the T. For those with Charlie Card, designed for those who ride the T regularly, it costs $1.25 to ride the bus and $1.70 to ride the subway.
A monthly bus pass costs $40, and a Link Pass, which allows holders to ride the bus and subway, costs $59.
Fares under the MBTA's "scenario 1" would be as follows:
- Bus: $2.25 with Charlie Ticket, $1.75 with Charlie Card
- Subway: $3 with Charlie Ticket, $2.40 with Charlie Card
- Bus pass: $55
- Link Pass: $80
Fares under the MBTA's "scenario 2" would be as follows:
- Bus: $2 with Charlie Ticket, $1.50 with Charlie Card
- Subway: $3 with Charlie Ticket, $2.25 with Charlie Card
- Bus pass: $48
- Link Pass: $78
Seniors and students
In addition, fares for seniors and students also increase under both proposals. Monthly passes for students and seniors would be $40 under "scenario 1" and $39 under "scenario 2." They're currently $20.
For seniors, riding the bus currently costs $0.40. Under "scenario 1," that price would jump to $1.10, and under "scenario 2" it would cost $0.75. The cost of the subway is currently $0.60 for seniors. It would be $1.50 under "scenario 1" and $1.10 under "scenario 2."
Students currently pay $0.60 to ride the bus and $0.85 for the subway. Under "scenario 1," those numbers would be $1.10 and $1.50, respectively. Under "scenario 2," the costs would be $0.75 and $1.10.
The MBTA is seeking feedback on its proposals. In Somerville, a public meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Somerville High School auditorium.