Boston has the oldest transportation system in the nation and is responsible for over million trips a day. Yet, the quality of riders experience is vastly different for those who have a choice to ride versus those who depend on it. Check out the interviews of riders of the Number One bus, a route that travels from Harvard campus in Cambridge to the heart of Boston’s historically black neighborhood in Dudley square.
How can we achieve an equitable public transit system where the burdens and benefits are shared equally?
Thank you to Steven Nutter, Natalie Collarte and Marcy Ostberg for lifting up this common Boston transportation story.
Greater Boston’s First Transit Equity
Boston, MA, March 2nd- The Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition, On The Move (OTM) , convened Greater Boston’s first Transit Equity Summit, March 2nd, at the City Year Headquarters in the Back Bay. “Our public transportation system is in crisis. The people who suffer the most are those with the least to spare and who depend on the system to access jobs, school, healthcare appointments and volunteer opportunities,” says Kevin Odell, Coalition Coordinator for OTM.
It has been a year since the last fare hikes and service cuts, yet another round of fares hikes and service cuts looms on the horizon. “Cuts and hikes are a stop-gap measure that hurts transit dependent riders the most. We’re stuck in a cycle that punishes low-income communities, youth and seniors for a politically constructed problem,” says Jeremy Hanson of Bikes Not Bombs an On The Move coalition member. For the past few years, communities have fought on the defensive against hikes and cuts that would force riders to pay more for less service. This summit provided a visioning opportunity for riders, youth and advocates to prioritize the needs of the community.
The event featured: workshops on current equity campaigns around fare hikes and service cuts, government accountability to riders, access for youth and seniors, how to design livable streets and sustainably fund the system; M/B/T/A Lab, an interactive art installation that explores transportation justice from a perspective of mobility as a human right and transportation as a public resource; an exercise in mapping the gaps in service and capturing ideas and next steps for creating an equitable system. Check out photos from the event on OTM’s facebook page here.
On the Move is a coalition of community and statewide organizations in greater Boston that came together in 2000 to advocate for transportation justice using community driven solutions.
On The Move participating in Equity Workshop at Equity Action Summit 2012,
Nov 30th and December 1, 2012
On The Move is participating in the Equity Action Summit 2012 convergence, organized by the steering committee and member groups of coalition partner Action for Regional Equity. Please register by clicking on the postcard link below!
Green Justice Coalition action at Fall River brings over 80 Riders and Workers to Stand for Transportation Justice!!
On The Move joined over 80 riders and drivers from across the Southeastern MA, Boston and Springfield regions last Thursday, May 31, at a rally in downtown Fall River. The Green Justice Coalition convened and organized the rally of riders, workers and GJC members to stand together in the fight for expanded service and transit justice for SRTA riders! Chanting fix it, fund it and make it fair we demonstrated to SRTA board members and local officials the power we have as a united front fighting for equity and justice in public transit across the state….GO TEAM, GO! J Here are some articles that Gary from the ATU chapter in Fall River, MA and others passed along:
On The Move invites you to join riders and workers from across the State on Wednesday, May 16th @ 11AM on the Statehouse Steps as we gather to protect transit systems across the state by launching the Green Justice Coalition’s campaign – Public Transit–Public Good.
Leaders will speak out FOR fair short-term fixes and meaningful long-term solutions and AGAINST regressive proposals across the state to hike fares and cut transit service. Street theater will highlight the impacts of inadequate transit funding and service on our communities.
Check out this flyer on the event from GJC!
More more information, contact either:
On The Move (OTM) is a coalition member and partner of the Green Justice Coalition’s Statewide “PUBLIC TRANSIT-PUBLIC GOOD” campaign for transportation justice. For more information on GJC, check out their website at www.massclu.org.
On the Move (OTM) is a coalition of nine community based organizations in greater Boston that came together in 2002 to advocate for transportation justice. Our core constituency is Greater Boston’s low income communities and communities of color, with a focus on regional transportation and smart growth. We want to express our opposition to the MBTA’s proposal and urge the board not to approve it.
Prior to and since the MBTA released its two proposals to close the FY 13 budget gap, OTM coalition members and partners have worked effectively at both the grassroots and policy levels to offer community and rider-driven proposals as healthier, more sustainable, and more responsible alternatives. We have seen and been moved by the testimony of thousands of riders who expressed their deep opposition to the T’s proposals, and we have been grateful for the opportunity to engage in the public process and are inspired by those who took action. Working with our member groups and our core constituency, we have proposed ideas that raise critical short-term revenues for fiscal 2013. From the Fast Five superheroes headquartered at the T Riders Union, to the drafting of pioneering bills like the Transportation Economic Development and Recovery Act (TEDRA) by MASSPIRG and others, to the active transportation organizing of members including LivableStreets Alliance, Greater Four Corners Action Coalition and Bikes Not Bombs, On The Move has offered a community-based point of view that challenges our elected officials and holds the MBTA board and administration accountable to think outside the box.
To Read More of the OTM Official Statement, click on this link On_The_Move_Scenario_3_Statement
MBTA unveils 23 percent fare hike; limited service cuts also proposed
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff
Get ready to dig deeper to ride the MBTA.
Riders on the public transit system would pay an average of 23 percent more and most service cuts would be spared under a budget-balancing plan announced this morning by the T.
The changes, to take effect July 1, are significantly less severe than the two proposals unveiled by the T in January and widely criticized at hearings throughout Greater Boston in recent months. Those proposals would have relied entirely on fare increases and service cuts to make up the $160 million deficit the MBTA faces for the upcoming budget year.
Instead, the T hopes to use $51 million in one-time funds from the state’s motor vehicle inspection program to soften the blow on transit riders, Secretary of Transportation Richard A. Davey said. Other sources — including $7 million in leftover snow and ice money from the mild winter, and an unexpected $5 million from a deal to lease the North Station parking garage — help reduce the amount that will need to be made up by transit riders to about $90 million, Davey said.
Davey warned in a news conference that the plan was just a one-year fix — and that more unpopular decisions could be ahead.
“I can’t emphasize enough this is a one-year solution. And all things being the same, we will be back in the same position a year from now, looking at service cuts and potentially more fare increases,” he said.
He said the debt service costs on the T’s billions of dollars in debt were rising, along with such costs as employee health insurance and providing service to the disabled. Fare revenue cannot keep pace, he said.
Under the plan unveiled today, subway riders using a CharlieCard would pay $2 instead of $1.70 — an 18 percent increase — while bus riders using the prepaid card would pay $1.50 instead of $1.25, a 20 percent hike. A monthly bus and subway pass would rise to $70, from $59.
Students and seniors would still pay discounted fares, but their discount would shrink. And fares for The Ride, the door-to-door service for the disabled, would double from $2 to $4 for riders in the region’s inner core while rising to $5 in a new “premium” area in outlying suburban neighborhoods, Davey said.
Instead of deep cuts to service, the T will eliminate four of its nearly 200 bus routes and reduce runs on 14 additional bus routes. It will also eliminate weekend service on three commuter rail lines, Greenbush, Plymouth/Kingston, and Needham.
But the T will largely preserve threatened ferry service and will continue running the Green Line’s E Line trolley to Brigham Circle on weekends — stopping short of Heath but not eliminating it, allowing riders to reach the Longwood Medical Area and nearby art museums — Davey said. Ferry fares will be raised about 35 percent, and the Quincy boat will be eliminated on weekends, with the goal of ending public subsidies for the ferry lines but keeping them operating.
“We’ve spent the last two months out at 30 hearings listening to customers, and our proposal I think reflects what we’ve heard from our customers,” Davey said. “Overwhelmingly, we heard from folks that they were opposed to cuts in service, and we should really look to try to minimize cuts as much as we could — but at the same time realizing the fiscal realities that many customers said they would pay a little more to maintain service.”
Governor Deval Patrick told reporters at the State House that he agreed the plan was a one-year fix and vowed to put the MBTA’s problems at the top of the legislative agenda next year.
“This is neither a permanent nor a comprehensive solution,” he said. “The T will be back in this situation next year.”
“I don’t favor short-term patches,” he said, adding at another point, “This solution is all about patches and plugs.”
Patrick would not offer any suggestions for how to fix the problem, saying, “I’m going to reserve my judgment on what the best solution should be.”
The T last raised fares Jan. 1, 2007. The coming increases — which still need approval from the MBTA board — would keep T fares competitive with those in other major cities, Davey said.
The transfer from the vehicle inspection fund would require the Legislature to tweak a state law that requires that money to be spent on motor vehicle air quality; the money is a surplus remaining from when the inspection sticker was raised to $29, with most of the fund invested in modernizing motor vehicle inspections, Davey said.
“As we read the statute, we didn’t believe the MBTA fell under that, but frankly I can’t think of any other better air-quality improvement than getting people on public transportation and out of their cars. So we believe this is an appropriate use of that surplus, to at least give the MBTA fiscal flexibility to keep service running,” he said.
The T also for the first time will ask Ride customers to volunteer information about the nature of their trips, a move the MBTA has been reluctant to make in the past for legal reasons. But some of those trips are medically related and could be eligible for federal Medicaid reimbursement, a move that could yield $5 million but would require legislative action to allow the MBTA and the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services to coordinate on the matter, Davey said.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeMoskowitz.