Boston City Councilor Says MBTA Should Be Free

A Boston city councilor is proposing that MBTA fares be eliminated in response to a recent announcement by the T that they want to hike their prices.

Michelle Wu recently wrote an opinion piece for The Boston Globe saying that instead of raising fares, the T shouldn't be charging anything at all. Wu said the fare increase every couple of years is a financial burden to commuters.

"Raising the cost of public transit would burden residents who can least afford transportation alternatives and punish commuters who are doing the most to ease traffic and improve air quality," Wu wrote.

The MBTA announced a proposed fare hike Monday.

Under the plan, most CharlieCard holders would see local bus fares increase by 10 cents to $1.80, subway fares would rise 15 cents to $2.40 and the cost of a monthly pass would go up by $5.50 to $90. Commuter rail prices would vary by region, but the maximum increase for a one-way fare would be 75 cents.

If approved by the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board, the new fares would take effect July 1.

Wu pointed to how nearly 100 cities around the world have free public transit.

"Nearly a hundred cities around the world have abandoned user fees in favor of alternative funding streams that remove financial barriers for residents to access public transit," Wu wrote.

She added that imposing new fees would decrease MBTA ridership.

"By the MBTA's own projections, the proposed fare increases would result in additional transit ridership declines, making it harder to meet these aggressive deadlines as well as worsening traffic around the region," Wu wrote.

Wu's full opinion piece can be read in The Boston Globe.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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