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