In Boston, Student MBTA Passes Are an Equity Issue

[From The Huffington Post]

By Ayele Shakur

On Tuesday, February 2, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will hold a Public Hearing to unveil its proposal to hike Student T Pass fares from $26 to $32 per month. It's no secret that the T is suffering from significant financial and structural problems, including a $242 million budget deficit and aging trains that often fail to run in cold and snowy conditions. But many parents are already struggling to send their children to school, and finding the extra money for a fare hike seems like an unfair burden.

 

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MBTA Riders Are Holding Up Their End of the Bargain

[Cross posted from the Frontier Group]

How will we know when the MBTA is fiscally back on track?

In its annual report to the Legislature (PDF), released in December, Governor Charlie Baker’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) proposed a standard: “The FMCB calls for annual growth rate in MBTA operating expenses to align with the annual rate of revenue growth,” the board stated.

Over the last decade and a half, one major source of T revenue has actually grown at a faster rate than operating expenses: transit fares.

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Boston Is Growing Fast. So Is Ridership on the MBTA.

Cross-posted from Frontier Group

Transit ridership grew faster in the Boston area between 2008 and 2014 than in any of America’s other top 10 transit cities. Since 2000, MBTA ridership has grown nearly twice as fast as the region’s population.[1] On some parts of the MBTA system – especially the subway – ridership growth has been even more rapid, resulting in crowding that often makes riding the T an unpleasant experience.

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From Commonwealth Mag: "RTAs taking the wheel"

WHILE GREATER BOSTON AGONIZES over the multibillion-dollar MBTA project to extend the Green Line a mere five miles, another transit tug-of-war is going on across the rest of the state. The Bay State’s regional transit authorities have their own expansion dreams, albeit modest ones. Their dreams don’t involve complex rail construction contracts or splashy station designs; they generally want to add a bus route here or there or launch Sunday service. Mostly, they sense a growing need and want to satisfy it. 

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MBTA Fare Hikes and What You Can Do

As you’ve probably heard by now, the MBTA is planning big fare hikes. On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker’s MBTA Control Board presented two proposals, one of which would raise some fares by over 10%. And on Wednesday, the administration declared that passes were separate than fares and could be raised by any amount. At any time.

But these proposals are still just that: proposals. There’s still time to pressure the Baker administration into scaling back these increases. Here’s what you can do:

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GLX and Public Engagement

The Somerville and Medford communities that are most affected by the Green Line Extension recently submitted a letter to MassDOT Secretary Pollack on the importance of public engagement.  This letter, from the Somerville Transportation Equity PartnershipMedford Green Line Neighborhood AllianceFriends of the Community Path and Green Line Extension Working Group is shared as a guest blog.

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Cutting Transit Service Doesn't Save As Much As You Think

By Tony Dutzik. Originally posted at Frontier Group

Cuts to transit service are among the many options being considered by Gov. Charlie Baker’s Fiscal and Management Control Board as it attempts to restore the MBTA to fiscal and operational health. Late-night service, weekend commuter rail service, and service on up to 28 regular bus lines are all under the budgetary microscope.

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Letter to MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board

Prior to the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board report to the legislature in mid-December, our coalition has submitted a letter on the important issues that the FMCB is considering as it continues its vital oversight and leadership. We applaud the efforts of the Board and staff who support its work, which is providing unprecedented visibility and accountability for the region's largest transit agency as it works on many challenges in finances, operations and maintenance.  

Download our letter

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What's At Stake: How Decreasing Driving Miles in Massachusetts Will Save Lives, Money, Injuries, and the Environment

Driving costs us big – in gas, vehicle maintenance, road repairs, increased pollution, and decreased physical activity. But just how much do these costs add up to? What’s at Stake, a new report from the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) and Transportation for Massachusetts, looks at just that.

Here’s the bottom line: if the Commonwealth promotes smart policies that reduce driving by just one percentage point below official projections, then we could save big – $20.1 billion to be exact. Read the full What's At Stake report and get all the facts.

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How Top Employers Are Getting People To Work

Transportation for Massachusetts recently helped to organize a roundtable presentation and discussion on innovative approaches to workforce transportation, in collaboration with coalition members MassCommute and the 495/MetroWest Partnership and our partners at Transportation for America.  

Attracting and retaining forward-looking companies, and tomorrow's workforce, will require the region to be smart about transportation solutions, competitive with other regions, and committed to the transportation needs of all workers.

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