Waltham City Council Rails Against MBTA Service Cuts And Fare Hikes
Council urges residents to attend public hearing on MBTA proposals.
With major cuts and service hikes looming for MBTA service, the Waltham City Council last night railed against the MBTA’s plans saying it would hinder residents’ ability to get around and force the dig deeper into their pockets for transportation.
The council unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Waltham’s state legislators and Gov. Deval Patrick to find a way to close the MBTA’s $161 million budget gap without imposing fare hikes and service cuts, which would drastically impact Waltham.
Under the MBTA two proposed scenarios, much of the MBTA’s service to Waltham would be eliminated.
IMPACTS OF MBTA PROPOSAL
- The proposal would cut the Route 554 bus which, services North Waltham, according to City Councilor George Darcy. “So now, no one on Trapelo Road east of Lexington [Street] will get service. Well, that’s just great,” Darcy said.
- City Councillor Edmund Tarallo said the city would still have to pay its annual $1.2 million subsidy to the MBTA, even if the cuts and fare hikes were approved.
- Also, lack of bus service would force some residents to use THE RIDE, the MBTA’s program that has cars transport people to their destination. The service is typically reserved for handicapped customers. Under the proposal, the RIDE fare would jump to $12 per trip, up from $2.
- Service cuts and fare hikes would also result in additional traffic on Waltham’s streets and overcrowding on the Commuter Rail line that runs through the city, said, City Councillor Robert Logan, who takes an MBTA bus to his job in Boston each day.
- City Councillor Joe Vizard, who regularly uses MBTA buses, said the Waltham bus routes are routeinly packed each day, said the proposals would force people to drive into Boston and then pay high parking rates leaving less money to provide for their families. “We need to do everything we can to urge the legislature,” to avoid approving the cuts and fare hikes.
- City Councillor Thomas Curtin said service cuts or fare hikes could lead to more motorists driving under the influence of alcohol because they would have no alternative option to driving.
WAYS TO ADDRESS PROBLEM
- Logan said there are three ways to address the MBTA’s budget gap — fare hikes, service cuts or state legislators approving additional funding for the MBTA. “There needs to be increased financial support from the state,” Logan said, noting the MBTA can’t force the state to give it additional funding.
- Logan also urged residents to attend a public forum to discuss the proposal scheduled to be held on Thursday, March 1 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at 119 School St. MBTA officials will be on hand to hear comments.