Statement: MBTA’s fare increases will reduce public transit ridership

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Despite almost universal opposition in public comments, the MBTA will move forward with an average 6 percent rise in fares


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board today approved an approximate 6 percent fare increase for all forms of MBTA public transportation services with the exception of buses. The added travel costs will take effect in July and are the fourth increase since 2012. These increased fares are expected to cause a significant decline in ridership.

Matt Casale, MASSPIRG’s staff attorney, issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed that we will be seeing another MBTA fare increase in July. Boston has the worst traffic in the nation, and transportation is already the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. The MBTA’s own studies show that fare increases reduce ridership. By deterring public transit with this vote, it will be harder than ever to get around the state. In addition, we’ve taken a step backwards in our quest to move around  in a healthy and climate-friendly way. As a commonwealth, we should be doing everything we can to increase public transportation ridership, not the opposite.

The conversation around the MBTA’s fare increase has been frustrating. The Baker administration has been using an age-old tactic — divide and conquer — to place this issue in a false light. According to the the administration, there are three distinct groups — taxpayers, highway users and transit riders — who all have conflicting interests. But these aren’t distinct factions. There is one group: residents of the commonwealth. Dozens of members of the public testified today, with hundreds more turning out to public hearings over the past two weeks, and nearly all of them voiced disagreement with the proposal. They support better public transportation.

“We are well past due for a real conversation about finding new sources of investment for public transportation in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, with yet another fare increase, the MBTA has once again kicked that can down the road.”