Town leaders spoke out against the that could eliminate some or all of the bus service to Burlington and raise fares for passengers.
There are currently two scenarios put forward by the MBTA, outlined in release on Mass.gov. According to a notice from the Burlington Transit Committee passed out at Town Meeting Monday night, under both scenarios, all funding to Private Carrier and Suburban Bus Routes, which include the Burlington Public Transit system (B-Line) will be eliminated, along with the surrounding systems in Bedford and Lexington.
The impact on Burlington's MBTA service, according to the handout from the Burlington Transit Committee, would be:
- Scenario 1: Raises the majority of needed revenue through fare increases (up to 45 percent) with the remainder of the deficit being covered by eliminating services. Eliminations would include Bus Route 351 (Bedford Woods/Mall Road/Alewife Station) and the Burlington Transit (B-Line) Subsidy.
- Scenario 2: An even split between revenue gains from fare increases (up to 35 percent) and service reductions. Service reductions would include the elimination of the Bus Route 350 (North Burlington/Mall Road/Alewife Station), Bus Route 351 (Bedford Woods/Mall Road/Alewife Station), and Bus Route 352 (North Burlington/Boston). This scenario would also eliminate Burlington's Transit (B-Line) Subsidy.
The Burlington DPW Supervisor John Sanchez explained that the Burlington Transit Subsidy from the MBTA is $80,000 a year for Burlington's in-town bus routes. Town Meeting annually approves $155,000 for the service and the bus routes garner an additional $15,000 or so per year to help pay for the service.
Sanchez said that in Fiscal Year 2011, the Burlington Transit Line provided 25,367 total rides for passengers. If the $80,000 from the MBTA is cut, he said, there could be large impacts on those residents who rely on the bus system if Town Meeting doesn't approve additional funds to cover the loss. This, he explained, may be difficult because the $155,000 expenditure has been a point of argument in previous budget discussions at Town Meeting.
"In the past it has been contentious to get the funding for this portion of the budget," he said. "We did go from three buses to two to save money. If Town Meeting doesn't approve additional funds [if the MBTA cuts go through], that will be an elimination of service, which we don't want to do, but that will be question for them and we'll see what they decide."
Sanchez added that a cut of the in-town bus service would be a blow to those residents who can least afford the difficulty.
"For around-town service, it will be really devastating," he said. "A lot of our customers on local transportation are people who have no other way of getting around. They need the bus to get to work, and without it they will have to find a ride or get a cab, which is more expensive. Also, many people use it to get to the supermarket, the or even ."
Finally, at last night Town Meeting, Town Administrator Robert Mercier and Selectman Robert Hogan encouraged residents with concerns on the MBTA proposals should take action. They suggest residents send concerns to:
Attn: Fare Proposal Committee
10 Park Plaza
Boston MA 02116
Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or residents can call (617) 222-3200.
The MBTA will also be holding the following public workshops if anyone would like more information or to express their concerns in person.
- Tuesday, Feb 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Framingham Town Hall, 150 Concord St.
- Thursday, Feb 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Malden City Hall, 200 Pleasant St., City Council Chambers
- Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Somerville High School Auditorium, 81 Highland Avenue
- Wednesday, Feb. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Cambridge, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Mass Avenue
- Thursday, March 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. - Waltham Government Center Auditorium, 119 School St.
We also want to know what you think about the proposed MBTA cuts. Would they affect you and your commute? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.