By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
BOSTON – Proposed fair hikes by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority would push the price of commuter rail passes up an average of 29 percent, according to a statement issued Wednesday.
In an effort to close the $185 million budget gap for the next fiscal year, the MBTA is proposing a combination of fair hikes and service changes that would go into effect July 1, if approved.
Rhode Island commuters would not see a cut in service under the proposed plan. The commuter rail would continue to operate full weekday service, but the MBTA plans to eliminate all weekend service on the Greenbush and Kingston/Plymouth lines, as well as Saturday service on the Needham line.
Riders on the public transit system would pay an average of 23 percent more across the system if the changes go into effect.
Commuter rail single trip and monthly passes would be increased an average of 29 percent, depending upon the zone of travel. Ferry prices would increase an average of 35 percent.
“At the dozens of public meetings on the original proposals, I heard our customers speak eloquently and passionately about the important role the MBTA plays in their lives,” acting MBTA general manager Jonathan Davis said in prepared remarks. “In response, we have developed a plan that demonstrates our strong commitment to continue providing transit services that are reliable, convenient and affordable.”
The MBTA targeted lines with low ridership and estimate only 0.3 percent of current riders will be lost due to the proposed changes.
The transportation authority’s final recommendations would result in a savings of $15.4 million.
“We have put forth a solution that limits the impact on riders for one year, but I encourage everyone to remain engaged in helping us find a long-term fix for the T’s budget challenges,” said Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.