More than 200 concerned residents and users of public transportation packed into the Winthrop Senior Center Monday night at 6 p.m., to speak out against the proposed fare increases and service reductions that MBTA officials are considering in order to close a $161 million operating deficit in the MBTA budget.
Among the cuts being proposed by the MBTA, in one of two scenarios for dealing with the deficit, the Paul Revere Bus line service connecting Winthrop residents to the Blue Line station at Orient Heights, Logan Airport, and beyond would be completely eliminated.
Residents who spoke out against the cuts also voiced concern over the proposed fare increases, particularly for the The Ride, which serves elderly and disabled riders, many of whom are on fixed or limited income due to their age or physical challenges.
Joining the throng of concerned MBTA riders were local elected officials, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo, State Senator Anthony Petrucelli and Council President Peter Gill, all of whom addressed the crowd and T officials and indicated their willingness to work with the T to find alternatives for closing the budget gap, which do not include the elimination of the Winthrop service.
The service, noted Speaker DeLeo, â€œgives people in this town the ability to (get to) work.â€
While Senator Petrucelli told the crowd, â€œelimination of the bus service to the town of Winthrop is unacceptable to the economic well-being of the town . . .and I do not believe for one second that bus service will be eliminated in town.â€
Josh Robbins, a T spokesperson who mediated the hearing and works in General Manager John Davisâ€™ office, noted that the T will accept public comments via email and letter until the two fare and service change scenarios are presented to the MBTA Board of Directors in March.
To send your comments to the MBTA, email at
[email protected] or mail them to MBTA Fare Proposal, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116.
The MBTA Board of Directors is expected to vote on fare and service changes at its April board meeting, with all changes scheduled to take place by July 1, 2012.