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Commuter Rail trips in trouble

As the T continues to battle fiscal demons, a “bleak” outlook could leadto diminished bus services and cuts to the commuter train schedule,according to General Manager Rich Davey.

As the T continues to battle fiscal demons, a “bleak” outlook could lead to diminished bus services and cuts to the commuter train schedule, according to General Manager Rich Davey.

The GM said “everything is on the table” when discussions about the next fiscal year begin, including a reduction to Commuter Rail services on weekends and after 8 p.m.

“We are trying to close our deficit without a meaningful impact for customers, but in the next four years the deficit grows,” said Davey.

Davey said it could amount to a severe cutback in services over time through a combination of fewer bus trips, or commuter rail shutdowns.

A recent survey released by the American Public Transportation Association revealed eight out of 10 transit agencies surveyed nationwide have cut services or raised fares, or are considering both.

Davey said the T participated in that survey.

“While it would be undesirable to cut services, it’s something we have to consider,” he said.

A spokesperson from the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail, the company that is contracted by the T to run commuter trains, said they share concerns about the dire financial outlook.

In a statement, they said any service cutbacks would be regrettable, but they support the T as it works to find federal and state resources.

Peak-hour train riders can breathe easy, however.

Davey said he “would be loath” to cut those train times and it would be “a last resort.”

“It’s a very difficult position for us to be in,” said Davey. “It’s difficult to be considering service cuts when we anticipate ridership growth.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.

 
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