By John Lynds
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board approved several fare changes that translate into a system-wide average increase is approximately 9.3 percent.
Following a series of community meetings MBTA Director of Operations Charles Plank heard from residents on how the now approved fare increase would affect working people.
The fare increase coupled with the T’s plan to stop late night train service has proven to be a bone of contention among residents who rely on T service travel to and from Downtown.
Beginning in July the cost of a subway ride using a CharlieCard will increase from $2.10 to $2.25, and bus rides paid for with CharlieCards will rise from $1.60 to $1.70. Monthly passes for bus and subway riders will go from $75 to $84.50. Most commuter rail monthly passes will jump by 10 percent, and the increase for individual commuter rail rides will range from 7.1 to 10 percent depending on distance traveled according to the MBTA.
Residents joined a growing chorus of those opposed to the MBTA’s fare increase. President and CEO of ABCD who runs anti-poverty, fuel assistance and other social programs for South End and Fenway’s low-income residents has long opposed a fare increase.
Drew has said, “There are an awful lot of people who totally depend on that system, and their lives depend on that system because they can lose their jobs and everything else.”
Drew has argued that a fare hike would hurt the poor the most, a vulnerable population were every cent counts towards food, medications, transit to and from doctors appoints and work.
Drew has also been advocating for the MBTA to implement a discount program for those who have the hardest times paying not only current MBTA fares but the future increases.
According to the MBTA the increases will take effect July 1.
While the overall increase would amount to 9.3 percent, the MBTA plans to decrease by ten cents the price paid by those who pay with cash for a single bus ride, expanding the free transfer program so that the MBTA transfer policy will allow transfer from bus to rail to bus, setting a student pass rate of $30-per-month and allowing use of the pass by students 12 months out of the year.
There would also be a moratorium on future fare increases for two-and-a-half years.
The board also established a “lock-box” to guarantee that any revenue from the increase can only be used to improve service.