Massachusetts: MBTA hearing prompts outcry by residents not to cut off their ‘life line’

With proposed rate increases as high as 43% and the threat of losing nearly a hundred bus routes, all ferries, and a good portion of commuter rail services, residents attended Wednesday night’s Quincy hearing furious with the MBTA and unsure about future residency or employment.

A frequent T and bus rider explained to MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis that two communities with large service cuts, Quincy and Roxbury, are groups that need public transit and assistance the most, “You’re targeting the poor and disparaged people.”

Many Quincy seniors and residents with disabilities spoke against the proposal to double base fares for THE RIDE, a specialty service with ridership that has grown 400% in the last decade.

A disabled Weymouth woman relies on THE RIDE and passionately stated, “I get up at four in the morning, every day, five days a week, on The RIDE to travel from Weymouth to Charlestown. So if you cut the service I lose my job.”

Quincy not only has four subway stations, but also a ferry service, a slew of buses, and three commuter trains that pass through Quincy Center. Residents have become dependent on MBTA service.

A North Quincy High School student said her and her siblings need MBTA buses but with two scenarios eliminating routes and doubling the price of student passes, she doesn’t know how students are going to get to school, “They don’t all have jobs where they can pay $40 a month, every month, just so that they can get to school back and forth.”

Davis noted the MBTA Advisory Board has developed an alternate proposal to help address their $161 million deficit without heavily increasing fares or completely eliminating services. The MBTA has no obligation to accept the alternate proposal.

Five more public hearings are scheduled before the MBTA Board votes on any changes in April.

(MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis)

(State Senator John Keenan)

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.