Mayor Walsh: ‘No Fare Increase Until the Red Line Is Fixed'

Commuters are also expressing their concerns about the July 1 fare hike following two recent derailments

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is among the critics demanding the MBTA delay a planned fare hike following two recent derailments that continue to cause delays on the Red Line.

"There should be no fare increase until the Red Line is fixed. The @MBTA must act with urgency and it's unfair to ask riders to pay more until the Red Line is fully operational," Walsh tweeted Monday.

He added that commuters should have a "seat at the table" when it comes to making important decisions.

Fare hikes are expected to take effect July 1 after the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board voted in March to boost fares an average of about 6 percent. Subway fares are expected to rise 15 cents to $2.40. Commuter rail prices would vary by region but the maximum increase for a one-way fare would be 75 cents.

Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan echoed Walsh saying his office is taking calls from commuters.

"We are getting calls to roll back on the fare hike," said Sullivan on Monday. "I think it's not unfair to suggest to the legislature."

The MBTA is also getting an earful from commuters about the scheduled fare increase.

"I feel like with the price changes up, I think it's not fair that the commuters have to deal with this," said commuter Danny Munoz.

The frustration has been mounting for riders since a Red Line train derailed June 10 near the JFK/UMass station. A Green Line train derailed a couple days earlier but the incidents were not connected.

The Red Line issue caused commuters to experience delays of more than an hour when the train first derailed. Since then, smaller delays have been taking place while crews repair some infrastructure.

"It's very stressful," said commuter Rushang Goshi. "It takes almost one hour to reach home."

Despite the frustration, the MassDOT Board of Directors is not on board with making any changes.

"Changing the fare increase that's already been put in effect is not the correct gesture," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. "That doesn't mean there isn't a correct gesture."

Service has resumed on all tracks at JFK/UMass station since last Monday's derailment, but officials said riders should plan an extra 20 minutes for their commute. Trains will continue to travel slowly through that station while crews work to repair signal infrastructure. 

The slower service may impact other Red Line branches and stations, the MBTA warned. In the meantime, CharlieTickets and CharlieCards will be accepted on the Commuter Rail on Monday.

In addition to regularly scheduled trains on the Kingston, Middleborough and Greenbush lines, extra Commuter Rail trains will be making stops at South Station, JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree during both the afternoon and Tuesday morning commutes.

Supplemental Tuesday morning inbound service will be offered at various times between Braintree, Quincy Center, JFK/UMass and South Station. Riders can check specific times on the MBTA's website.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said officials are still investigating why the third car of the northbound train went off the tracks, resulting in "significant damage" to the vehicle, the tracks and signals.

"People are frustrated, people are beginning to lose some confidence in terms of the operations and I think a derailment obviously signals the potential of the safety issue," said Sullivan.

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