Boston Transit Board Approves Low-Income Fare, but Funding is Unclear

The board voted to include the T’s on-demand paratransit service in the discount program, prompting concerns about cost.

1 minute read

April 3, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) board approved a new 50 percent discount for low-income riders on its transit services, including paratransit service, reports Bruce Mohl for CommonWealth Beacon. “Details on enrollment and income verification are still being worked out, but the half-off fare will be available to anyone earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $30,120 for a single person or $62,400 for a family of four.”

T officials expressed concern about including the paratransit program in the discount, which is expected to increase ridership in a system already shortstaffed. The RIDE program is projected to cost “well over half” of the total discount fare program cost. “Gov. Maura Healey in her budget proposal for the coming fiscal year included $45 million collected from the millionaire tax to help pay for the low-income fare in its first year of operation. It’s unclear whether the House and Senate will support that level of funding in the coming fiscal year, let alone in future years.”

According to Brian Kane, the executive director of the MBTA Advisory Board, “the average cost to the T of a RIDE trip in the core service area is $104. Stiehler said the average cost to the T per trip in the core service area is $72, while the current fare is $3.80.”

Thursday, March 28, 2024 in CommonWealth Beacon

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