transport funding

Podcast 29 - Transit Advocacy with Rafael Mares from the Conservation Law Foundation

We're joined in studio by prominent Boston transit advocate Rafael Mares, Vice President and Director of Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice for the Conservation Law Foundation. CLF has been instrumental in improving access and mobility for MBTA users, including holding the state to transit project commitments they've tried to wiggle out of.

We discuss the current state of transit operations and investment, the Control Board and politics, the fate of long-awaited projects such the Green Line Extension, the Big Dig legacy, and much more. This episode was recorded on May 16 in the studios of WMBR 88.1 FM in Cambridge, engineered by Scott Mullen.  Find Rafael Mares online at @RafaelMares2 or CLF.

TransitMatters advocates for fast, frequent, reliable and effective public transportation in and around Boston. As part of our vision to repair, upgrade and expand the MBTA transit network, we aim to elevate the conversation around transit issues by offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think: connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña @DigitalSciGuy, Scott Mullen @mixmastermully or email us here.

Podcast 24 - Rich Davey, Former MBTA GM & Secretary of Transportation

Former MBTA General Manager and MassDOT Secretary, Rich Davey joins us to reflect on his experience and share insight into the current challenges and opportunities facing the T.

Why has the service become so unreliable? Will we ever plan for and implement system upgrades? How can we better use our existing services and resources? Are the labor and management needs being met? How can the T communicate more effectively as well as advocate for itself and the needs of riders? Can we do effective regional planning and forge a working relationship with advocates and cities? How do we raise revenue, and should that be a priority? We finally put to rest the argument over the word annual: whether fares are legally allowed to rise by 5 or 10 percent. And much more.

Prior to running the MBTA, Rich Davey was the General Manager of the Commuter Rail operator. We talk about activating the Fairmount Line and some other ways to improve the Commuter Rail. How might more effective regional planning enable the Commuter Rail to address local and regional transportation challenges?

Transit Matters is a non-profit organization working for fast, frequent, reliable and effective transportation in Boston by elevating the conversation on transportation. By offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media, we can achieve a useful and effective transportation network because Transit Matters.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think: connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña @DigitalSciGuy, or email us here.

Podcast 22 - MBTA Raising Fares Again, Overtime Lies, Challenges and Opportunities

The MBTA fare increase proposals (presentation, summary) are unnecessary and not even helpful in closing the budget gap. This is the latest example to the way the Fiscal & Management Control Board is using misleading statistics to support an ideological agenda that has never worked. What happened to being visionary and taking a fresh look?

Short of major investment -- which is needed more than ever -- many simple changes could improve the user experience and help alleviate capacity constraints. For example:

  1. The transfer policy could allow unlimited use within 2 hours (instead of the current one-transfer limit) to offer new options for shorter trips, increase ridership, reduce congestion downtown and save money.
  2. All-door boarding on buses and trolleys means faster trips, more frequent service, lower fare evasion and operating cost savings.
  3. Expanding Zone 1A on Commuter Rail to all Boston stations as well as Waltham and Lynn would offer fast service for thousands of low-income riders while reducing operating costs.
  4. Many low-cost changes such as upgrading bus stops, stations and terminals would improve service quality and increase ridership.

UPDATE: See our Fares & Service fact sheet (the longer version is here).

All this and more in this week's show, recorded in the WMBR studio at MIT in Cambridge. Marc offers some insights from this year's TransportationCamp DC on how regional governance could address some of our management challenges, and former T General Manager Beverly Scott was there. We hear a little bit from the growing transit advocacy network, as organizations like TransitMatters start to pop up in cities across the country.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews with transit advocates and more. By offering new perspectives, uniting transit advocates and promoting a level of critical analysis normally absent from other media, we can achieve a useful and effective transportation network because Transit Matters.

Like what you hear? Share it around, tell your friends and colleagues, and subscribe to the blog and podcast (on iTunes) to be notified of new posts and episodes. Support our work by becoming a member, making a donation or signing up to volunteer because we can't do this alone. Let us know what you think by connect with TransitMatters on Facebook or Twitter. Follow Jeremy Mendelson @Critical Transit, Josh Fairchild @hatchback31, Jarred Johnson at @jarjoh, Marc Ebuña at @DigitalSciGuy, and or email us here.

Transit Funding Panel sponsored by Budget For All MA

On October 24, 2015, Budget For All hosted a discussion on the state of transit in Eastern Massachusetts and strategies to achieve increased state and federal funding for the MBTA and other public transportation services.

TransitMatters believes that while cities should prioritize MBTA operations to make them faster and more efficient, our region is in desperate need of major transit investments to keep pace with soaring population and employment and rapidly growing ridership. These service improvements are not possible without significant additional revenue.

Find the audio files below, and see the full agenda here. My comments, about 22 minutes into Part 1, focuses on existing conditions and our vision for transit in Boston, then we answer some questions.

NOTE: If you don't see Parts 2 & 3, visit transitmatters.info/podcast.

Let us know your thoughts, ideas and suggestions, and get involved with Budget 4 All or Transit Matters to join the fight for high quality public transit for everyone. Feedback? Use the contact form, email feedback@transitmatters.info or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Podcast 12 - MBTA Panel Report

We debate the recent MBTA report (PDF | Globe) commissioned by Governor Baker. Is it accurate? Are it's recommendations sound? What will happen now? Will we find new revenue sources and ways to improve transit, or will riders be forced to pay more for the same lousy service? These questions and many more from your trusted transit enthusiasts.

We'd love to hear what you think of the report. Did one of us get it completely wrong? Send us your questions, comments and ideas for topics or guests  Or share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Transit Matters Podcast is your source for transportation news, analysis, interviews and more. We focus on sustainable transportation planning, operations and policies in Boston and beyond. Transit Matters is a joint project of local transit advocates Marc Ebuña, Jeremy Mendelson and Josh Fairchild.

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Looking for more transit content? Check out the redesigned Critical Transit with a full archive of past shows.

Legislators ride the T. Will it make a difference?

Yesterday 47 out of 200 state legislators rode some type of MBTA service as part of an advocacy push being called "Gov On The T". Governor Baker is skiing in Utah this week.

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:

Podcast 11 - Transit Polling with Rich Parr of MassINC

MassINC Polling Research Director Rich Parr shares his recent work and perspectives on what people think about the transportation dilemma in Boston. After the MBTA collapsed, a follow-up poll showed a dramatic increase in perceived important of transit, and most people now recognize that the region suffers without good transit. Still nobody can agree on how to fix it, and myths such as wasteful spending and mismanagement continue to lower the discourse.