Coalition Calls for Swift Action on Low-Income Fares

In the wake of the failure by the MBTA board to create a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders, a popular proposal that garnered overwhelming support in public testimony, the Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls for swift action on providing a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders.

Despite long-standing calls from environmental justice communities, labor groups and others for a low-income fare, the MBTA has refused to advance the Low-Income Fare program, citing budgetary constraints. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls on the MBTA to use a portion of the $500 million it recently reallocated for use on a range of one-time uses to fund a low-income fare pilot. We estimate a year-long pilot would cost $42 million dollars.

“The idea of a Low-Income Fare began for a simple reason: folks were struggling to pay the cost of riding,” said Collique Williams, an organizer with Public Transit Public Good Coalition, convened by Community Labor United, in his testimony to the Board. “The fare had gone up in 2012, in 2014, in 2016, and in 2019. People needed some help to pay the fare and some assurance that the spiraling costs would not continue. Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit, bringing new economic hardships and health risks. The power to bring riders relief lies here with this body.”

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