BOSTON (STATE HOUSE) – T fares could rise between 4.5 and 9.7 percent system-wide under four proposals recommended to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board by transit officials on Monday.
The proposals could boost MBTA revenues $23.4 million to $49.4 million, according to a presentation made by MBTA staff. The hikes would likely go into effect July 1 after an expected March vote by the control board.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said she wanted to present a menu of options – which include some options to increase monthly subway passes at a greater rate than single fares. The control board could also choose a “hybrid” after hearing from the public, Pollack said.
While acknowledging that T riders “deserve better service,” Pollack told reporters that the fare increases represent “a reasonable contribution to ask our riders to make so that we can improve their service.”
“We gotta get out of the business of going to the Legislature every year and asking them for increasingly large sums of money to plug the operating budget deficit because we’re not managing the operating budget,” Pollack said.
MBTA riders endured numerous delays and cancellations last winter leaving them stranded on platforms or searching for alternate transportation, and have experienced disrupted service in recent days.
The projected fiscal 2017 budget deficit at the T is $242 million, and MBTA officials have cobbled together a range of options to close that, including the fare increases.
The first fare option, which would aim for a roughly 5 percent fare increase system-wide, would not reduce the deficit, according the MBTA presentation. Option B, which would increase single-ride fares by about 5 percent and further increase the prices of subway and bus passes – for an average hike of 6.71 percent – would contribute about $10 million toward reducing the deficit, according to the T.
The options T leadership put before the control board would not reduce the discount for commuter rail passes, Pollack said. Commuter rail passes can far exceed the cost of the $75 subway pass and they are generally used only twice a day during the workweek.
The third option would increase fares an average of 10 percent, putting $20 million towards the budget hole. The final option – and the most expensive one for riders – would increase single-ride fares an average of about 10 percent and further hike pass prices, decreasing the deficit by about $26 million.
For single-ride trips using a Charlie Card, bus or subway rides could go up 10 to 15 cents, according to the T’s proposals to the control board. The LinkPass for subway and bus could rise nearly $10 to $84.50 under the most expensive scenario.
Copyright 2016 State House News Service