I wrote an article about the MBTA’s proposed cuts to fares and service. Kind of a big deal, especially when you attend college in a MAJOR COLLEGE CITY.
MBTA proposes service cuts, fare increases
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 15:02
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) last month proposed a mix of fare increases and service reductions in an effort to close a projected $161 million fiscal year 2013 budget deficit.
Officials outlined two scenarios both involving fare increases and service reductions to varying degrees. This could include the discontinuation of the 96 bus route from Davis to Harvard Square that serves Tufts along Boston and College Avenues.
The first proposal would entail a Charlie Card fare increase from $1.25 to $1.75 for a bus ride and from $1.70 to $2.40 for the subway, according to an impact analysis released by the MBTA. In addition to this 43 percent fare increase, the proposal would also eliminate 60 bus routes that do not meet the MBTA’s cost per passenger standards.
The second option would raise fares by 35 percent but involve more service reductions, including the elimination of over 200 bus routes. The 96 bus route, in addition to the 80 and 90 buses which service the area surrounding the Tufts campus, would be among those cut routes.
Both options would eliminate all ferry routes and end commuter rail service after 10 p.m.
Despite these proposed changes, the MBTA will go ahead with its plans to extend the Green Line, including a proposed station near Tufts, according to Jonathan Davis, interim general manager of the MBTA. Davis emphasized on Wednesday at a public meeting in Salem that theses proposed changes are a “one-year solution.”
The meeting was one of a series that the MBTA has organized in the Boston area to seek feedback on the proposals in an effort to be more transparent. These meetings have drawn large and vocal crowds, with the former reaching an attendance of over 200 individuals.
A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Somerville High School auditorium.
“They have already held a few meetings that have drawn large crowds,” Director of Community Relations Barbara Rubel told the Daily in an email. “Everyone is pleading with the T to keep their routes. Many people in Medford are very concerned about this.”
In a release issued by the MBTA, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey expressed his belief that this collaborative process will produce a beneficial outcome.
“I am confident [that] with the public’s involvement in this process we can review the study, propose recommendations and together generate new revenue to continue the progress the MBTA has made in serving its customers,” Davey said in the statement.
Thomas Goodall, Medford resident and 96 bus driver, expressed his concern about the fact that the MBTA was willing to inconvenience commuters to save its budget.
“I pick up people daily who, if it weren’t for the 96 bus, would have no access to public transportation and then can’t get to work,” Goodall said. “I don’t even want to think about what would happen to my job, but I’ll have to consider that now.”
The service discontinuations could affect students, as well as faculty and staff, who commute from home.
Immacula Desroses, a Dining Services employee in Hodgdon Good-to-Go, occasionally takes the 96 bus to work and said that the service disruption would be an inconvenience.
“The 94 goes to Davis, but what of the people who need to go between? For other people, it’s not convenient for them,” she said, referencing other faculty and staff who regularly use the bus as an alternative to car transportation. “For me, like you, if you come from Davis to here, it’s fine on the 94, but other people are going further or to Harvard Square.”
Patricia Smith, a Tufts faculty member who takes the 96 bus, said that the route’s discontinuation would pose difficulties for surrounding communities.
“The 96 is a more streamlined version of the Davis Square T-stop, I think,” Smith said. “It serves the communities that enter Davis Square, Harvard Square and Kendall/MIT. It seems the MBTA is shooting itself in the foot with this potential fare increase and service reductions.”
Smith noted that the proposed cuts would greatly limit her daughter’s — a Brandeis student — access to Boston by eliminating several bus routes that traverse the Brandeis campus.
“I think MBTA officials underestimate the overall connectedness of the city and the dependence on public transit,” Smith said. “People choose where to live based on bus stops and T stops and, whichever way they slice it, there will be frustration on both sides.”