Riders protesting as MBTA fare hikes take effect

MBTA fare hikes take effect, despite protest

BOSTON — If you take public transportation, your morning commute may cost more. And after two recent derailments, T riders aren't happy about it.

Less than three weeks ago, a Red Line train derailed and it's still not clear why. The MBTA says it wasn't infrastructure issues, but it's clear that the incident impacted how riders feel about paying more for the service.

"I take it to work, from work, downtown everywhere," said Connie Greene of Dorchester.

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For thousands across the state, it’s a daily expense that's about to go up.

Starting Monday, fares on the T are going up about 6%, and it comes at a time when riders aren't confident in the system.

"I think they should get things working correctly before they go up on the fare," Greene said.

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu organized a two-day rally called the 'Boston T party.' It started Sunday afternoon and continued Monday.

"People are frustrated, those of us who are on the T every single day know that we are not getting our money’s worth with this fare hike," said Wu.

And the chatter on social media was all about the T Monday morning, with #UnfairHikes and #BostonTParty trending on Twitter.

A one-way ride on the T with a CharlieCard will go up 15 cents to $2.40 and the monthly link pass is increasing from $84.50 to $90.

"It's six percent more this year, but that means since 2012 fares have gone up since 41%," she said. "That's not sustainable for individual families and that's not sustainable for our state either."

Governor Charlie Baker has supported the hike and says the cost to ride public transportation is in line with the national average.

Mayor Marty Walsh added his thoughts on the fare increase, tweeting Monday morning: "Boston needs a seat on the Board to fight for Boston residents to finally have public transit that gets them where they need to go, when they need to get there — a service that they are already paying for & that they deserve."

T riders say the increased cost for a sharp decline in the quality of service is making long commutes even longer, unpredictable and often maddening.

"Boston's train system is not cutting it, always breaking," said Deanna Henry of Boston. "All the buses don't work or go where they’re supposed to go."

The MBTA says the increase will equate to almost $30 million in added revenue a year.

The MBTA says July 1st also marks a year since they began an $8 billion upgrade project. It is expected to be finished in 2023.

"I'll believe it when I see it," said Greene

State law does not allow the MBTA to raise fares for another two years, but when the MBTA Control Board voted to allow this increase back in March, they also voted to not consider another fare increase for the next three years.

The damage at the Red Line's JFK/UMass stop will likely take months more to fix, and the T says it will impact service at least through Labor Day.

With her two-day protest of fare hikes, Wu hopes it sparks a conversation on social media.

"The goal is, Monday a coalition of activists, riders and elected officials are coming together to canvass every MBTA station and engage riders to get involved to ask for a vision of a system that truly serves us," said Wu. "We can push for a different system in the future."