New Proposal Could Avoid MBTA Service Cuts
The MBTA Advisory Board proposed a plan that would raise fares by 25 percent, shift some costs to other state agencies and institute some thought-provoking fees, changes.
The MBTA Advisory Board, which provides public oversight of the MBTA, has presented a new plan—some might call it a third option—for dealing with the MBTA's $161 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2013.
The plan comes amid public outcry over two proposals put forth by the MBTA that would substantially raise fares and cut service on Boston's public transportation network.
In the second of the two proposals, the 74 and 75 buses from Harvard Station that service Belmont Center would be eliminated. Only trolley service to Waverley Square down Trapelo Road and Belmont Street would continue but at higher fees.
Under both plans, commuter rail service that includes Waverley and Belmont stations would be eliminated after 10 p.m. and over the weekend.
In recent weeks, thousands of angry T riders have attended public hearings around the Boston area to protest those proposals.
MBTA Advisory Board plan
Under the advisory board's plan, there would be no service cuts, and the fare increase would be less than with the MBTA's two current proposals.
Here are some highlights of the plan:
- 25 percent fare increase (the other proposals call for either a 35-percent and 43-percent increase)
- Shift the cost of security to the State Department of Public Safety, meaning state police would handle security on the MBTA.
- Shift the cost of running ferry service to MassPort
- Sell ferry and waterfront assets to MassPort
- No MBTA pay raises for fiscal year 2013
Here are some of the more creative ideas
- $10 charge per year on college students in the area
- $0.50 surcharge on tickets for big events, like sporting events, concerts and theater performances
- Reinstate alcohol advertising
- Charge institutions that have a station named after them (for example, charge Harvard University for Harvard Station and the Museum of Science for Museum of Science Station. The proposal lists 18 institutions that have stations named after them and suggests it would raise $2 million from this initiative)
The MBTA Advisory Board estimates that, taken together, it's proposal would find $170.6 million in savings and revenue in fiscal year 2013.
The Board also emphasized it's proposal was a short-term solution, meant to buy time while state officials craft long-term solutions to the MBTA's financial woes.