MBTA rejects calls for delaying fare increase while Red Line is repaired

BOSTON — Despite last week's Red Line derailment being the fifth in 2019, the MBTA is standing by its fare increase scheduled for July 1.

The organization's fiscal control board met Monday and seconds after it began, the meeting was consumed with frustrations.

Catherine Carlson with A Better City called for an audit and for leaders to hold off on an impending fare increase while the safety of the T is assessed.

The MBTA is now planning for an outside, independent review of the system's safety practices. But the head of the Fiscal and Management Control Board shot down stopping the fare increase.

"The broader fare increase, I think, is too much of a blunt instrument to roll back at this point," Joseph Aiello said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has also called for no increase in MBTA fares until the Red Line is fixed.

The MBTA is still investigating the derailment on the Red Line last week that caused significant damage to the tracks as well as a signal near the JFK/UMass station. The train reportedly traveled more than 1,800 feet off the rails.

The MBTA says riders should expect delays of 20-30 minutes during the morning and evening commutes while the signals are fixed. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said they've ruled out foul play and any concerns with the tracks.

They're now focused on the car itself which was built in 1969 and overhauled in the late 80s.

"It's hard to, sort of, say," she said. "We don't know what caused it but you're safe."

Despite that, Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan said people are questing the safety of the system.

"Anybody who's involved in a derailment, I think, would feel like the system wasn't safe," he said.

Meanwhile, Red Line delays are costing Charli Rose, a Dorchester mother, time and money.

"Just like picking my son up from school being penalized. They’re not helping me with my child care late fees," Rose said.

Rose says she's fed up with slow service and as for fare increases, "I think it's absurd."

Losing money is bad enough, but Rose says losing time is worse.

"It’s the time component. You don’t get time back," Rose said.

Mayor Sullivan also said they need to offer some kind of relief to passengers on the South Shore.

He suggested something like giving free rides for a few days.

The MBTA is looking into that but doesn't want to do anything that would overwhelm the system right now.