MBTA Authorizes Six Percent Fare Hike Starting July 1

(File photograph courtesy of MBTA.)

Travel on the MBTA’s subway and commuter rail network will cost more starting July 1 after the authority’s oversight board approved a fare-hike plan Monday, securing tens of millions of dollars more in revenue every year that leaders say is necessary to continue service improvements and close a budget gap.

The State House News Service reports increases average about 5.8 percent, but vary by travel type, and the board ultimately agreed to back off earlier proposed increases in bus fares. Under amendments made to the plan during Monday’s meeting, all bus rates as well as various reduced-cost passes will remain level, and the MBTA cannot implement additional fare hikes for another three years, other than changes to accommodate a new automated collection system.

A single ride on the subway will now cost $2.40, up from $2.25, while a monthly bus and subway LinkPass rise from $84.50 to $90. The largest increase by dollars will be on the commuter rail, where monthly passes for the most distant zones will jump by up to $27.75.

Initial projections indicated the higher fares would bring in about $32 million in new revenue for the MBTA, but leaving bus and discount-pass costs unchanged should reduce that total figure to about $29.5 million, officials said Monday. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said she was “confident” the board could find a way to make up the difference.

“I think the Control Board did a very thoughtful job of balancing the MBTA’s need for revenue in order to make the improvements that are customers are calling out for and the impact the increases will have on riders,” Pollack said. “That’s their job, and I thought they tackled it quite rationally.”

As part of Monday’s action, the MBTA also voted to make $10 weekend passes on the commuter rail a permanent option and to seek new partnerships with universities to expand student offerings.

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