MBTA Cuts: What Do You Need to Know? [POLL]
With the MBTA meeting for Brookline coming up tonight, here's a summary of what's going on with the MBTA cuts proposals.
On Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen will host a meeting to hear residents' concerns about the MBTA cuts proposed earlier in the year. At 6 p.m. at Brookline High School, residents are invited to talk about how the T cuts will affect them.
The Brookline Senior Center will also have a meeting of its own Monday, March 5. at 1 p.m. Feedback from both meetings will be sent to the MBTA.
Here is where the MBTA discussion stands so far:
Tale of Two Proposals
At the beginning of the year, the MBTA proposed two scenarios aimed at closing the $161 million budget gap in the T's budget for this year. The scenarios largely impact bus service, although both include a fare hike.
|Scenario 1||Scenario 2|
|No proposed changes||Weekday, Saturday & Sunday service eliminated|
|60 Bus||No proposed changes||Weekday, Saturday & Sunday service eliminated|
|65 Bus||No proposed changes||No proposed changes|
|66 Bus||No proposed changes||No proposed changes|
|Bus Fare||CharlieCard: $1.75
|Green B Line||No proposed changes||No proposed changes|
|Green C Line||No proposed changes||No proposed changes|
|Green D Line||No proposed changes||No proposed changes|
|Green E Line||
Weekend service eliminated
|Weekend service eliminated
No proposed weekday changes
|T Fare||CharlieCard: $2.40
Door Number Three
Earlier this month, the MBTA Advisory Board proposed a third option which could potentially close the gap without any interruptions in service. This option looks to new sources of revenue, but also includes a small hike in the prices of T fare.
Here are some highlights of the plan:
- 25-percent fare increase (the other proposals call for either a 35-percent or 43-percent increase)
- Shift the cost of security to the State Department of Public Safety, meaning state police would handle security on the MBTA
- Shift the cost of running ferry service to MassPort
- Sell ferry and waterfront assets to MassPort
- No MBTA staff pay raises for fiscal year 2013
Here are some of the more creative ideas:
- $10 charge per year on college students in the area
- $0.50 surcharge on tickets for big events, like sporting events, concerts and theater performances
- Reinstate alcohol advertising
- Charge institutions that have a station named after them (for example, charge Harvard University for Harvard Station and the Museum of Science for Museum of Science Station. The proposal lists 18 institutions that have stations named after them and suggests it would raise $2 million from this initiative)
Governor Deval Patrick went to Watertown to talk at a grassroots house party, but was met with people worried about the future of the T. He has also suggested taking the $40 million in unused snow removal funds, and putting it towards the MBTA budget gap.
“Consensus is ‘We get the fare increases, but not the service cuts,’” Patrick said. “Some of the (chopping) blocks are incredibly important for people.”
State Rep. Ed Coppinger also sounded off about the proposals, saying he was dismayed. Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey also made the remarks to the Boston Globe, saying that the T needs to raise the money to avoid service cuts.
“From many customers that I’ve heard from, they would rather pay a little more than see service cut,’’ Davey told the Globe. He added that some customers have said the cuts would be "devastating to their livelihood."
The MBTA has a number of public meetings scheduled throughout the commonwealth. The Board of Selectmen have commented they find it strange Brookline wasn't included in the list of public meetings, which prompted the meeting of their own.
So far, headlines from the official T meetings have contained words like "Outraged," "Concerned" and "Protesters rally." In both Newton and Copley Square, speakers talked about how the routes are crucial to their ability to travel to school, jobs and medical facilities.
"I take the T everyday," said a 16-year-old girl who attends Snowden International High School, at the Boston Public Library meeting. "Without the T, I wouldn't be able to get to school and would drop out."
Taking a RIDE
"In this scenario, I don't really see that they are considering people with limited income," said Harold Knight at the Jamaica Plain meeting.
Under both scenarios The RIDE service would cost two times that of the base Charlie Ticket price and would include "premium territory" price for those areas beyond 3/4 of a mile of a bus/subway stop or for same-day service requests.
In Newton, Rick Morin, who also serves on the Bay State Council of the Blind, said both scenarios are "extremely onerous" for the disabled community and compared the MBTA's decision to "Sophie's Choice."
"As for THE RIDE, I'm really shocked you expect people on fixed incomes to pay what your proposing," one woman said in the Boston Public Library meeting.
To catch up more in depth on the MBTA discussion so far, check the Brookline Patch topic page on MBTA Cuts in Brookline
Chris Orchard, Charlie Breitrose, Cate Lecuyer, and Melanie Graham contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on the site at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. It has been updated with more specific information about the RIDE and included in the Wednesday morning Brookline Patch newsletter.