By WGBH News
Mar. 7, 2012
BOSTON — Businesses will be drastically impacted if the MBTA institutes massive cuts in service and raises fares higher than what many can afford. That was the conclusion of a panel of experts convened by the organization A Better City in downtown Boston on Mar. 5.
The panel focused on the economic fallout of the proposed cuts and heard from company leaders, politicians and activists.
Among them was John Gayle of the Disability Law Center of Boston.
"The bottom line is there are people that are going to be affected," he said. "You folks here represent the business community. You stand to lose more in terms of business, more in terms of your property value, more in terms of your employee investments than anything that you've probably had to face in the past 20 years and that includes the economic downturn that we’ve all faced."
Richard Dimino, president and CEO of A Better City, told WGBH News that he agreed with that assessment:
"The recession is starting to lighten up. We're starting to create jobs. But if people don't have access to those jobs through good and viable transit service then we're going to be undercutting the momentum of job creation," he said.
ABC's recommendations include:
- Institute a 25 percent fare hike
- Encourage use of monthly passes — "Nearly 65% of MBTA customers utilize monthly passes, far higher than the average for other major transit systems in the country."
- Maintain commuter rail, ferry and trolley service but cut the 10 least efficient bus lines "as measured by subsidy per passenger."
- Examine alternate ways to manage The Ride paratransit system.
> > Read the ABC position paper on fare hikes and service cuts (pdf, March 2012)