By Frannie Carr
Sept. 14, 2011
BOSTON — A fare hike for the cash-strapped MBTA is “definitely on the table,” according to the state’s newly anointed transportation czar.
The T, which is $8 billion in debt and faces a $160 million budget shortfall next year, hasn’t had a fare increase in five years.
In an interview on WGBH’s Emily Rooney Show, state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says fare increases need to be gradual to avoid “sticker shock.”
“What we should be trying to do is get to a place where we could have modest and more predictable increases from time to time. So, customers know that this year it’s going to go up a dime and next year it might go up another dime. People can adjust,” said Davey.
But he says that incremental approach will only go so far to close the T's $160 million budget gap.
"Fares can’t be the only answer. We’d probably have to increase fares by 50-60 percent to cover that deficit – but then you lose ridership,” Davey said.
Before becoming the third secretary of transportation in four years, Davey served as general manager of the T.
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