Home / Community Comment /

Yes, let’s fix the T’s woes, but not on backs of neediest

To The Editor:

I attended and spoke at the MBTA hearing regarding service cuts and rate increases on Thursday night at the Dorchester House and was struck by the amount of frustration and anger in the room.

It seems to me that one of the chief sources of this anger and frustration comes from the perceived lack of coordination between various government sectors and agencies. We hear anecdotal evidence, news stories, and press conferences that all seem to contradict each other, leaving many believing that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

We hear that T ridership has hit record highs, which means the MBTA is pulling in record fare revenues. Yet they propose raising fares.

Mayor Menino has promoted the revitalization and continued development of the city’s waterfronts in South Boston, Charlestown, and East Boston. We then hear that the MBTA wants to cut weekend ferry service that would allow people to easily access these areas and spend their money there.

We hear news stories on regular basis about elderly people causing car accidents because they hit the gas instead of the brake, or couldn’t react quickly to a person in a crosswalk. It hit home when this very neighborhood lost a wonderful woman to one of these types of accidents three years ago. We hear calls for these seniors to give up their car keys and turn in their driver’s licenses, yet the MBTA’s proposals will make it more expensive for them to use The Ride to run their various errands to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, etc.

Gas prices rise, and political leaders call for us to “Go Green” by taking public transit, but then the MBTA turns around and makes it more expensive to do so.

Unfortunately, what will happen is that rather than raise fares X percent, the T will back off and raise them half of X percent and look like good guys, but we’ll be back in the same position in another year or two. And before you know it, we’ll be paying $5 per trip, $10 per day, $50 per week, $2,600 per year to get to work, and the T will still be overwhelmed by debt.

MBTA management needs to come up with better solutions than offering less service at a higher price and balancing the budget on our backs.

Steve Bickerton, Jr.
Pope’s Hill, Neponset