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Althea Garrison's Agenda

T doesn’t deserve a fare increase

Thursday, March 9, 2006

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority should not be given carte blanche when it comes to fare increases (tax increases) because the MBTA is being run as an incompetent, ineffective entity that is not accountable to the taxpaying public who is paying for all of the MBTA expenses, and the T needs to be held accountable by the taxpayers.

        The MBTA can increase its fares (taxes) at will without any impunity. We were told by General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas when he took his new job that services would be improved, and elevators and escalators would be repaired or fixed promptly. Wrong.
        Elevators and escalators are still constantly broken down and bus transportation is still not running promptly according to the MBTA published schedules. These are decade-old problems that are still not being addressed by MBTA bureaucrats.
        The T isn’t accountable to anyone, and it is allowed to operate ineffectively with inefficiently, thereby causing the T to lose commuters.
        The MBTA should not be rewarded with an increase in its fares for not being accountable and for not operating efficiently in servicing the public. Riders are fed up with this incompetent transportation system that can’t run according to its schedules and refuses to improve service instead of losing riders.
        The governor should consider replacing the general manager for running the transportation system so incompetently.
        When Grabauskas took his job, he made some promises to the public that he would improve the MBTA operations; however, since he has been the general manager nothing has changed.
        I urge all commuters who use public transportation to call Gov. Romney’s office at 617-725-4000, call Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey’s office at 617-725-4000 as well as Grabauskas’ office at 617-222-5176 and let them know that you strongly oppose this increase in MBTA’s fare and let them know that working middle class Americans and others are getting shafted again by this fare increase (tax).
        Since this is an election year, we voters can use our votes to seek relief from this 25 percent fare increase (tax increase). We then can weigh who’s looking out for the working families of Boston and vote accordingly.
        May I suggest to Gov. Mitt Romney that he should abolish the Transportation Finance Committee that he appoints, and appoint a citizenry advisory transportation committee who rides the T.
        The T needs to remain affordable for these working middle-class Americans and other Bostonians who rely on public transportation.
        To the old adage that the MBTA still offers some of the lowest fares in the nation, I say we are not fighting for or talking about what they are paying in New York, Baltimore or California. We are talking about the fare (tax) increase that is being proposed in Boston and the high cost of living in Boston that’s going to affect middle Americans.
        Grabauskas should cut more bureaucrats, administrative costs and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse of the system before seeking an increase in fares or raising taxes so quickly on commuters.
        Furthermore, the general manager should answer the question that as of yet still hasn’t been answered that is how much money was stolen from the counting room in Charlestown and how much money has been stolen by the repairman who was pretending that he was making repairs on the money machines but instead this thief was stealing taxpayers’ coins. I think the MBTA should be held accountable for all that theft.
        In addition, the general manager should raise more revenue through increasing ridership, they could do that by improving public transportation and by more aggressively selling advertising space on all of the MBTA’s property that it owns.
        Althea Garrison