It was standing room only as hundreds of concerned T riders cluttered Newton’s City Hall for the first public hearing held by MBTA officials to discuss potential fare increases and service cuts.

Riders were outraged by the two proposals floated by the MBTA, which could essentially kill off hundreds of bus routes as well as Commuter Rail access, while simultaneously pumping up fare prices.

“It’s like a ‘Sophie’s Choice,’” said resident Rick Morin. “What’s the worse of the two evils?”

Morin said the T should “slow their jets” when it comes to implementing service cuts and fare increases because doing both at the same time would be chaotic.

“It seems unrealistic that [riders] can absorb as much change as you are proposing,” he said. “It will create total chaos in the system with both customers and employees.”

 

College student Doris Vincent, 19, said the potential fare increases would force her to move to the Wheelock College campus because it would be cheaper than taking public transportation everyday.

“And if I live there, I will be stranded on the weekends because I can’t take the Commuter Rail home,” she said.

More than 20 public meetings are scheduled through March to garner input from riders before the MBTA Board makes a final decision in the spring.

Some of the changes, if passed, would include eliminating ferries and 101 bus routes.

It would also axe the Green Line’s E train and Commuter Rail trains on weekends, as well as commuter services after 10 p.m.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear

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