Transit riders, workers, and advocates respond to the FTA’s report on the MBTA

Transit riders, workers, and advocates respond to the FTA’s report on the MBTA - K19I: CS: Community Labor United (CLU): Public Transit Public Good

BOSTON – In response to the recent Safety Management Inspection final report released by the Federal Transit Administration, workers and riders of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition shared the following statement:

“The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) report released today is a clear indictment of Governor Baker’s approach to the MBTA and the Department of Public Utilities tasked with overseeing transit safety. We’ve seen too many years of Baker’s MBTA ignoring needed maintenance, starving operations of needed funds, and putting workers and riders at risk. For safe and reliable service moving forward – and to ensure the MBTA can hire the workers it needs – we must ensure the MBTA has an adequate operating budget, prioritizes safety, and listens to workers and riders.”

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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. 

Transit riders and workers demand accountability, issue plan for “getting on board” a better MBTA

Public Transit Public Good coalition lays out principles to fix troubled public transit system, maintain local control

View the policy statement here.

BOSTON — Transit riders and workers are demanding fundamental changes to the failing MBTA system, laying out a plan to fix the region’s problem-plagued public transportation system, as the MBTA prepares to shut down the entire Orange Line for a full month.

“We are beyond the crisis point with public transit in Massachusetts, but this is also a moment when we must work together to correct the failures of the past, and deliver on one of the government’s core functions: public services,” said Mike Vartabedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 15 and Co-Chair of Public Transit Public Good. “Decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance, as well as eight years of Governor Baker’s privatization attempts and crippling understaffing have proven disastrous. We’ve seen service cuts, harmful disruptions, deaths, runaway trains, fires, and countless other disasters and near-disasters. It’s time to right this public service once and for all — while we still have the chance.” The Coalition will deliver a policy statement to the City of Boston, the MBTA, and other stakeholders, demanding accountability and action.

The statement echoed recent calls from elected officials and transit advocates for suspending the collection of fares during the Orange Line shut-down, and called on employers in the public and private sectors to waive penalties for tardiness during the month of repairs. “Municipalities can lead by protecting workers who may not be able to get to work on time because of MBTA delays,” said Darlene Lombos, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC). “Cities and towns can waive their own penalties for tardiness, and can call on major employers to do the same.”

Beyond the Orange and Green Line service suspensions, the Coalition calls for maintaining local control even as the Federal Transit Administration safety directives have forced a reckoning with the system’s safety. “A federal takeover of the system is not the answer,” said Lee Matsueda, Executive Director of Community Labor United. “Receivership would mean decision-makers were even more removed from the people at the heart of the system. What we need is the opposite – to take real leadership from the workers and riders who keep the MBTA running.”

“Folks who rely on buses and trains to get around are entitled to inform and decide the direction of the MBTA,” said Sam Montaño, Director of Organizing for GreenRoots, “particularly elderly folks, people with disabilities and riders from environmental justice communities who face high levels of pollution and public health disparities from environmental impacts. The MBTA should be prioritizing the voices of those most impacted in addition to workers, who have an expert understanding of the system they operate and maintain.”

The coalition has called for an increase in funding to carry out MBTA repairs, safety improvements, hiring, operations, and maintenance, from sources including federal infrastructure funds and the Massachusetts budget. Coalition members are backing Question 1 – the Fair Share Amendment – which would create a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million and dedicate those funds to transportation and public education.

Members of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition are also calling for protections against harmful privatization deals and a commitment to low-income fares, which are supported by 84% of Massachusetts residents in a recent survey.

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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.

MBTA riders and workers vow to continue the fight for a low-income fare after the Legislature did not include the popular measure in bond bill sent to Gov.

MBTA riders and workers vow to continue the fight for  a low-income fare after the Legislature did not include the popular measure in bond bill sent to Gov.

BOSTON — In response to the recent decision by Massachusetts state legislators to exclude a low-income fare from the Transportation Bond Bill, MBTA riders and workers of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition shared the following statement:

“MBTA riders desperately need a public transit system that is affordable and equitable. Yet, our elected leaders missed an opportunity to advance an effective and popular policy solution that would increase affordability for working families and communities of color when they failed to include a low-income fare measure in the Transportation Bond Bill. We are grateful to champions of transit affordability in both the Senate and the House, but are deeply disappointed that a low-income fare was not included in this important legislation. 

Our state is facing a transit crisis, but the fight for transit affordability is not over. We know that 84% of Massachusetts residents support a fare reduction for families who rely on public transit but have limited resources to pay for the MBTA. We will continue to fight for reduced fares for low-income riders, including calling on our next governor to ensure the MBTA swiftly adopts this common-sense measure.”

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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.

Advocates Lobby Senate for Low-Income Fares, E-Bikes In Transportation Bond Bill

On Thursday, the Massachusetts state Senate will debate its version of a multi-billion dollar transportation bond bill, based on legislation that passed in the House of Representatives at the end of June.

The state’s bond bill authorizes public borrowing for new infrastructure projects, with the expectation that federal grants and other funds will reimburse the commonwealth after projects go under construction.

Read the full article in STREETSBLOG.

T riders push for lower fares for low earners

MBTA workers joined public transit riders Tuesday in a rally calling for lawmakers to make the T cheaper for low-income residents.

The latest: Around 50 demonstrators took a giant CharlieCard adorned with over 1,000 signatures as a petition into the State House to deliver to the offices of legislative leaders and Gov. Charlie Baker.

Read the full article in Axios.

Sen. Lydia Edwards, Rep. Adrian Madaro, riders and transit workers demand affordability and equity for all: Pass low-income fare legislation now!

Sen. Lydia Edwards, Rep. Adrian Madaro, riders and transit workers demand affordability and equity for all: Pass low-income fare legislation now!

Riders and workers deliver 1,000+ petition signatures to Governor, Senate leadership demanding affordability, equity on the MBTA

BOSTON – Riders and transit workers fed up with the high cost of riding the MBTA called on the Legislature Tuesday to take urgent action to pass a low-income fare provision, and on Governor Baker to sign it into law.

“The best thing we can do is to make sure there is a low-income fare,” said Senator Lydia Edwards. “The only way we can honestly make sure that we’re representing everybody in the Commonwealth – and if you look at this wonderful, beautiful tapestry of individuals you see all colors, you see workers, you see professionals, you see people in unions, you see working people trying their best to make sure they represent everyone here. We are the Commonwealth. This is who we are. This is who we represent. And, this is the right thing to do right now.”

The Public Transit Public Good Coalition, representing transit workers and riders across Massachusetts, held a press conference at the State House to call on the Legislature and Governor Baker to sign low-income fare provisions into law to improve equity at the MBTA. The group also entered the State House and presented a giant CharlieCard with more than 1,000 petition signatures to Speaker of the House Ron Mariano, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Governor Baker.

“When you’re in a family of low-wage workers, every penny, every cent counts because a $90 monthly pass is a lot for my family. And even for a bus card, that’s $50, but that’s still a lot,” said Huiquin Huang, of the Chinese Progressive Association. “So what I do is that sometimes I walk 15 minutes to the bus so that I can save 70 cents because that 70 cents will go to my next ride for the bus. And this is how I make sure that we can put food on the table.”

“Whether you ride the subway every day or not, we’re all in this together. Boston has long been a leader in transit, the first subway system in North America opened here in 1897. It’s once again time for us to lead by working to make transit more accessible and equitable,” said Jim Evers, President of Carmen’s Union Local 589. “Low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately rely on public transportation to get where they need to go. We cannot meaningfully uplift these communities without adequate support and funding for our MBTA system. Low-income fares are just one small step we can take to make the system more fair and equitable.” 

“I remain hopeful and look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues in the legislature, as well as with dedicated advocates, many of whom are behind me, the labor groups, and so many others here this afternoon who have worked tirelessly to advance this issue and get us where we are today. But we have more work to do, to get this bill passed,” said Representative Adrian Madaro.

Historically, service cuts by MBTA management have hit workers and riders hardest. For years, working people and communities of color have carried a disproportionate burden of the cost of running the MBTA, and now, with inflation soaring and ridership down, that burden is even more pronounced. The crisis at the MBTA is affecting people across the Commonwealth who count on this service to be affordable and equitable every day. 

Polls show support for a low-income fare is high – at 84 percent – across the Commonwealth. The Legislature has passed this commonsense policy before, only to see it vetoed by Governor Baker, another example of his failure of leadership on public transit. In the final weeks of the session, elected leaders and Governor Baker must take this vital step in solving the MBTA crisis by passing a low-income fare. 

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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. 

Riders, Politicians Call For MBTA To Create Low-Income Fare

WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Dozens of riders, workers, and politicians gathered at the State House Tuesday to call on the MBTA to offer a general low-income fare.

The group of supporters marched from the steps of the State House to deliver a petition in the shape of a giant MBTA Charlie Card, signed by over 1,000 people, to Governor Charlie Baker and the Legislature to help take action to create the new fare.

Read the full article in WBZ NewsRadio.

MBTA riders, transit advocates rally for low-income fares

Transit advocates, MBTA riders and workers are making one final push for a low-income fare program to be passed through the Legislature by the end of the month, when the formal session ends.

State Sen. Lydia Edwards, Rep. Adrian Madaro, and Carmen’s Union Local 589 President Jim Evers joined fellow low-income fare supporters at a Public Transit Public Good-organized Tuesday afternoon rally in front of the State House.

Read the full article in the Boston Herald.

Public Transit Public Good coalition issues statement on the MBTA Board’s FY2023 budget

BOSTONIn response to the recently approved FY2023 budget that neglects to include a reduced fare for low-income riders, Public Transit Public Good Coalition shared this statement: 

“MBTA riders are looking to Beacon Hill to pass low-income fare legislation after the Authority failed to include the popular affordability measure in its FY23 budget. A low-income fare would put $500 a year back into the pockets of those who need it most: riders. 

In the face of MBTA inaction, our legislators must act. Governor Baker vetoed a low-income fare provision in last year’s Transportation Bond Bill. Since then, the popularity of the measure has grown, with support from 79% of voters statewide, Boston Mayor Wu, and a broad range of labor, community, advocacy and business groups. This year, our Senators and Representatives must listen to voters and advance this important measure before the end of the session.”  

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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. 

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.