Friday, May 05, 2006

Maybe It's Just Me, But...

Doesn't it seem strange that--with all the talk of global warming and rising gas prices--this is the time the MBTA proposes raising fees for people who use public transportation? Shouldn't we be encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take the bus or the T? For the good of the environment if nothing else?

I mean, WWAGD? (What would Al Gore do?) Or more like, WTF? (Don't make me spell it out, people--I have a young kid at home.)


Blogger Tish G. said...

It's more like WTF....

recently W. Mass was reported to have the worst air quality in the state. Not surprising--we don't have much in the way of mass transt and pretty much everyone drives an Earth Destroyer (not that they live where they need them, mind you.)

I feel like it's just going to get more and more surreal before the whole situation attains equilibrium

2:05 PM  
Blogger David said...

This morning on the T I was handed a 23 page booklet published by the MBTA about the proposed fare increases, and their financial situation in general.

Interestingly, while they propose increasing the train and bus fares substantially (from $1.25 to $1.70, and from $0.90 to $1.25, respectively), they are also proposing transfers between bus and train for the single fare of $1.70.

This will help folks out in the 'burbs like us...which seems not so good from a social-economic stand-point (The folks in the suburbs generally need subsidies the least), and yet I suppose the people in the suburbs are the most likely to be the ones driving when they should be riding.

The current monthly bus and train combo passes also give this preferential treatment to folks living in the suburbs. Furthermore, if you buy a year's worth of monthly passes ahead of time, you get another 8.3% discount (-Buy 11 month passes, get one free).

While I like saving money, I feel a bit guilty. It's the folks who can't come up with that much money ($781) in advance who need the discounts! ...but again, I suppose it helps encourage ridership among the folks who are most likely to drive instead.

Other fun facts from the booklet:
* Currently 28% of the MBTA's revenue comes from fares. 55% is from Sales Tax, 10% from local assessments, and 7% from other stuff like advertising and parking.
* The proposed "OnePass" allows travel on any bus or train and will cost LESS than the existing "Combo Pass" -- $62 vs $71 (not including the current "buy-11-get-one-free" discount)
* The new rates will still be lower than most other major cities', they say.
* I may be reading this wrong, but it appears to me that the proposed rates I quoted above, are only for prepaid "CharlieCards". If you pay cash there seem to be significant surcharges -- $0.40 for bus, and $0.55 for the train! ...and no transfers between bus and train. That's pretty harsh, and will discourage non-regular riders. (Even if it's still cheaper than driving and parking, they may feel cheated and therefore drive anyway)

9:15 AM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

I bow to your much greater knowledge, David! I'm just an occasional weekend rider myself, so it won't have much affect on me. But my husband commutes to school in Boston from the 'burbs, and he's already complaining about the price hike. I think you're right. and he's going to have to break down and bother getting a Charlie Card.

Of course, it's still cheaper overall than the Washington Metro, which is cleaner but doesn't go to as many places.

10:08 AM  
Blogger David said...

I only have "greater knowledge" in the sense that I am in possession of the booklet describing the proposed system ...and if hadn't been for this post of yours on Friday, I wouldn't have bothered accepting the booklet that was handed to me. I hadn't realized a fare increase was even being considered until I read it here.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

You know me--all about usin' my powers for good! :-)

1:26 PM  

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