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.”
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