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The T Is Looking for New Ways to Cut Costs

After expanding its student fare reduction program that decreases revenue, the T is also looking for ways to cut costs.

We know that proximity to a T station dramatically affects real estate value. So to know our city real estate is to know the T, including its financial vitality. Although the T has technically curtailed its revenue by expanding its student fare reduction program, the T is also looking for ways to cut costs. Why?

Well, with annual budget gaps projected to rise to over $400 million by 2020, there’s an urgent need to balance the books. Already, the gap has been slashed by various efforts. Besides the fare hike, new revenue sources from ads rose 32 percent to $31 million in its fiscal year ended in June. And cost trimming to $80 million from the original projected $240 million this year. Boston.com reports that the T has discovered savings to narrow the budget gap by $11--$12 million.

Some of these costs have been quite controversial, as the T proceeds with its plan to cut ties with its contract for cleaning service vendors, resulting in about 75 expected layoffs. According to the Globe, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ officials who represent about 300 janitors who work for T contractors say 76 full-time workers face layoffs. And that’s effective today. The union says that about 24 of them will have a chance to take part-time jobs, and the must accept fewer hours or schedule changes in order to stay employed.

Others are unexpected, such as conducting an audit of its cell phone system. Finding over 500 phones that were not being used, MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve eliminated them. This move will save $325,000 annually over the next two fiscal years.

The T is thinking creatively and boldly. Any other ideas for how the T can improve things? Leave them in comments below.