Boston-area advocacy groups are now alleging in a federal complaint that the MBTA violated civil rights guidelines by not considering the impact on low-income and minority riders when it decided to end its late-night service.
In the complaint filed on Tuesday, three groups – the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community and Environment, and the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition – accused the MBTA of using flawed data in its "equity analysis," which is a federally required examination of whether terminating a specific service would affect low-income or minority riders more than the general public, Boston.com reported.
"This use of overly broad population data allowed the MBTA to conclude that the cancellation of late-night service would have no disparate or disproportionate impact," the complaint was quoted by Boston.com.
Concluding that late-night service was not “cost-effective,” the MBTA’s fiscal control board voted to end the service in February, WCVB reported.
Without late-night service, most of the last trips on the T now take place between midnight and 1 a.m. on a daily basis, according to the transit agency's website.
"Some of the T’s most vulnerable customers were affected by the termination of late-night service," Rafael Mares, a vice president with the Conservation Law Foundation, was quoted by the Boston Globe. "The service that’s so important for late-night shift workers has been terminated since March, and nothing else has been put in place."
Despite the complaint, the Federal Transit Administration told the MBTA that their analysis was "properly documented and has met their requirements," MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said to WCVB.