MBTA Ride users cut back on food, hygiene, trips to afford fare: Study

There has been a 18 percent decrease in RIDE customers since June 1, when fares more than doubled for people with disabilities. PHOTO CREDIT: metro-magazine.com
There has been an 18 percent decrease in Ride customers since June 1, when fares more than doubled for people with disabilities. Credit: metro-magazine.com

A majority of MBTA Ride users who make less than $2,000 per month have cut back on food, personal grooming and transit trips after fares increased last July, according to an overdue state study into the impacts of the fare hikes on the elderly and disabled in Massachusetts. 

The Ride, a door-to-door para-transit service mandated by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, served 31,247 users in fiscal year 2012, which ended on June 30, 2012.

When the MBTA increased fares by an average of 23 percent across the board in 2012, fares on the Ride increased 100 percent, from $2 to $4, with a new $5 premium charge for late-scheduled trips or visits to a “premium service area.”

About 60 percent of respondents to a state survey said they make fewer transit trips, 40 percent use the Ride less often, and out of the 11.4 percent of respondents who have jobs, nearly 24 percent said they have changed their work hours.

Asked about impacts of the fare increases on their finances and quality of life, 17.6 percent said they have cut back on their medications and 22.3 percent said they have skipped payments or made partial payments for utilities or phone bills, and 71.5 percent of survey respondents said they have less spending money.

Users who qualify for the program can schedule Ride for trips from door to door.

For every trip on the Ride, seniors and people with disabilities take 12 trips on bus and train.

The higher fee impact was generally felt more acutely by survey respondents under the age of 65 and those who have an income of less than $2,000 per month. Sixty-six percent of respondents making under $2,000 made fewer transit trips compared to 39 percent of those making more than $2,000 per month.

In 2012, the MBTA discontinued Charlie Cards for Ride participants, which granted unlimited free travel on the “fixed route” system of subways and bus lines. Although the program stopped, 1,600 of those cards are still in circulation and “fixed route” travel for those riders increased 13 percent, or 352,298 trips, in fiscal year 2013.

The study, conducted by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Office on Disability, surveyed 858 participants, including 665 Ride users selected at random. More than 70 percent of the respondents were female and about 64 percent were over the age of 65.

The study, dated Sept. 9, was due Jan. 1, according to the 2012 bailout law that sent $49 million to the MBTA and required the study.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sep. 3: 'Houdini,' 'Colbert'…

Watch "Homeland" star Mandy Patinkin on "The Colbert Report."

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Gossip

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth apparently love each…

Miley Cyrus may have broken off her engagement to Liam Hemsworth almost a year ago, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still have feelings for…

The Word

The Word: Charlize Theron isn't perfect, so stop…

We've been thinking a lot about famous women's bodies this week, obviously, so here's some food for thought to go with all that virtual ogling.…

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Style

5 minutes with..Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff on her Spring '15 show.