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T fare increases will lead to service improvements: MBTA general manager

Steve Poftak says latest fare hikes necessary ‘to keep improving the customer experience’

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The latest round of T and commuter-rail fare increases are necessary to improve service, according to Steve Poftak, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The cost of a subway ride on the T would increase 15 cents, to $2.40, and the cost of a local bus ride 10 cents, to $1.80, under a proposal that MBTA officials broached in January. The pending move—which would be the fourth time since 2012 that the MBTA has raised fares—has proved understandably unpopular, and has even set off calls for making the T fare-free in many cases.

But an increase of some sort by this July seems likely. And Poftak used a Globe op-ed on February 25 to make the MBTA’s case for yet another rise in riding costs. Basically, it boils down to the agency really needing the revenue in order to improve service.

Modestly raising fares is part of the T’s strategy to invest in our workforce and our assets, and to improve service, with the goal of accelerating the pace of change to finally produce the system that T riders—and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth—need and deserve.

What’d you think? Will raising fares again and again—however modestly—really effect the sort of infrastructure change the T and commuter rail need?