BOSTON, January 28, 2019 — TransitMatters is disappointed that T officials are proposing an average fare increase of 6.3% to take effect in July, especially given that we are not close to either significantly improved service or the introduction of AFC 2.0. The healthy skepticism expressed by several members of the Fiscal Management and Control Board ought to carry over to action that holds off on any fare hike until certain specific milestones have been met.
The FMCB should commit the T to certain fare policy changes, such as Zone 1A / Zone 1 equity, Gateway City discounts, and unlimited transfer windows, among other changes, ahead of any fare increase and the introduction of AFC 2.0. We also think that the current fare increase discussion raises a larger question about the inherent inequity of how transportation modes are treated from the revenue side. Assuming this fare increase goes into effect, subway transit fares will have increased 40 cents since 2014, while the gas tax has remained unchanged (and actually decreased with inflation factored in). Our current approach to raising transportation revenues keeps each element of our mobility system in a silo, exacerbating inequities and encouraging more traffic congestion and modal inequality. Any T fare increase ought to automatically trigger parallel increases in TNC fees and the gas tax. That would be fair, sensible and forward-looking. The current approach is an injustice and unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. The Commonwealth’s policy cannot be encouraging people of means to either get into their personal automobile or to worsen congestion by opting for TNCs. For the sake of all our residents, we must start treating our transportation system as one system, and move the revenue levers in tandem.