BOSTON, MA — New polling results show that residents in MBTA service areas are concerned by overwhelming margins that proposed cuts to MBTA service and staff will have a negative impact on transit safety, frontline workers, local businesses, and the economy.
The results of the poll were released on the same day that the GM recommended the Board delay their vote on at least some proposed service cuts until early next year. The proposed cuts have drawn sharp criticism from riders, workers, and elected officials. A revised and partial package of cuts will reportedly be presented to and voted on by the Board at its next meeting on December 14, with other cuts potentially to be considered as part of the MBTA’s annual budget process beginning in February.
According to the survey conducted by the Public Transit Public Good coalition, more than 75% of respondents were concerned about the impact the proposed cuts would have on the ability of frontline workers to get to their jobs.
The results also showed that 70% of respondents were concerned about the impact the cuts could have on safety for riders and workers and on the impact the cuts will have on local businesses and a post-pandemic economic recovery.
Meanwhile, a new report from the same coalition also showed that the proposed MBTA cuts threaten more than 800 jobs and would have an outsized impact on Black workers and on the communities hard-hit by COVID-19.
“The people are speaking loudly and clearly,” said Lee Matsueda, of Community Labor United, one of the groups that has helped to convene the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “Going ahead with these cuts in the face of such opposition fails to recognize the transportation realities of hundreds of thousands of people who currently use or hope to return to using the MBTA as the pandemic wanes.”
The poll, which focused on residents in MBTA service areas, expanded upon and underscored the results of a prior statewide survey that also demonstrated an overwhelming opposition to the proposed cuts.
The latest poll was conducted on December 2, 2020 through interactive voice response (IVR) and surveyed 467 individual respondents in MBTA service areas. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4.53%.
Its specific findings include:
- 67% oppose cuts to public transportation funding. Only 16.4% support the cuts.
- 70% were concerned about the impact cuts will have on safety for riders and workers. Only 21.8% were not concerned.
- 75.8% were concerned about the impact cuts will have on the ability of frontline workers to get to their jobs. Only 16.6% were not concerned.
- 69% were concerned about the impact cuts will have on local businesses and on post-pandemic economic recovery. Only 22% were not concerned.
“Cutting the service and laying off staff will put more pressure on an already inadequate and underfunded system,” continued Matsueda.“People are concerned about crowding on buses and trains as a source of COVID-19 infection, in addition to the other serious safety issues the T faces. People want ample service to allow for social distance on transit during the pandemic. And riders need to know that the safety conditions that have deteriorated under Governor Baker with record derailments and other issues are not going to get worse because he and his board are continuing to cut back on essential maintenance staff. Public transit is indispensable to the functioning of our region, transporting essential workers to jobs, while also being a major engine of economic stability and equity. It’s imperative that we have a healthy system, not one starving for resources because it has been slashed to the bone.”
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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.