Spring has sprung today for transit as NYC MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast announced a small donation of snow fighting equipment and the Governor announced a commitment of $30 billion over 15 years to drastically upgrade the MBTA's infrastructure and equipment.
The comments from those using Commuter Rail were reflective of the issues we've been dealing with for decades, though unfortunately many seem to take aim at the T as if every problem is simply a management failure. For example:
After a historic month of MBTA service delays and suspensions, many riders, politicians and media figures are asking the T to refund money to February monthly pass holders. What form would rebates take? Should the T use very limited funds for this purpose? Is a refund even helpful, or does it simply shift focus from fixing T infrastructure to blaming T management?
Episode 11 guest Rich Parr, Research Director for MassINC Polling, sticks around with Jeremy and Marc to debate the rebate hot potato.
UPDATE: Yesterday the MBTA announced they would be offering a free fare day in late April and discounts on May passes. More business as usual: blame T management for political problems.
The collapse of Boston's long-neglected transit system has dominated the news this week along with calls for more MBTA funding, but no action has been taken and the General Manager unexpectedly quit after receiving a unanimous vote of confidence. The city remains gridlocked and our only "solution" has been to truck snow out to the suburbs. Governor Baker called for another study to reach the same conclusions as all the previous studies. No amount of "reform" or new management is going to make up for inadequate revenue, and if the state continues to neglect the lifeblood of our economy, perhaps cities will be forced to unite in taxing themselves. There may also be some real estate revenue opportunities. We debunk myths about system expansion, transportation inequity and other uninformed opinions people are spouting in the media and on Beacon Hill.
For now, an emergency transit plan is needed. We're talking immediate and radical changes, working with the state and other cities to have a transportation plan so that the city can keep moving when the T fails (which we know will continue to happen). The trials of the past month should make clear how the T impacts everyone in the region, not just riders, and can be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate transit priority measures that we should have all the time. Currently suburbanites can drive into downtown faster than many Boston residents can get downtown; we think that needs to change.