Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation and former MBTA GM Richard Davey announced last week that a "Modest" fare increase is definitely on the table. This comes after an independent advisory committee explained to MassDOT and the MBTA that they will need over $15 Billion to keep the infrastructure safe and operable.
|Newton Center Station (For Sale)|
Currently the MBTA's day to day operating costs exceed the money they are taking in from their ridership and adverting. The cash strapped organization is also facing a $161 Million shortfall next fiscal year. The T is taking every measure to try and close that gab but a fair increase seems imminent. The T has tried everything, from selling ad space all over the system and their website, to implementing renewable energies, to selling MBTA merchandise and even their properties. At present, the T just put the Newton Center MBTA station, which is located on the Riverside Branch of the Green line, up for sale. The 120 year old building, which is home to a restaurant, is being sold for a minimum of $700,000. According to Acting MBTA GM Jonathan Davis when sold the money received will be reinvested back into the system to try and put a small dent in the organizations $8 billion debt and $4.8 Billion maintenance backlog.
MBTA employees and retirees may also be unhappy with the way the T is trying to find ways to fill its budget gab. Currently on the table is taking away the MBTA retirees free rides for life pass. Negotiations with the MBTA workers union are also currently underway to try and eliminate the current employee free rides for personal use program. Last year the MBTA lost about $4.5 million in revenue because of the free rides of MBTA workers and retirees. This is going to be a tricky process for the T though. The workers union is not going to give up without a fight.
Overall, its hard to say that a fare increase is not going to happen sometime within the next year. This news is not going over well with most of Massachusetts commuters. The fact is, the T is currently one of the cheapest transit systems to ride. We also have not raised fares since 2007 which is unheard of! I feel like that the T definitely needs to increase fairs. If we want to continue to have safe and extensive transit system in this city we are going to have to sit back and just deal with it.