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Councilor fights T fare increase

The Daily Free Press details a petition drive by City Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) against the fare hike and for free passes for seniors and students and reduced fares for low-income residents.

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Thanks to Councilor Wu for not letting people forget how ridiculous and unfair these T price hikes are. MBTA riders have paid enough. Make the MA drivers who kill hundreds per year and are ruining our planet pay up for once.

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Voting closed 57

Gas tax in 1991, 21 cents. Gas price in 2019, 24 cents.

Hmm.

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That is a lot of money. Feel bad for me please.

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You should now pay for the damage your vehicle does to clean air and climate.

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Please tone it down

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The state highway system needs $6.5 billion more than its budgeted revenue over the next 10 years to maintain roads, bridges, and tunnels, according to the report. The MBTA is set for the next five years, but after that it will face a $1.9 billion shortfall, brought on largely by diminishing federal funding and less state borrowing capacity, the report says.

The funding shortfall is just for maintenance of existing infrastructure and doesn’t include money needed to modernize, expand, or decarbonize the state’s transportation infrastructure.

So while fares go up again for MBTA riders and are projected to raise around $32 million to address the funding shortfall, where are the increases to gas tax/road usage fees to account for the even greater budget shortfall?

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/report-transportation-fu...

Can it be free for all? Of course not but it can be priced in a way that is free/affordable for those in our region that truly need it and the economic benefit could very well account for the shortfall of free/cheaper fares.

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That $6.5 billion highway backlog will not just go away. Things will get worse and worse, until things reach a breaking point, then somehow the state will dedicate enough money to fix the absolute worst problems, but the larger issue of substandard roads will continue. I got my license in 1990, and decaying roads and bridges was as much an issue then as it is now, due to a lack of political will to solve the funding issues.

On a related note, tying transit funding to the sales tax hamstrung the MBTA, causing a massive maintenance backlog that has festered and festered, rearing it's ugly head from time to time, notably in the winter of 2015. But yes, reducing the revenue of the MBTA will ultimately make the T better, just like how not increasing the gas tax will make the roads better and how reducing the federal income tax will ultimately lead to balanced budgets, because anyone with fiscal sense has left the building (so to speak.)

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His point was that the mbta fares go up while automobile and gas taxes don't even keep pace with inflation.

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The point about the gas tax is valid, but as I’ve said before, drivers have as much a desire for the gas tax to be indexed to the CPI as T riders have a desire for the same to be done with fares, but I don’t see AAA or whatever is left of Citizens for Limited Taxation saying the gas tax should be scrapped since it penalizes people who work for a living. Even the ballot question a few years ago left the increase intact, with the only issue being the indexing.

The GLX troll below notes that a $0.15 a gallon increase could take care of the road repair backlog in a decade. I have no problem with the road backlog being handled by a gas tax increase, and done right it could become law. Conversely, I have yet to see from those opposed to the fare increase or in favor of the T being free a practical way to get it done without making the system worse financially.

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Even with the gas tax, pollution and climate damage are accelerating.

Driving should be expensive because it kills people in about 50 different ways.

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You're being too kind. The latest Artery Business Committee, er, I mean, A Better City report has some better-ish numbers and spotlights one overlooked point. The federal GLX filing showed just how little money Mass transport has. The state doesn't even have enough money for the GLX yet presses forward hoping for divine intervention. Wu and Walsh need more information on the hike. If the fare hike money goes towards several repair efforts across Greater Boston, then Boston should give the green light. If the hike money is used to say fund the state's 1 billion GLX match, then I'm sure Boston will have a problem with the hike.

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Raise the gas tax.

Now, that could hurt some people, but thankfully soon enough the Green Line Extension will be aiding the long suffering commuters in Somerville and a little bit of Medford. With less cars on the roads of those areas, the drivers might not worry about the increased fuel costs, especially if it means better roads and bridges.

Thankfully, due to the Green Line work, several bridges are being rebuilt, which will lessen the backlog. Man, that's a great project going on up there.

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Do the math Waquiot. Gas taxers always forget about the math. Where do you get the other 9 billion? As for your lunatic bridge comment, Boston has 100+ year old bridges that are falling apart. The GLX requires ripping up 20 year old Downeaster bridges. The more you know

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And as for your version of GLX hating this time, I guess you should fault the MassDOT who didn’t figure the need to lengthen the bridge when the Downeaster came in.

And in a related note, I’d bet anything there was no infrastructure work within 495 for the Downeaster, since the engines and cars are basically the same. Still, you live in your world and I’ll live in mine.

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You won't get $10 billion in 10 years. Declining returns every year

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Now tolling Boston highways. That's a different story

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The Boston metro deserves answers. If for example Boston gives in and says yes - only to find the hike money is directed to South Coast rail and the Green Line Extension but not repair - its going to be a melee

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...and people from Boston still think the $20+ billion spent on the Big Dig was totally "worth it".

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And has used the T regularly for over 25 years, I don’t mind paying. That being said, pricing needs to be adjusted. However it being free is absurd and will only make the unions pension scheme balloon further out of control.

Revise the pricing scheme, yes. Free, FUCK NO.

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Voting closed 29

Would be fine with tying free passes to the federal poverty qualifications used for anything else. On SNAP? Get a free T pass. Help the working poor get to work. That's one of those hand-up handouts that people like to pretend they support but then get all pissy about.

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I don't see how removing the fare would increase pension issues. If anything, I'd expect the union to fight this since doing so will reduce the need for a bunch of employees, for instance all the people currently employed to fix and maintain the fare machines and gates.

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oh right, the C line has no fare more frequently than it charges people and cuts through a large portion of their town. they won't be getting a price hike

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The T already lets Bougie riders pay but if you live in Mattapan you may need to pay several transfers.

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If you use a Charlie Card, the transfers are free, except if you go from bus to subway, in which case you are charged the difference between the bus and subway.

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If your commute is longer than the transfer window this does not work and it is for many people in the underserved neighborhoods

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.

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Unless you specifically go bus subway bus

https://www.mbta.com/fares/transfers

And they don't give out Charlie cards at the stations. If you have to buy a ticket, then there only a couple of specific transfers allowed.

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I have tried to transfer subway to subway (say orange line to back bay then get out and transfer to Copley (green line), but am charged. Its only free xfer if they are connected, which was always true (before charliecards).

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I'll give a free Radford Lane Re-entry Ticket to the first person to provide a non-staged photo of someone paying for the Mattapan Trolley.

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Just like Brookline, its free when its packed.

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Then shouldn't Allston, Brighton, and Mission Hill be equally popular metro areas?

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+ other factors but the C line is leagues above the other above-rail green line trains

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Have you ridden the T in the last 15 years? You pay inbound AND outbound on the Green Line.

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And I only pay 2-3 times inbound a week despite using it 5+ times a week

It's about how they open all doors during rush hour

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It's also about people going up front to pay if they don't have a pass. Do you?

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i dont, not tryna shove people to pay a fare that isnt being enforced. do you wanna call the cops on yourself when you j-walk? pretty absurd if you ask me

i see it as pursuing systematic justice instead of personal responsibility failings, which seems to be the obsession of a different generation than mine

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...that the rich folks of Brookline are all like "Oh wow the C line is absolutely slammed this morning so I can wedge myself in the back door and that means I RIDE FOR FREE!!!"?

Really?

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its about the system that lets them on for free meanwhile increasing fees for other areas that pay as if its the same

and yes - its overcrowded - but so are other lines and their passengers have pay gates

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as they have already paid the fare.

Those that do not have a pass are required to enter through the front door and pay the fare. If you don't, you are breaking the law.

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also do i break the law when the train conductor's machine is broken and im literally unable to pay?

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I along with many others enter through the rear gates at Savin Hill station.

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Baker wants to spend over $700 million dollars on a new fare collection system, so he can better get the $10-20 million a year lost from fare evasion (mostly the MBTA states on the commuter rail). Why is he increasing fares again, cancel this new fare collection system and cancel the fare increase (est. 34 million a year). He loves delaying and canceling desperately needed expansion projects but loves plowing money into corporations like cubic (the fare company). New fare collection is needed on 95 and 93, who for some reason get a free ride while people on the trains keep getting jacked.

https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2018/09/27/mbta-prepares-for-new-au...

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the new collection system is a necessity that, while it probably does have some collection benefits, does not have that as the primary goal. the biggest reason we need to do it is because our system was one of the earliest implementations of the technology and the software and hardware are both ridiculously out of date at this point, and finding people able to maintain and keep it updated and secure is going to be increasingly difficult. we've already seen scattered cases of fraud where people manage to get dozens of passes out of the machine that they resell; that sort of thing will only become more common as the tech gets older. keeping the gates in working order is also difficult.

secondly the big reasoning behind the new system is to speed up boarding; going cash free is going to make a huge and immediate impact on the entire bus system as well as allow all-doors boarding on the green line, speeding it all up IMMENSELY. that + signal priority is going to make a solid appreciable difference in the green line in the next decade without any actual changes to the train system itself.

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Local commerce will improve with free fare T !

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Please read the article and the linked petition. It does not call for elimination of all fares. It calls for free passes only for youth and elderly, discounted fares for low-income riders, and not going ahead with the proposed fare increase.

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And it only offers vague ideas as to how to offset the lost revenue.

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Every motor vehicle in the state is mandated to use an EZ Pass. Sensors like those used on the Turnpike and Tobin bridge charge anyone with an address outside Boston for entering Boston at some hilariously high rate, like $20 or something each time. That money goes directly to the MBTA.

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And vehicles registered in Boston magically don't require roads that cost money, nor cause congestion. pollution, or accidents?

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You think that's bad? Wisconsin has an additional $75 registration fee if your car is a hybrid.

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Another flaw with gas taxing in the 21st century

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Because that's what the taxpayers want- more fees for driving while the T is free.

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And people with Boston addresses who dare to drive out of the city rather than taking public transportation should get charged $20 each time too just so it's fair and no one gets accused of bias. /s

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You do realize that people that live in Boston pay for the roads all over the state, yes?

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is fake.

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Although Wu HAS called for a free T, the petition does not. Post changed accordingly.

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Unfair to me, just because I’m a worker means I can’t get a discount? So bogus.

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It should be free to all and here’s why. The state already pays nearly 80% of the MBTA budget. If you eliminate the fares, you eliminate the need for fare machines, the accountants, the cashiers, the vault crews, the Brinks trucks they drive, the installation and maintenance expenses everytime the latest pay method changes. We also eliminate dwell time - the delays on busses and surface vehicles while fares are taken before the driver can move. Ridership goes up, delays go down. Many other municipalities are doing this already.
And the biggest deal? The state can eliminate or reduce future pension and health expenses.
It basically pays for itself. Be objective. Do the real math. Look at the formula in a different way. This is smart, cost effective, ethical and exactly what we should be doing.

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YES! Exactly what Matt said. Also, if we went fare-free today we'd save nearly a billion dollars immediately by abandoning AFC 2.0.

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because americans would rather waste their own hard earned and scant time, money, and emotional reserves than allow a single person they deem morally unworthy to get something that person doesn't "deserve" you could offer people a free, no strings attached, magically generated 10,000 to spend on whatever they want and they'd turn it down if it meant their (lazy/foreign/drug using/sinner/underserving) neighbor also got it.

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I'm guessing fare collection vs the cost of people and resources collecting the fares aren't going to even themselves out.

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and create an intensified sense of entitlement.

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Like roads, right?

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Don't forget about all that free parking car owners are entitled to. I think the city should start charging for overnight parking on public streets. Have that $ go to infrastructure.

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Charge a nominal fee. Make it 25 cents.

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Not so sure about it. Many transit agencies are FREE all across the world. The effects that happen because of free mobility very much out weight all the negatives.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_public_transport#List_of_towns_and_ci...

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The only large city, per that list, where transit is free is Tallinn, which runs buses and trams.

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If the councilor is serious she should do her job instead of calling on the MBTA to give its services away, and find a way to pay for it. Wu could use her position to draft a City Council resolution to give money to the MBTA to fund free passes, and work with neighboring cities and towns to also pass similar resolutions.

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