Boston, MA– On Monday of this week, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) voted to raise ticket fares by six percent, reports Boston Magazine. This will be the fourth price increase since 2012.
Starting on July 1, 2019, CharlieCard subway tickets will increase by 15 cents, to $2.40. A monthly subway pass will increase from $84.50 to $90.00, and those on the farthest zones on the commuter rail will see their monthly pass prices increase by $27.75 (from $398.25 to $426).
It’s not bad news for everyone though. The MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board stopped short of raising bus fares. In addition, passes for seniors and students, which are sold at a discount, will remain at the current prices. And the board agreed that they would freeze prices for the next three years (though state law permits fare increases every two years). Another positive change is that the trial of a $10 weekend pass deal for the commuter rail was voted to become a permanent offering.
MBTA officials who voted in favor of the fare increase argue that it is necessary in order to continue improvements to the service, despite opposition from activist groups, politicians, and community members. One of the five board members (vice chair Monica Tibbits-Nutt) abstained from the vote, saying it was “premature”. According to opponents of the fare increase, there are many alternatives that could potentially meet the need for increased funding for the MBTA. Ideas proposed by critics of the fare hike include a gas tax, increasing highway tolls, raising fees for ride-sharing apps, or implementing a driver fee per miles traveled.
Massachusetts state senators have also made the argument that a fare increase is unjustified while the MBTA continues to lose millions of dollars through fare evasion, or the failure of transit officials to collect fares from each passenger. Many say that it is unfair to ask T riders to pay more for a service that still fails them regularly.
Overall, the new price increases for MBTA fares will raise over $32 million in annual revenues for the transit authority.
Photo via Wikimedia user ArnoldReinhold