Dozens of seniors, people with disabilities and allies are expected to gather at the Transportation Building on Thursday at 1 p.m. to demand the MBTA take corrective action to address the sharp decline in Ride use since fares more than doubled July 1.
Ride users and advocates contend that the disproportionate fare increases levied against passengers of The Ride has left many low-income seniors and disabled people stranded. Ridership has dropped by more than 18 percent.
Organized by the Massachusetts Senior Action Council and supported by the Boston Center for Independent Living and Public Transit / Public Good, the coalition will deliver a proclamation to the MBTA Finance Committee in the hopes of spurring discussion of an equitable solution before the MBTA board votes on budget proposals in the coming weeks.
Since the July 1 fare increase, which doubled one-way fares from $2 to $4 ($5 in premium zones), there have been 321,371 fewer rides taken compared to the same period in 2011-12, an 18.7% decrease. Many seniors and disabled people on fixed incomes have been forced to cut back their use of The Ride due to the fare increases. The MBTA, however, has refused to acknowledge the need for corrective action and instead has noted the possibility of additional cuts of nearly $6.5 million to the service.
"The numbers speak for themselves: when the fares went up, ridership went down," said MSAC State President Ann Stewart. "Cutting service when people are already struggling to afford it is not only unfair, it’s inhumane."
The protest is set to take place at the Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, at 1 p.m., and will be followed by a community forum/speak out at 1:30 p.m. in the second floor conference rooms.