By WGBH News
Jan. 17, 2012
BOSTON — The public gets its first chance this week to weigh in on the MBTA's proposed fare hikes and service cuts — and we want you to weigh in with WGBH as well. Read some of your responses.
The MBTA has floated two plans, differing only in severity, to address its debt. Options include canceling some bus routes, eliminating night and weekend commuter rail service and ending the commuter ferry.
Community activist Lee Matsueda of the T Riders' Union was especially concerned about elderly transit users and riders with disabilities. He said the situation has worsened since the T was forced to foot the bill for Big Dig construction.
"The state legislature around 2000 made a very clear decision to say, 'You know what? We're going to transfer these transit projects that we made a commitment to onto the backs of riders,' and I think that's the part that has put us in a big downward spiral where almost $3 billion worth of projects are dropped onto the backs of the T and its riders," he said.
However, WGBH's State House reporter Sarah Birnbaum said that observers are wondering if it's a scare tactic — designed to strong-arm money out of the Legislature and to make the final plan look not so bad. No matter what, she said, fare hikes will probably go through.
Public hearings start tonight in Newton and Worcester, followed by a Jan. 18 meeting in Chelsea and a Jan. 19 meeting in Roxbury. (See the full schedule.)
What do you think of the proposed changes? What are your experiences with the MBTA? Leave a comment here, on our Facebook page or on Twitter @wgbhnews. Some responses so far...
- Daniel, via Twitter: "I'd rather a fare increase and ways to raise more ad revenue. The MBTA needs to get creative in raising money and service."
- DebRa, on Facebook: "It's a shame!!! So many people are out of work, everything is more expensive and we do not need another hike of any kind nor service cuts!"
- Karol, on Facebook: "I listened to the debate about the service cuts on the TV and they justified saying that it is less expensive than NY transportation. But the subway in NYC is so much better and covers a bigger area that what the T does in Boston. If the plan is approved, for the service we will receive, it will definitely be more expensive than NY."
Link source: Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership
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