You hopefully saw our first report on the MBTA fare increase and service cut proposals, which will have a negative impact on anyone who uses public transportation, bicyclists included. But in addition to hurting bicyclists who use transit for part of their bike trip, all other bicyclists will also be affected. With fewer transit options, there will be more cars on the street. With more cars on the street, bicyclists (and everyone else) will have to deal with more traffic and more frustrated drivers. More traffic means more exhaust and reduced air quality that we breathe while riding. The MBTA has already conceded these points. Basically, this is a bad deal for all users of the road.
We have been hard at work with MassDOT’s Transportation Advisory Committee, Transportation for Massachusetts, and our fellow advocacy groups to try to find a better solution. In a recent meeting, the choice was framed in the following way:
- Massive service cuts, substantial fare increase; or
- Massive fare increase, fewer service cuts
But this is a false choice, because neither option will solve the MBTA’s underlying financial problems, and both will have unacceptable impacts on transit riders and everyone else. Without a more comprehensive solution, within a year we will be back discussing further fare increases and service cuts.
The public meetings so far have been totally packed, and also full of anger directed toward the MBTA. The reality, however, is that the T’s options are limited; it can only raise fares or cut service to balance its budget. If you don’t like either proposal, the real audience is the Legislature, because they are the only ones who can allocate more funding to the T.
What You Can Do To Help
1. Contact your state representative and senator and let them know that you want them to find a permanent solution for the MBTA and transportation funding.
2. Go to one of the ongoing MBTA public meetings to demonstrate to the T and to legislators that there is a widespread call for a real solution to this problem.