T leadership disappoints riders again over low-income fares

The Boston Globe

T leadership disappoints riders again over low-income fares

The article “No plan for low-income fare draws ire” (Metro, Jan. 21) is yet another story on MBTA leadership not doing right by its riders. The facts around the low-income fare system are clear as day: It would increase ridership and put money back in the pockets of Massachusetts riders. From health care workers to grocery store workers, we all use the T and are bearing the brunt of the high cost of riding.

The pandemic has taken a financial toll on working people, and reducing the cost of public transit would dramatically improve the affordability and accessibility of the T. We estimate that a pilot program would cost the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority only $42 million, 2 percent of its budget. The T could use one-time funds to run a year-long pilot program. The agency must do this now, instead of ignoring the needs of our communities and MBTA riders.

Collique Williams

Hyde Park

The writer is an organizer with Community Labor United and the Public Transit Public Good coalition and a regular rider of the Fairmount Line and the Red Line.

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Is another battle over potential MBTA fare hikes on the horizon?

Boston.com

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said this week that an increase is “not under consideration at this time.”

However, in a statement after the meeting Thursday, the Public Transit Public Good coalition called the talk of a potential fare increase “disheartening.”

Brian Kane, the executive director of the MBTA’s Advisory Board, which represents the cities and towns in its service area, said Friday that he doesn’t think the new board is “hell bent on raising fares.”

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Union Coalition Report Knocks MBTA Fare Overhaul

State house News Service

Union Coalition Report Knocks MBTA Fare Overhaul

The Public Transit Public Good Coalition report alleged that the MBTA’s $935 million contract with Cubic to update the fare collection system includes as much as $372 million in “unnecessary costs, corporate overhead and profit.” The group also estimated the T could have saved about $45 million by issuing its own bonds to finance the project.

Authors called for an end to “corporate profiteering off our public goods” and urged MBTA officials to look for a way out of the contract, which they said would continue to pay Cubic on an ongoing basis for “availability payments.”

While the T’s existing fare collection runs on a combination of public and private systems, the labor-aligned authors say the proposed overhaul includes a “private financing component” that would be the first of its kind.

Susanna Bohme, a senior researcher with Community Labor United who wrote the report, said officials should instead take a “holistic approach to fare policy that makes the MBTA more affordable and accessible.”

“Rather than spending hundreds of millions in unnecessary costs to privatize parts of the system, we need to prioritize access and affordability, like a reduced fare for low-income riders,” Bohme said. “And we certainly would like to ensure MBTA jobs are family-sustaining, union jobs. We would like to see the MBTA reopen a process on fare transformation that truly centers the needs of low-income riders and does not unnecessarily transfer hundreds of millions to billionaire corporations.”

Read the article on State House News Service.  

Transit affordability must be a top priority for Beacon Hill

GBH Logo

Transit affordability must be a top priority for Beacon Hill

It is long past the time to implement affordable public transit in Massachusetts. Community organizations, labor leaders, employers, riders and workers agree that transit affordability is key to moving us toward a robust recovery. But under the direction of the Baker/Polito administration, the MBTA has dragged its feet. That is why we are looking to Beacon Hill to make sure low-income fares become a reality soon, and guarantee the progressive revenue needed to support them.

Our representatives and senators must pass H. 3526, which would direct the MBTA to provide free or discounted transit fares to qualifying riders on all modes of transportation operated by the authority, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, it would open the way for the commonwealth’s Regional Transportation Authorities to implement low-income fare programs or, if more cost-effective, fare-free systems.

Read the article in WGBH. 

Rally Calling for MBTA Improvements Held Thursday

Rally Calling for MBTA Improvements Held Thursday

In just the past few weeks, a jogger died after falling through a closed MBTA stairwell, an escalator malfunctioned and caused injuries to people at the T’s Back Bay Station, and then on Tuesday a Red Line train derailed and damaged the track and platform at Broadway Station.

The spate of problems were just the latest at the transit authority, which for years has struggled with on-time performance, equipment failures, and a rash of derailments. Nearly two years ago, an independent panel concluded that the T had taken a “questionable” approach to safety due to fiscal belt-tightening, a lack of trust in leadership, and frequent lapses in maintenance and inspections.

Read the article in NBC Boston

Advocates call for transit improvements in wake of MBTA issues

The Boston Globe

Advocates call for transit improvements in wake of MBTA issues

A coalition of public transit advocates on Thursday called on state officials to improve MBTA safety and funding in the wake of recent high-profile issues including a Green Line crash, a Red Line derailment, and the death of a man who fell through a rusted-out staircase near a T stop.

“Our hearts go out to the people affected by the recent safety issues,” said Collique Williams, an organizer with Community Labor United, one of the groups that compose the Transit Is Essential coalition, during a briefing Thursday morning outside the State House.

Read the article at The Boston Globe

‘These disasters are not accidents’: Advocates call for improvements as MBTA problems mount

‘These disasters are not accidents’: Advocates call for improvements as MBTA problems mount

BOSTON (WHDH) – Public transit advocates gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Thursday and called on officials to improve MBTA safety and funding as the agency continues to be plagued by mounting problematic incidents, including a Red Line train derailment earlier this week that caused headaches for infuriated commuters who were forced to deal with lengthy delays and cancelations.

The Transit Is Essential coalition is demanding that state officials allocate more annual funding for public transportation and put a new oversight board into place to avoid future accidents.

Read the article at WHDH

Transportation advocates rally at State House for more funding for MBTA

Transportation advocates rally at State House for more funding for MBTA

Transportation advocates are demanding more funding after MBTA logged more incidents that are raising safety questions.

Just days after a Red Line train derailment and a broken escalator at Back Bay Station sent nine to the hospital, transportation advocates rallied at the State House Thursday morning demanding Gov. Charlie Baker and the Legislature take immediate action to increase funding and improve safety for the entire MBTA system.

“Let’s be clear, these disasters are not accidents. They are symptoms of the system that has been underfunded for too long,” said Collique Williams of Community Labor United.

Read the article on WCVB5

EJ communities need rep on new T board

CommonWealth Magazine

EJ communities need rep on new T board

DUE TO STRONG support from transit riders and workers, the Massachusetts Legislature recently took a huge step forward to ensure racial equity and environmental justice in the Commonwealth’s largest transit authority — and now Gov. Charlie Baker has an opportunity to listen to communities of color and do the right thing.

For months, riders and workers alike have been calling for the new MBTA Board to include both a worker representative and rider from the environmental justice, or EJ, communities that depend on transit the most. The Legislature listened, ensuring that the seven-member board has two dedicated spots to represent the knowledge and interests of the people closest to the heart of the system.”

Read the article at Commonwealth Magazine

Boston Mayoral Candidates United Around Reduced T Fares

Boston Mayoral Candidates United Around Reduced T Fares

“All six major candidates vying for Boston’s top job signed a petition, along with more than 600 other residents, demanding that the Legislature intervene and require the T to offer reduced-cost trips for riders who struggle to pay full price, create new progressive revenue streams for public transit, and ensure representation for riders and workers in MBTA oversight.”

Read the article at WHDH