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MBTA Proposes Steep Fare Hikes, Massive Service Cuts

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BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Tuesday proposed fare hikes as high as 43 percent, as well as service reductions, in an effort to close a projected $161 million budget gap for the 2013 fiscal year.

State transportation officials unveiled two proposals Tuesday at a meeting of the MBTA’s Board of Directors. If implemented, they would be the agency’s first fare hikes in five years.

Under one scenario, a bus ride could jump from $1.25 to $1.75 while a subway ride could jump from $1.70 to $2.40 for passengers holding automated CharlieCards.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports

Read: MBTA proposals

Under a second scenario, fare increases would be more modest — $1.50 for a bus ride and $2.25 for subway — but service cuts would be more extensive.

Among the possible service cuts would be to commuter rail, bus and light rail. The MBTA says it has identified several routes with low ridership for possible cuts but will maintain service on the most popular routes.

Both proposals would eliminate all ferry services and all weekend commuter rail service.

Parking costs at MBTA stations could increase 20 to 28 percent. Student and senior discounts could increase 33 percent to 50 percent of total fares.

Officials say they will hold 20 public hearings this spring before announcing any final decisions. Any fare hikes would go into effect on July 1.

“I look forward to an open and transparent public process that will lead to recommendations on how we can continue to satisfy demand while addressing the T’s financial crisis,” said Jonathan Davis, the agency’s acting general manager.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez spoke to commuters

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

The MBTA says it expects the fare increases and service cuts to result in a 9 to 17 percent decline in total ridership.

A group that advocates for riders has urged the T to consider alternatives to raising fares or eliminating routes.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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