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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

T Party Express Faces Cuts

Cuts at the MBTA

Cuts at the MBTA

On Jan.
11, State Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey talked to the
North Shore Chamber of Commerce. According to a Boston Globe

article
, the
MBTA faces potential cuts in service and fee hikes to cover a
projected $185 million shortfall. While the T keeps adding new
commuter rails, the rest of us face increased fares, discontinued
ferry service, no commuter rail service on weekends, no service
after 10 p.m., and reduced schedules for various bus routes.

This is the wrong move for
MassDOT. Carless people take the T more than the car-enabled. It
allows people to get around the city without hopping behind the
wheel of a fossil-fueled, road-choking vehicle. As the owner of
such a vehicle, I’d be happy not to use it during rush hour
provided the T had fast, reliable service, which I am certain will
be any month now.

A large portion of the UMB
community uses the T to get to and from school. We have over 16,000
students and under 3,000 parking spaces. While some parking spaces
are used by two to four vehicles a day, others stay vacant. More
people come to school by way of the Red Line JFK stop or various
local buses than by car and motorcycle.

Dropping service after 10 p.m.
will cut into evening classes on campus, not to mention special
events. People will rush to leave campus before service stops, not
always successfully. Taxis are an expensive alternative. To say
this will increase costs for UMB students would be like saying
Morrissey Boulevard gets a little wet during heavy
rains.

We like to think of Boston as
a world-class city, a destination for businesses, tourists and
students from around the world. Unlike New York City, our biggest
nearby rival, we don’t provide twenty-four hour public transit.
Tell a New Yorker about the T as it is now, and they’ll probably
shut up about the Yankees to pity you. If proposed service cuts go
through, they’ll be torn between laughing at us and offering some
New York City know-how. By the way, if they offer you a slice of
fresh New York City pizza, take it.

MassDOT needs to maintain
roads and rail service around the state, but it will have a much
greater impact on the economy of the Bay State by beefing up T
service. While it can’t do twenty-four hour service like New York
City due to insufficient infrastructure, it should keep service
going for at least 20 hours a day. This will make evening classes,
late-night study sessions and overnight jobs easier for students
who have them.

MassDOT should ask the federal
government for a grant to cover infrastructure expansions while
maintaining affordable, reliable service. This would serve carless
students much better than cutting access to evening and weekend
classes. The T is more of a public service than a business, and its
leadership should treat it that way. If you want to maintain or
improve current service levels, find your state legislator here and send them a
message.

The T should serve the city by
increasing its use and reducing our carbon footprint. Cutting
service would shoot the region in the foot.