MBTA fare cap: settled, at last

July 27, 2016

The Governor recently signed House Bill 4492, which ensures that no individual MBTA fare will increase by more than 7%, and fare increases are limited to once every two years. This new law, passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, covers every fare product, including monthly passes.

While 7% is higher than the 5% cap that was widely accepted to be the law as part of the 2013 Transportation Finance Act, MBTA riders now have a guarantee that fares will not increase by more than 7%. Fare increases greater than 7% have occurred several times since 2000.

Modest and predictable fare increases are important to maintain ridership, which in turn has an impact on the regional economy and on the environment. Predictable fare hikes allow riders to plan ahead, and are particularly important to riders with low and fixed incomes.

We thank the Senate, which first attached fare cap language to the state budget bill in May, and has consistently supported modest and predictable MBTA fares. We thank the House, which supported the compromise 7% cap, and strongly reiterated its support for the fare cap after the Governor sent the language back with an amendment. And we thank the Governor for signing this bill. The many citizens, advocacy groups, and municipal, community and business leaders who have supported modest and responsible fare increases as good public policy also deserve recognition.

Now that this issue has been resolved by lawmakers, the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition looks forward to continued engagement on the important, and unfinished business of improving our statewide transportation system for all residents and in all communities.


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