Public Transit Public Good Coalition Condemns MBTA’s Proposal to Impose a $3 Surcharge on Charlie Cards

PTPG Coalition issues statement Header

MA – The following statement has been issued by the Public Transit Public Good coalition:

“This new surcharge of $3 for Charlie Card, proposed by MBTA staff at the Audit and Finance Subcommittee this morning, places an additional burden on low-income riders, while the corporations behind the new fare collection system will make more than $288 million in profits and overhead costs.  

MBTA fares already place a heavy burden on low-income riders, who make up about 40% of riders and pay more, as a percentage of household income, to ride the MBTA than wealthier riders. Most low-income riders have no access to discounted fares and would see their transportation costs escalate with a new surcharge. The impact would be especially bad for families who could no longer share a Charlie Card because the MBTA plans to require each rider to have their own pass. 

The $3 surcharge is part of a move to the controversial, expensive, and much-delayed  ‘automated fare collection’ system outsourced to billionaire corporations Cubic and John Laing. Cubic fare payment systems have a long track record of overcharging riders and other problems. In late 2019 and early 2020, New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) riders reported being double charged when entering the subway using OMNY on their mobile devices. In Chicago, multiple class-action lawsuits were brought against Cubic with claims that riders were not properly credited funds on their fare cards, were double charged, or were charged fees for ‘phantom rides.’

To date, the MBTA has refused to provide relief to low-income riders, while paying close to a billion dollars, including $288 million in profit and overhead, to the wealthy corporations in charge of outsourced fare collection. Before raising fees on riders, the MBTA should re-examine its fare collection contract, and adopt a low-income fare that would save low-income people millions.” 

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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 to save up to $500/year with a low-income fare system, new report reveals

MBTA Riders to save up to $500 Header

According to the new report by PTPG Coalition, more than 90,000 riders to benefit if a low-income fare system is implemented by the MBTA

Massachusetts – Nearly 90,000 MBTA riders could save an average of almost $500 annually per rider if a low-income fare system is implemented, a new study by the Public Transit Public Good coalition reveals. This report comes on the heels of growing public opposition to MBTA’s recent failure to include a low-income fare in a new slate of fare changes. 

“The numbers from this report are clear — a low-income fare system would put money back in the pockets of Massachusetts riders and help our families in need,” said Sam Montaño, Director of Organizing, GreenRoots. “A low-income fare pilot program would cost about $42 million, around 2% of the operating budget. The MBTA can use one-time funds to run a year-long pilot program, and they must do this now, instead of ignoring the needs of our communities and MBTA riders.”

According to the report, the nearly $500 saved by each rider each year would give almost $50 million back to low-income families. These additional funds could be used towards groceries, home and personal services, clothes and shoes for growing youth, and co-pays for necessary medicines.

“$500 more will help me and others worry less about providing food for the household and paying rent as head of the house, and that is something for the MBTA administration and our legislators to think hard about,” said Emmanuell De Barros, Bus 93 and the Silver Line rider. “To think that I could save $500 more every year would change the way my family makes decisions. We won’t have to choose between cutting self-care, healthy foods, or house amenities like Wi-Fi speed, and taking the T to my job. We would be able to do both without cutting corners and compromising.”

Over the last few decades, the cost of the MBTA has been dramatically increasing, which has resulted in long working hours for riders to afford the MBTA. A minimum-wage worker has to work 75.8 hours per year to be able to afford monthly LinkPasses, per the recent report

“As a bus driver, my goal is to get the passengers from Point A to Point B safely and on time,” said Ed Cora, MBTA Bus Operator and Boston Carmen’s Union Member. “When my passengers get on, they tell me why they can’t pay the fare and I have heard a lot of stories. You know who gets on your bus when you live in the neighborhood. And you know these passengers are going through a difficult time. I feel that a lot of hard-working people have a hard time paying bills. I know a lot of families will benefit from the low-income fare.”

Bus and subway riders would save an average of $475 per year, while riders taking the commuter rail would save an average of $875 per year. Advocates also say that the significant savings to use the Commuter Rail could increase the number of overall trips, thus increasing MBTA ridership and revenue. Per the report, if a low-income fare induced a 5% increase in trips on the commuter rail, that would create $2.7 million in new fare revenues.

“A low-income fare system will not only help families but could possibly bring new revenue and new riders into our public transit system because people can afford to ride more, especially on the commuter rail,” said Mike Vartabedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15. “We know there are opportunities here to bring relief to our families, and both the MBTA Board and the legislature can take action now to provide that relief.”

Ahead of the MBTA Board meeting on Thursday, workers and riders are calling on the Board to move forward with a one-year pilot of the low-income fare.

According to the report, “The MBTA is considering using $500 million of ‘one-time funds’ – mostly federal aid – for ‘one-time spending.’ The MBTA Board should use a fraction of these funds to support a low-income fare pilot and assist struggling riders.” 

Coalition members are also urging the Massachusetts legislators to move quickly to pass H.3526, An Act Relative to Low-Income Fares. This important legislation would direct the MBTA to start a permanent discounted-fare program for low-income people.

It would also open a path for Regional Transit Authorities to institute reduced-fare programs or fare-free systems, extending the benefits of transit affordability to all corners of our Commonwealth. 

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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 issues statement on the new MBTA Board

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MA – The following statement has been issued by the Public Transit Public Good coalition on the recently-appointed MBTA Board:

“The Public Transit Public Good coalition recognizes the appointment of the many highly qualified individuals to the MBTA board. Our coalition of riders and workers is committed to improving the state’s public transit, and we look forward to working with the new board as advocates for a public transit agenda that prioritizes accessibility, affordability, safety, and quality union jobs to help advance the public good.”

— Public Transit Public Good Coalition

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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 Advocate for an Environmental Justice Community Seat on the New MBTA Board

Riders Advocate for an Environmental Justice Community

Riders Advocate for an Environmental Justice Community Seat on the New MBTA Board

Nearly 30 statewide organizations urge Governor Baker to appoint Rafael Mares or Khalida Smalls to the proposed rider seat on the MBTA board

Read the full letter here

Massachusetts — In a letter to Governor Baker, nearly 30 labor and community organizations representing tens of thousands of residents and workers throughout Massachusetts nominated two candidates to fill the rider seat on the new MBTA board created in the supplemental budget the governor signed on Thursday. The legislation establishes a new, seven-member board to replace the Fiscal Management and Control Board, which expired at the end of June. Members include a rider from an environmental justice community, but the legislation does not specify a nomination process. Letter signatories say that the Governor should appoint a rider representative with the backing of community groups representing riders in environmental justice (EJ) communities, home to low-income people and communities of color who depend most heavily on transit, lack equitable access, and experience high levels of air pollution.   “Appointing a rider from an EJ community will strengthen the voice of everyday riders and workers, and help the MBTA center racial justice, economic justice, and equity in all their decisions,” said Jim Evers, President, Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589.  “Our environmental justice communities heavily rely on the state’s public transit systems. We are confident that our nominees will not only represent riders from EJ communities, but bring their expertise and experience on transit policy to serve the interests of riders across the state,” said Olivia Nichols, Transit Justice Organizer, GreenRoots. In addition to asking the Governor to appoint one of their nominees to fill the EJ rider seat on the MBTA Board, the letter signatories also expressed support for the nominations for a labor representative from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Advocates proposed Rafael Mares or Khalida Smalls to be appointed to the rider seat. Massachusetts elected officials have also shown their support by sending their own letters to the Governor. Rafael Mares is executive director of The Neighborhood Developers, a housing nonprofit that works in Chelsea, Revere, and Everett to promote economic diversity, opportunity, and quality of life in these communities. For more than a decade, he has played a major role in successful advocacy to preserve MBTA service and affordability, especially for environmental justice communities. He has served as Vice President and Program Director Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), and as a member of the MBTA  Rider Oversight Committee (2009-2010) and the Executive Committee of Transportation for Massachusetts (2012-2018). Rafael lives in Revere, on the 119 bus route and Blue line, and the T is the primary way he and his family of five travel throughout the Boston area “Working families and communities of color rely on the T to get to work, to school — everywhere. Now, for the first time, the board that oversees the MBTA will have a member to truly represent those riders. I am honored to be nominated for this position by the Public Transit Public Good Coalition, and if I am appointed I am committed to work hard for a better, more equitable, and affordable MBTA.” said Mares. Khalida Smalls is a lifelong Boston resident and MBTA rider. She has decades of experience working to improve the lives of working families and environmental justice communities. Khalida has served in multiple leadership roles at Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), including leading the T Riders Union, which brings together transit riders to fight for equitable public transportation in lower-income communities and communities of color. Since 2019, Khalida has served as director of organizing with the Boston Teachers Union (BTU). Before joining BTU, she was the Green Justice Coalition Coordinator and Organizing Director at Community Labor United (CLU). A queer, Black woman of African and Caribbean descent, Khalida has received multiple awards for her commitment to transit and environmental justice. She lives in Dorchester. “Our communities deserve a voice in the decision-making process, and this rider seat will ensure that our voices are included,” said Smalls. “If appointed to this role, I will make sure that the priorities of our community members — those who rely heavily on the MBTA to get to their jobs, to run errands, and to access public services — are addressed by this new board.” Organizations advocating for these candidates also sent a letter to the Massachusetts legislature urging their support for these two transit riders and experts to be appointed to the new MBTA board. 

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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.

Mayor Janey, Community Groups, Unions Demand Action on Low-Income Fare

Mayor Janey, Community Groups, Unions Demand Action on Low-Income Fare

Mayor Janey, Community Groups, Unions Demand Action on Low-Income Fare  

Mayor Janey, riders and transit advocates from throughout the MBTA service area spoke during the Joint DOT/FMCB Board meeting to demand the Transit Authority act swiftly to create a reduced fare for low-income riders BOSTON — Mayor Kim Janey, City of Boston, joined members of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition at Monday’s meeting of the joint DOT and MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Boards to call for urgent action on a reduced fare for low-income riders.  “A low-income fare is necessary to ensure affordability for all riders, no matter where they live or what mode of transportation they take,” said Mayor Kim Janey, City of Boston. “I stand with the riders and workers of the Public Transit Public Good coalition as we call for a low-income fare.”   Joining the mayor were community and labor groups who reiterated their long standing commitment to a low income fare.  “The pandemic is gradually improving and as we are recovering and returning to work, we know that public transit is necessary and we rely on it to get to and from work,” said Meihua Zeng, a home healthcare worker. “If there is a low-income fare for low-income communities, it would help many families and alleviate much of the burden low-income families have and continue to face.”  In comments to the board, Mary Napolitano, a member of Massachusetts Senior Action Council, recounted that before she turned 65 and became eligible for a discounted senior pass, she struggled to pay T fares on her fixed social security income.  I would often use less convenient transportation, avoiding use of the train, because I simply couldn’t afford it,” said Napolitano. “If there had been a low-income fare pass available,” she said, “at just $800 a month I surely would have qualified for it and saved myself those much needed funds.” “Communities of color and low-income communities are still feeling the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Lee Matsueda, Executive Director, Community Labor United. “That is true across the state and it is true in Boston. We recognize and are proud to have the support of municipal leaders like Mayor Janey, who is calling on the MBTA to do more to help riders.” The majority of FMCB members are in favor of a low income fare program, and have expressed frustration with the delays in passing this urgently needed support for riders. In January, Governor Baker vetoed transportation bill provisions that would have established and funded a low-income fare.  “The Baker-Polito veto showed the administration is out of touch with the struggles of everyday MBTA riders,” said Darlene Lombos, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC).  “The low-income fare system is a critical piece of our recovery and we are speaking in a united voice today, urging the FMCB and the legislature to do all they can to make sure a low-income fare becomes a reality.”  Today, the MBTA estimated a reduced fare program could save low income riders up to $47 million a year. The MBTA said that annual operating and administrative costs would range from $24-38 million at current service levels, with additional costs if free fare programs increased ridership, leading to expansion of MBTA fleets.  “The reality is that right now, that money comes from the pockets of MBTA riders who can least afford it,” said Mike Vartabedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15. “While working families are struggling, many big corporations and ultra wealthy individuals are doing better than ever — the real solution to funding programs like the low-income fare is to make sure those who can afford it are paying their fair share.”  The Public Transit Public Good Coalition says the best way to fund the low-income fare is to pass progressive revenue measures, like the Fair Share Amendment as well as current bills that would restore the corporate income tax to the pre-2010 rate of  9.5%, and raise taxes on off-shored corporate profits. ###     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 Issues Statement on the FMCB’s Decision to Restore MBTA service

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the FMCB’s Decision to Restore MBTA service

MA — The following statement has been issued by the Public Transit Public Good coalition on the FMCB’s decision to restore MBTA’s operating budget  to pre-pandemic levels:

After receiving a new $1 billion in federal funding, the  MBTA today confirmed that it will fully fund its operating budget in the coming fiscal year and begin to restore cut service. At Monday’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting, board members voted to restore bus and subway service to pre-pandemic levels, reinstate weekend commuter rail on lines on which it had been suspended, and resume ferry service, all “as soon as possible.” 

“The Public Transit Public Good Coalition has opposed MBTA service and job cuts since they were first proposed last fall, and applauds this decision to bring back reduced service. However, we remain concerned regarding the pace of service restoration and call on the MBTA to ensure that full funding is used to restore cuts as quickly as possible. 

It is disappointing that the MBTA has not been able to say with certainty when or whether all nine suspended bus lines will be reinstated. Over the past year, the Authority has not continued regular hiring to replace workers who have left the MBTA or are unable to work due to COVID-related illness. We are encouraged that the Authority has committed to an aggressive hiring program, and believe that a return to robust staffing will provide the much-needed support to bring back service.

The difficulties in restoring service underscore that the MBTA and the Baker/Polito administration should have never considered cutting service during the pandemic. Our essential workers, among others, have continued to rely on the MBTA, to deliver critical services. Moving forward, we must adequately fund our public transit system to ensure our trains, buses, trolleys, and paratransit are safe, affordable, and accessible to all who need them. 

We look forward to working with the Massachusetts legislature to adopt common-sense progressive revenue options to fund transit, like raising the tax rates on unearned income and corporate income and ultimately passing Fair Share Amendment to ensure the super-rich do their part to fund public transit.

As an organization of transit workers and riders, PTPG members have opposed cuts that would make it harder for essential workers to get to their jobs, disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color, worsen unemployment, and hurt our region’s economy. We are grateful to the thousands of riders and workers who have joined with us, and to the many elected officials at all levels who have stood with us to call for an end to cuts.

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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. 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts

Elected officials, riders and workers spoke at the Public Transit Public Good’s virtual rally to demand Baker-Polito Administration reverse MBTA cuts, especially since the agency will receive close to a billion dollars in new federal aid

  BOSTON — U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, and State Senator Joseph Boncore joined the voices of workers and riders during an online rally today, urging the Baker-Polito Administration and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to reverse deep service cuts, the most recent of which were phased in on Sunday.  “Despite the desperately needed funding, the MBTA instituted another round of deep service cuts this past Sunday, cutting bus times, increasing wait times between busses and subways, and making other changes that diminish the system we rely on,” said Collique Williams, Organizer, Community Labor United. “Our message today is that those funds must be used to restore full service now.” “People throughout the Commonwealth who rely on public transportation are the very essential workers who have stepped up to help us during this public health crisis,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Despite the additional $1 billion in federal relief coming to Massachusetts in the American Rescue Plan, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) service cuts have gone into effect. I will continue to fight with my partners in the delegation to ensure that the federal assistance Congress has provided will be used to completely restore all service cuts as soon as possible.” “Today, we stand together to oppose the unfair and the unnecessary cuts at the MBTA,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark, via a pre-recorded video. “I have been proud to work with my colleagues in the Mass. Delegation to deliver significant emergency transit funding for the Commonwealth at this critical time. Since December, Congress has already secured over $250 million for the MBTA, and last week, we passed the American Recovery Plan, which will provide an additional $1 billion in transit funding for the Commonwealth. Yet, despite this infusion of funding, MBTA forges ahead with these cuts without explanation…We call on the MBTA to reverse these cuts to ensure that we can rebuild an economy that is equitable and inclusive for all.” “Those who rely on public transit, from essential workers to frontline workers to individuals and families; we must affirm together that public transit is a public good,” said State Senator Joseph Boncore. “A reliable and affordable and an efficient public transportation system is essential to this Commonwealth’s health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Public Transit Public Good is calling on Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the FMCB to use the nearly $1 billion the MBTA will receive from the American Rescue Plan to restore full service. Frequency cuts of up to 20% have reduced capacity on the MBTA’s Red, Orange, and Green lines and more than 20 bus routes, while several bus routes have also been eliminated. Because of the cuts, 40 commuter rail operators will lose their jobs, and it will be harder for frontline workers and other transit dependent people to get to their jobs, medical appointments, and more.  “Now, the MBTA is talking about layoffs for their workers, who came to work risking their lives and their family’s lives, by potentially bringing home the virus,” said William Foley, President, Local Lodge 264 Machinists Union. “What did they get in return? Being potentially laid off. This is 100% unacceptable. We deserve better and we demand better.”  The MBTA has received more than a billion dollars in federal aid money so far, and just last week President Biden signed a new historic aid package that will bring close to a billion more. Those federal funds are meant to help riders who depend on public transit now, protect the transit workers who get people where they need to go, and ensure the state’s buses, trains, and subways are there for Massachusetts residents as vaccination rates rise and ridership goes back up. “I take the bus and subway to work at the Golden Age Center early in the morning and late at night. I take care of the elderly and they rely on me,” said Hui Qin Huang, Program Assistant at the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center. “Because of the service cuts, it has made an already long commute longer. I used to be able to catch the bus soon after I arrived at the bus stop. Now I have to wait half an hour. I didn’t know the service cuts were going into effect and I arrived late to work. This is harmful to my patients.” “Our workers have been affected. We are wondering who is going to be next,” said Jim Evers, President, Carmen’s Union Local 589. “These cuts will increase crowding on our buses and on our trains. This causes a safety issue for the public and the transit workers. Overcrowding will remain an issue.” “It has been clear to me from Day 1 that the workers’ interests, the riders’ interests are absolutely identical. You are us, we are you,” said Maureen Cawley, Chelsea resident and a rider of 112 bus. “The other point is that we have to stop them from…the atrocity of taking away services from the most vulnerable population in the epicenter of the COVID epidemic.” “Today, we are here to make our voices here, to demand Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and the FMCB reverse the cuts made to our MBTA,” said Amanda Chapin, Union Representative, TCU IAM Lodge 1089, and Division Chairperson of TCU IAM Unit 86. “The MBTA has made deep cuts to commuter rail service, cutting weekend service on a majority of lines, closing five stations, and reducing service overall by 14%. These cuts have made an impact on my colleagues, customer-service reps, store clerks, and other workers.” The cuts are deeply unpopular. Hundreds of people have called Governor Baker’s office urging him to use the federal stimulus bill funds to roll back cuts, reinstitute full service, and support a reduced fare for low-income riders.  “Our patients and community members rely on public transportation for their medical appointments at DotHouse,” said Michelle Nadow, CEO, Dothouse Health. “The #18 bus stops right in front of our building and provides convenient access to our health center for our patients and staff. As of this week, the #18 bus has been suspended. These changes make it more difficult for our patients and cut access to our food pantry, COVID-19 Testing Unit, COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, and other important healthcare and social services. All needed services and even more vital during the COVID 19 pandemic. We hope that the decision-makers can hear our demands and make the necessary changes to resolve these rising issues.” “These service cuts don’t just harm riders today, they pose a grave risk to our future,” said Jarred Johnson, Executive Director, TransitMatters. “These cuts, happening as the Commonwealth opens up businesses, attempts to speed up vaccinations, send the wrong signal. The cuts tell riders that their needs don’t matter and political posturing is more important than providing access to low-income riders, seniors, young people, essential workers, and more. It’s disappointing to see the MBTA appropriating the language of equity to tell environmental justice communities ‘be happy we didn’t cut your service as much’ meanwhile, the cuts restrict access for those without vehicles. These cuts run the risk of dampening demand, giving the T another excuse to cut service in the future. We, at the Transit Is Essential campaign, say “Stop Balancing The Budget On The Backs Of Riders” and that Public Transit Is A Public Good. Reverse these cuts and put the people’s money into running service for them today!” Public Transit Public Good is also calling on Governor Baker and the MBTA to support a reduced fare for low-income riders. Given the unemployment and economic hardship of the past year, helping those who need it most is the right thing to do. The state’s economic recovery will be robust when all of us can afford to travel for work, errands, and medical care.    # # #   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.   

ONLINE RALLY: STOP THE MBTA CUTS

ONLINE RALLY: STOP THE MBTA CUTS
ONLINE RALLY The US Congress and newly-elected Biden-Harris Administration is providing about a  billion dollars in new COVID relief aid to the MBTA as part of the historic American Rescue PlanHowever, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the MBTA have ignored this promising news and decided to plow ahead with major cuts to the T’s services. Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito’s “small-minded and short-sighted” transit policy is hurting low-income communities and communities of color. As part of the Public Transit Public Good coalition, we are raising our voices once and hosting an online rally this Friday, March 19, at 11 a.m., to call onGovernor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to reverse the cuts made to the agency. Several elected officials will join the coalition, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, to voice their opposition to the MBTA cuts.  

Online Rally: Save The MBTA

Friday, March 19, 2021 | 11 a.m. to Noon

Join us on Zoom: http://bit.ly/MBTAOnlineRally ; Password: 898527

OR watch on Facebook at @CLUMassachusetts

*Language interpretation will be available via Zoom. 

  Without reliable and affordable transportation, those of us who use transit the most — including working families, Black and brown communities, and many essential workers — struggle to get where we’re going. We need better service and a reduced low-income fare to get to jobs, school, and medical appointments. We hope that you will join us and demand an end to the MBTA cuts. 

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, March 8, 2021   Contact on behalf of Public Transit Public Good Coalition: Vishakha Mathur, vishakha@617mediagroup.com, 617-485-7709  

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts

During the FMCB meeting, coalition member urges FMCB and Governor Charlie Baker to listen to the voices of riders and continue to reverse the MBTA cuts

BOSTON, MA — With another massive federal aid bill likely to be signed by President Biden this week, there is little reason for the MBTA to move ahead with deep service cuts.  Indeed, today the Transportation Authority announced it is  backing away from some cuts approved in December, but more decisive action is needed to further restore service and ensure affordable, equitable access. Public Transit Public Good, a broad coalition of transit workers and riders, saw its co-chair  give powerful testimony before the board Monday addressing new federal funding and MBTA plans to call off some of the deeply unpopular cuts scheduled to take place this spring. The MBTA says cuts to bus frequency will not be as deep as planned, and that the agency will continue commuter rail service after 9pm.  Still on the cutting block are twenty bus routes slated for suspension, as well as  frequency reductions on the subway. Deep cuts to weekend commuter rail service and ferry service took place in January. “The Public Transit Public Good Coalition is encouraged by the US Congress’ action to ensure robust new funding for public transit systems.  We call on the MBTA to use this new infusion of aid to build back service as quickly as possible, and ensure affordable, and equitable service for the region. The essential workers and transit-dependent riders who have been deeply impacted by this pandemic are depending on swift restoration of service,” said Mike Vartebedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15 and co-chair of the PTPG  coalition. The US Senate passed a $1.9 trillion aid package this weekend, which is expected  to be signed into law by President Biden this week. The MBTA has already received more than $1 billion in emergency federal aid, and this bill is likely to provide about another $800 million. Reversing course on cuts will benefit the essential workers who rely on mass transit during the pandemic, and need reliable, uncrowded public transportation to be able to get to and from work safely. The coalition previously launched a sweeping ad campaign and a call-in action urging the public to call Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in order to demand that they do the right thing to safeguard the public transportation system — and to protect the people who rely on it the most.   #### 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.