February 2, 2016
Join our T Riders Union (TRU) tonight for the MBTA's fare increase hearing at the Transportation Building and on February 10 for the meeting in Roxbury! We are organizing for an equitably funded transit system and a moratorium on fare hikes and service cuts.
The Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), appointed to oversee the MBTA by Governor Baker, will be voting on two fare increase proposals in the next couple months. These plans will raise fares by an (unlawful) average of 6.71 or 9.77 percent, respectively bringing in an additional $33.2 million or $49.4 million.
Last year, Baker proposed abolishing the fare cap from our 2013 transportation bill that limits fare hikes to five percent every two years. This year, he, along with some legislators and transit officials, has shamelessly twisted the law to allow for a 10 percent increase, including substantially higher fares on the people least able to afford them - youth, seniors and disabled people.
In an additional show of disrespect to riders, the administration has deliberately misrepresented monthly passes as being different from fares to exempt them from the cap. Under this interpretation, passes will be subject to raises of any amount at any time.
Fares on seniors and THE RIDE could be raised as much as 10.3 percent. Monthly passes for the bus - the mode used most by low-income riders - could be hiked by 19.5 percent. Worst of all, the cost for Student Passes (and our Youth Pass) is the most extreme of any increase, at 23.1 percent.
The FMCB claims that fare hikes are the last option and the only way to balance the budget. But we have identified a number of ways to cut costs and increase revenue without raising fares, using the T's own numbers and Baker's promised $187 million in state funding that has been hidden from the public.
The 2013 Transportation Act allocated $600 million in funding to the MBTA over five years. Of that, $261 was promised for the T's upcoming 2016-2017 fiscal year budget, which Baker has cut by $74 million. This cut would more than cover the cost of the highest fare hike proposal. (This comes after Baker's previous cuts of $15 million from the MBTA's 2015-2016 budget and $14 million from the 2014-2015 budget.)
Our elected officials need to release the full $261 million allocated to the MBTA, which will balance the budget without further damage to service and ridership. We also need long-term investment to fully fund the MBTA as a public good and bring our broken-down equipment into a state of good repair.
It's time to stop this attack on riders! You can help by:
- Signing our petition
- Attending and testifying at upcoming fare increase hearings and meetings
- Submitting your comments on fare hikes online
- Joining us at our next TRU Member Meeting
- Making a donation to support this organizing
Thank you for your support of transit justice!