Central MA Lawmakers Oppose Commuter Rail Increases

by | Feb 7, 2019 | Commute, Business, News

Central MA Lawmakers Oppose Commuter Rail Increases 1

WORCESTER – Over a dozen legislators from Central Massachusetts have voiced opposition to a fare hike proposal by the MTBA that would effect commuter rail travel from Union Station in Worcester.

According to Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), who is co-chair of the Central Massachusetts Caucus, a bipartisan letter was submitted to the Fiscal and Management Control Board airing their concerns about the proposed increase.

Moore said, “It’s counterintuitive to invest in the cultural and economic development of a gateway city such as Worcester while simultaneously hiking public transit service fares. As the Heart of the Commonwealth continues to grow, the influx of new businesses and entrepreneurs into our community means we must be prepared to support a strong public transportation system.”

The increased fare would go into effect on July 1 and would increase fares by an average of 6.3 percent. A one-way ticket from Worcester to Boston would increase by $0.75 to $12.25.

The MBTA has based the proposed fare increases on the rate of inflation in the Boston area.

“I’m very concerned about the impact this fare increase will have on our community, especially for working commuters and low-income residents,” said State Representative Mary S. Keefe (D-Worcester).  “Commuter rail riders already faced increased parking rates last summer.  We need to encourage people to use our public transit systems by incentivizing their ridership, rather than pricing them out.”

Lawmakers stated that the fare increase would decrease the amount of riders in the area as they look for alternate means of transportation — resulting in further traffic, emission and public safety issues.

Additionally, the legislators expressed concern that none of the public hearings regarding the fare proposal were located in Worcester — which contributes to the second-highest Commuter Rail ridership numbers in the Commonwealth that have increased by 45.7 percent since 2012.  The letter requests that the MBTA hold a public hearing in Worcester prior to the deadline for public comment on February 28, 2019.     

 The Fiscal and Management Control Board is expected to vote on the fare increases during a meeting scheduled for March 11.  For more information on the fare increase, visit: https://www.mbta.com/fare-proposal-2019.

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Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Previous to starting TWIW, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Before that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He can be contacted at [email protected]