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

Free the T? Some just want a discount

wbur

Free the T? Some just want a discount

Atiea Kemp just finished an overnight shift at a retirement home, where she works as a nursing assistant.

She relies on the MBTA to get around and says she usually pays $90 for a monthly pass, but sometimes she can’t afford it.
“I have to get back and forth to work, so I have to make it happen,” said Kemp, while riding the 28 bus to run some errands before going home. “Sometimes I just skip a month and just do a weekly pass or something like that, and just make it work.”

The 42-year-old lives in Dorchester with her three children, one of whom has a disability. Between her kids, housing, bills and rising costs, she finds one paycheck is not “enough to live.

Read the article on WBUR

Fare-free MBTA bus pilot boosted ridership, but not always savings

wbur

 

A pilot program to run the Route 28 bus in Boston free of fares boosted ridership by more than 20%, while only about a third of commuters who participated saved money because of costs they faced elsewhere on the MBTA, officials said Thursday.

Final evaluation of the fare-free test remains underway, but T staff presented an overview Thursday that showed significant effects from allowing riders to get on and off without paying as the agency prepares to launch an expanded two-year pilot program starting next month.

Between the original pilot’s August launch and today, fare-free service led to a 22% growth in ridership on the Route 28 bus even when accounting for a system-wide gradual increase in use after a COVID-inflicted dropoff.

Read the article in WBUR

Two-thirds of riders on Boston’s first fare-free bus have not saved money on transit

GBH Logo

 

Days before Boston is set to expand its fare-free bus program, the MBTA shared preliminary data that indicates the existing effort is not helping many riders in need.

Eliminating fares on the Route 28 bus increased ridership and decreased travel times, but most riders did not save any money as a result of the pilot. At the urging of transit advocates and their riders, the MBTA’s Board of Directors is now actively considering more options to reduce the cost of transit, including reduced fares for low-income adults.

The report states that 66% of riders said they did not receive any financial benefit from the Route 28 fare-free pilot program, which began last August in Boston. That’s because they paid for monthly passes or a fares on connecting subway or bus trips. The only financial beneficiaries were those who rode only the 28 bus: 21% of whom said they saved more than $20 a month, and 12% who saved less than that.

Read the article on GBH