Public Transit Public Good coalition: Beacon Hill must seize this moment to address both MBTA safety crisis and transit affordability crisis

BOSTON In response to the recent poll results by MassInc. highlighting widespread public support for a reduced fare for low-income riders, Public Transit Public Good Coalition shared the following statement: 

“The result of this poll shines a spotlight on a fact that MBTA riders and Massachusetts residents have known for years: a reduced fare for MBTA riders is an absolute necessity. As the Massachusetts House of Representatives takes up this critical issue today, we hope that they will vote YES on Amendment #107 to H.4897, which would require the MBTA to offer discounted fares to riders who qualify, including the front-line, low-wage workers who use our public transit system to get to their jobs, to take their children to school and to access essential medical care and services. 

“With the Transportation Bond Bill, our elected leaders on Beacon Hill have the opportunity to address not only the MBTA safety crisis, but also the chronic and often invisible crisis of transit affordability. 

“Inflation is rising dramatically and far too many working families in our cities and communities are being left behind. Massachusetts continues to face a dramatic racial wealth gap, with families of color facing higher levels of unemployment and underemployment, as well as lower wages and food insecurity. The increasing costs of riding the MBTA mean many families are forced to choose between buying a T pass and other urgent needs, including groceries, rent, or utility bills. By listening to the needs of Massachusetts residents today, our legislature can take a huge step towards ensuring transit affordability.”

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About Public Transit Public Good Coalition:
Public Transit Public Good is a partnership of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit. Community Labor United convenes PTPG. Visit PublicTransitPublicGood.org to learn more.

Wu backs low-income MBTA fare

CommonWealth Magazine

Eliminating fares has been one of her top priorities

 

BOSTON MAYOR Michelle Wu, who has made a fare-free MBTA one of her top priorities, on Monday said she supports passage of a law creating a reduced fare for low-income riders of the transit authority.

In remarks at a rally near Park Street Station, Wu didn’t distinguish between her two positions and implied the two could coexist together. Aides said later that the mayor is pursuing both simultaneously.

“The mayor supports fare-free transit and remains committed to her fare-free pilot program on three MBTA bus routes. While the city looks into the feasibility of expanding fare-free transit, low-income fares would give more Boston residents access to affordable and reliable transportation across the MBTA system,” said a statement issued by the mayor’s office.

Read the full article in Commonwealth Magazine.

At Park Street, Mayor Wu supports low-income fare program for the T

The Boston Globe

At Park Street, Mayor Wu supports low-income fare program for the T Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joined transit advocates in downtown Boston Monday to call on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would establish and fund a low-income fare program for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s system. According to advocates, data show that a reduced fare for the MBTA would allow low-income people to afford nearly a third more trips.

“We know that for Boston to be a city for everyone, everyone’s got to be able to get where they need to go,” Wu told the crowd of dozens gathered outside the Park Street T station on the edge of Boston Common.

A bill currently in front of the state House Ways and Means Committee establishing a low-income fare program would “equitably expand the proven affordability benefits of programs like the MBTA Youth Pass and free fare bus pilots, as well as fare free regional transit authorities,” advocates said in a press release. The legislation, authored by state Representative Adrian Madaro of East Boston, previously received a favorable vote by the Legislature’s joint Transportation Committee.

Read the full article in The Boston Globe.

Boston mayor, others rally to push MBTA for low income fare program

Transit advocates, including Boston mayor Michelle Wu, held a rally at the Park Street MBTA stop next to Boston Common on Monday, pushing the MBTA for a low income fare program.

Currently, the MBTA offers discounts to groups like students and seniors, but nothing for those who are in a low income bracket.

“We need the low income there so we do not have to choose between a trip and another basic need,” Kathy Paul with the Massachusetts Senior Action Council said.

Boston mayor Michelle Wu has long pushed for a free transit system.

“Public transit systems across the country right now are having to rethink how they fund these systems because the pay as you go model hasn’t been working to be able to maintain our trains for a long, long time,” Wu said.

Read the full article in WCVB.

 

MBTA riders need a low-income fare, not a new fee

The bay state banner Est 1965

We need a low-income transit fare in Boston.

However, new proposed changes to fare collection would lead us in the opposite direction — away from greater equity and towards a less accessible transportation system, harming the very riders that need it most.

In 2018, the MBTA outsourced fare collection to two billionaire corporations. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration made big promises around equity, saying it would “allow a major customer service improvement to advance in a cost-effective manner.” But last month, as part of this controversial and expensive process, the MBTA proposed a troubling new $3 fee just to obtain an empty Charlie Card. There is, however, no fee charged to those who have the ability to pay with a smart phone app. If the MBTA does not simultaneously reduce the fare for low-income riders, the new fee calls into question the MBTA’s commitment to racial and economic equity. Once again, the MBTA is continuing to perpetuate disparities between the haves and the have-nots: banked vs. un- or under-banked, smartphone vs. flip phone, high-income vs. low-income.

Read the article in The Bay State Banner

A low-income fare would make a real difference

CommonWealth Magazine

Public support is high, need is great

TWO MONTHS before my daughter was due to be born, I developed preeclampsia and had to be rushed from Brockton to Tufts Medical Center to give birth. My baby was in the neonatal intensive care unit for more than a month, and after I was discharged, I came in every day to visit her. The journey back and forth would have been hard for any parent. For me, the financial cost added to the emotional toll. I was 16 and homeless, and it took everything I had to find the daily commuter rail fare to get back and forth each day to see my daughter.

Today, she is nine years old and thriving. We are on solid footing and live together in an apartment in Brockton. But I know that for other people going through a hard time like I was — or just trying to make ends meet — the cost of public transportation is still a barrier. The recent advancement of An Act Relative to Low-Income Fares by the joint transportation committee is a hopeful sign for riders struggling to pay the fares on the commuter rail, MBTA buses and subways, and on regional transportation authority (buses like the BAT here in Brockton.

Read the article in Commonwealth Magazine

Coalition Calls for Swift Action on Low-Income Fares

Charlestown Parriot Bridge

In the wake of the failure by the MBTA board to create a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders, a popular proposal that garnered overwhelming support in public testimony, the Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls for swift action on providing a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders.

Despite long-standing calls from environmental justice communities, labor groups and others for a low-income fare, the MBTA has refused to advance the Low-Income Fare program, citing budgetary constraints. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls on the MBTA to use a portion of the $500 million it recently reallocated for use on a range of one-time uses to fund a low-income fare pilot. We estimate a year-long pilot would cost $42 million dollars.

Read the article in The Charlestown Bridge

Coalition Calls for Swift Action On Low-Income Fares

Revere Journal

In the wake of the failure by the MBTA board to create a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders, a popular proposal that garnered overwhelming support in public testimony, the Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls for swift action on providing a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders.

Despite long-standing calls from environmental justice communities, labor groups and others for a low-income fare, the MBTA has refused to advance the Low-Income Fare program, citing budgetary constraints. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls on the MBTA to use a portion of the $500 million it recently reallocated for use on a range of one-time uses to fund a low-income fare pilot. We estimate a year-long pilot would cost $42 million dollars.

Read the article in The Revere Journal

Coalition Calls for Swift Action on Low-Income Fares

Everett Independent

In the wake of the failure by the MBTA board to create a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders, a popular proposal that garnered overwhelming support in public testimony, the Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls for swift action on providing a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders.

Despite long-standing calls from environmental justice communities, labor groups and others for a low-income fare, the MBTA has refused to advance the Low-Income Fare program, citing budgetary constraints. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls on the MBTA to use a portion of the $500 million it recently reallocated for use on a range of one-time uses to fund a low-income fare pilot. We estimate a year-long pilot would cost $42 million dollars.

Read the article in The Everett Independent

Fare-free bus service extends to three routes, Wu’s climate justice called into question

The daily Free press header

Starting March 1, bus riders boarding routes 23, 28 and 29 will do so free of charge.

Following the successful pilot program on Route 28, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the extension of the fare-free program to apply to two additional routes for two years, adding that it will meet the city’s “climate justice goals.”

“Expanding fare-free transit to Routes 23, 28, 29 will better connect our communities, increase ridership, and ease congestion for all our residents,” Wu said in a Feb. 9 press conference.

Read the article in The Daily Free Press