The MBTA is exploring a reduced fare plan that would cut costs in half for low-income riders, a move that could generate millions of additional trips each year.
The program would target passengers ages 26 to 64 who do not have disabilities and are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level — about $30,000 a year for a one-person household and 62 $000 for a family of four. .
The proposal targets a gap in MBTA’s existing discounted fare programs, which include savings for students, seniors and some passengers with disabilities, explained Steven Povich, MBTA’s senior director of fare policy and analysis. in a presentation to the T’s board of directors on Thursday.
More than 60,000 passengers could benefit from the program, which is expected to generate 7 million additional trips per year, the T said in a press release. The agency estimated the program would cost between $52 million and $62 million, including administrative and operational costs and the loss of some fare revenue.
If the board approves the changes, the discounted rates will begin rolling out in the spring and summer.
“We are incredibly excited about this program, which will make a difference in the lives of residents across the state and provide more affordability, opportunity and access to all MBTA services to residents as they travel throughout week,” Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits said. Nutt said in a statement.
The initiative also drew praise from transit leaders and equity advocates across Massachusetts.
“Introducing a low-income fare program is a big step forward in making the MBTA more affordable and equitable,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, in a statement. “We know the MBTA is a lifeline for thousands of people and this program will make it easier for everyone, regardless of age or ability, to get where they need to go.”
The MBTA also wants to expand the $10 unlimited weekend commuter rail pass to include federal holidays and make some changes for riders who pay with cash. Instead of giving passengers a CharlieTicket with their change, the T will encourage the use of plastic CharlieCards for stored value.
Riders can give their opinion on these proposals at the next eight public meetings.
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