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MBTA Riders Express Concern Over Proposed Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

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Newton Mayor Setti Warren speaks at a meeting over proposed MBTA fare hikes. (Photo from Bernice Corpuz)

Newton Mayor Setti Warren speaks at a meeting over proposed MBTA fare hikes. (Photo from Bernice Corpuz)

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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.

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