Councilor Wu Wants You to Sign Petition to Oppose MBTA Fare Hikes…And She Wants a Fare-Free T

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At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu regularly takes public transportation (often with kids in tow). So the MBTA's proposed fare hikes really strike a personal chord with her -- and she has created a petition asking for people to oppose the fare increases.

"We oppose the proposal to raise MBTA fares. The proposed 6% fare hike would place an undue burden on residents already struggling to meet transportation-related costs, totaling an unaffordable 41% increase in MBTA fares since 2012. The increased costs would push more commuters to drive, undercutting our most urgent goal of increasing transit ridership to ease congestion, limit air pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," wrote Wu in the petition.

Wu pointed out that the MBTA's proposed fare increases would lead to continued ridership declines. That decline in ridership would be contrary to two reports released in December 2018 by the state's Commission on the Future of Transportation and the city's Carbon Free Boston initiative, which both highlighted the need to grow public transit ridership. The reports said growing public transit ridership would be a boost to our economy and, of course, our environment.

The councilor also offers steps on how the T could become fare-free and provide equity:

  • Create a single youth pass with free, unlimited, year-round access to the MBTA. Currently, MBTA options for students and youth passes are needlessly complicated and inconsistent, and are turning the next generation of riders against public transportation.
  • Extend the same free, unlimited, year-round pass to seniors residing in Massachusetts.
  • Provide low-income riders with Charlie Cards and a low-income fare option, distributing these MBTA passes through agencies that administer SNAP and other means-tested benefits.
  • Commit to rejecting distance-based bus and subway fares, which have been shown to be regressive, as more residents are being priced out of housing close to job centers.
  • Rezone the commuter rail fares so that all of Boston is Zone 1A and no municipality is split between multiple fare zones.
  • As the MBTA moves toward a cashless fare collection system, reject plans to spend resources on costly fare vending machines at every bus stop and instead designate the bus routes where riders will depend on cash as fare-free routes.

Wu is planning on presenting the petition at the MBTA's public meeting to collect feedback on the fare increase proposal on Feb. 27 at 6:30 pm, at the State Transportation Building (10 Park Plaza, Boston).