NEWTON (CBS) – The first of 20 meetings over proposed fare hikes and service cuts were held Tuesday night.  Bus and train riders had the chance to air their grievances at meetings in Newton and Worcester.

Officials say they need to raise fares as much as 43 percent to close a projected $161 million budget gap. Another scenario calls for a fare hike of 35 percent, that is accompanied by more extensive service cuts.

Commuters lined up at Newton Town Hall to express their concerns. Todd Glaskin said, “You’re saying to people that you’re not going to be able to wake up tomorrow and go to work.”

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

“We’re trying as best we can in the fiscal circumstances that we have to affect as few people as possible,” says Transportation Secretary Richard Davey.

The T hasn’t increased fares in five and a half years.

“You should prudently have fare increases from time to time,” says Davey. “This will help us at least stave off the significant deficit we face this coming fiscal year.”

Both plans would end commuter rail service on weekends and ferry service in Boston Harbor.

Comments (7)
  1. blackbear1 says:

    Fare hikes and service cuts at the same time? Man, you guys really know how to bring it! Is there any one examining of this huge defecit and checking for waste, pork, poor budgeting, planning,etc. I don’t go to the city too often, but when I do, it is an unpleasant surprise to be told my Charlie Card is expired. What is with that?? A perfectly good system and you guys ruined it. The very nice professional demeanor of Mr. Davey is not going to fool people. Anybody checking the cookie jar?

  2. yikes says:

    they have to raise rates to keep paying for all the union labor – i.e. union wages, union benefits, union pensions

    1. twocents says:

      It appears that their biggest debt is interest on loans from the past. The fares per hour should cover the union workers hourly wage and benefits, especially since the subways and some buses are overloaded to a dangerous capacity at times. Pensions with the T have been a draw for employees for decades. At some point, past practice has to stop being the reasoning for future failures.

  3. tom cunningham says:

    We are expecting snow tonight and Saturday. Taking a ferry ride into a storm in the middle of the winter while the MBTA subsidizes the ride makes no sense. No only is it dangerously foolish but it is not economically unfeasible and one mishap like the one in Italy and many lives could be loss. It is time that the MBTA focuses not only on the bottom line but also puts the money and resources to the best use. The poorest of the poor in Roxberry, Dorchester and Mattapan rely on the buses in trains as their only means of transportation. Hull, Hingham and Scituate patrons of the MBTA do not need to the ferry service for survival. They are affluent communities and they can take the bus and train just like the rest of us do

  4. E Black says:

    If they destroy “The Ride” service on the north shore, as I blind person, I’ll be stranded. The price is too low–I would be willing to pay much more than I pay now (and no one should ride for free–currently an ‘attendant’ does not pay anything), but please, please, please do not destroy this very valuable service!!!!!!!

  5. Martha Bewick says:

    The only problem is that the T is proposing to cancel the T buses to Hingham and Hull, and cut weekend train service too. There would be no transit to Hull, the fourth poorest community in the commonwealth. Even in 2000, before Greenbush was built, 50% of the commuters to Boston from Hingham and Cohasset took public transit. The ferries, for those who are landlubbers, are the most reliable transportation all year round, and have been for 35 years (more to Hull), since they operate in the inner harbor, protected from storm surges by barrier beaches. They are the most cost-effective transit, and there is no T debt associated with them. Be sure to keep an eye open for subsidy comparisons between the Hingham commuter boat and the Greenbush Line.

  6. tom cunningham says:

    This is a direct quote from 5 people who live in the Charlestown Navy Yard. The wrote this in a letter to the Patriot Ledger. They truly believe that the MBTA should spend 3.2 Million a year in ferry subsidizing in order for them to feel the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces. The fact that the MBTA is out of money and that people in the poorest sections of the city are seeing fare increases and service cuts . This is a great example of what is wrong with this country
    “On no other form of public transportation can residents know that they will have a pleasant, consistent commute. And on no other form of public transportation can commuters sit outside, with the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces, forming a sense of community and friendship with fellow riders while also having the opportunity to reflect happily on their choice to live in a community on its way to becoming revitalized and redeveloped. But this is all about to change if either of the MBTA’s recent proposals, both of which would eliminate all MBTA ferry boat service, is adopted.”

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