With a projected $161 million deficit for the next fiscal year, the MBTA on Tuesday announced plans to raise fares and cut services to deal with the budget shortfall. The cuts would affect up to two bus lines that run through Beacon Hill.
The transit authority presented two proposals, both of which would raise the cost of taking the T for passengers while reducing transit options.
One of the proposals, called "scenario 1" in a report issued by the MBTA, relies heavily on fare increases to balance the budget, while the other proposal, "scenario 2," relies more on cuts to service—both proposals increase fares and cut service to some degree.
Under "scenario 2," Beacon Hill would face service cuts to at least two bus lines.
Cuts to bus service in Beacon Hill
In one of the scenarios designed to close the transit authority's budget shortfall—"scenario 2"—the MBTA would cut 101 weekday bus routes, 69 Saturday routes and 50 Sunday bus routes.
As part of that proposal, the MBTA would cut two bus routes that serve Beacon Hill:
Bus 43: Ruggles Station via Tremont and Park
Bus 55: Queensbury Street via Park and Tremont Streets
Under “scenario 1,” which makes fewer bus line reductions in favor of higher fares, Beacon Hill would lose weekend service on the 43 line.
Other service cuts
The MBTA would not make significant cuts to subway service, although it calls for the elimination of weekend service on the Green Line's E branch and on the Mattapan High-Speed Line.
Under both of the scenarios presented by the transit authority, the MBTA would eliminate Commuter Rail service on weekends and on weeknights after 10 p.m. Ferry service would also be eliminated.
One thing is certain: Passengers will have to pay more to ride the T in the upcoming year. Fare increases are part of both scenarios proposed by the MBTA.
At the moment, it costs $1.50 to ride a bus and $2 to ride the subway with a Charlie Ticket, designed for infrequent users of the T. For those with Charlie Card, designed for those who ride the T regularly, it costs $1.25 to ride the bus and $1.70 to ride the subway.
A monthly bus pass costs $40, and a Link Pass, which allows holders to ride the bus and subway, costs $59.
Fares under the MBTA's "scenario 1" would be as follows:
- Bus: $2.25 with Charlie Ticket, $1.75 with Charlie Card
- Subway: $3 with Charlie Ticket, $2.40 with Charlie Card
- Bus pass: $55
- Link Pass: $80
Fares under the MBTA's "scenario 2" would be as follows:
- Bus: $2 with Charlie Ticket, $1.50 with Charlie Card
- Subway: $3 with Charlie Ticket, $2.25 with Charlie Card
- Bus pass: $48
- Link Pass: $78
Seniors and students
In addition, fares for seniors and students also increase under both proposals. Monthly passes for students and seniors would be $40 under "scenario 1" and $39 under "scenario 2." They're currently $20.
For seniors, riding the bus currently costs $0.40. Under "scenario 1," that price would jump to $1.10, and under "scenario 2" it would cost $0.75. The cost of the subway is currently $0.60 for seniors. It would be $1.50 under "scenario 1" and $1.10 under "scenario 2."
Students currently pay $0.60 to ride the bus and $0.85 for the subway. Under "scenario 1," those numbers would be $1.10 and $1.50, respectively. Under "scenario 2," the costs would be $0.75 and $1.10.
The MBTA is seeking feedback on its proposals. The closest hearing to Beacon Hill is is scheduled for Feb. 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the Shriners Hospital Auditorium.