T Riders Union has come to the rescue – Metro US

T Riders Union has come to the rescue

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … the T Riders Union dressed up as superheroes?

On Tuesday, members of the advocacy group flew to the MBTA’s rescue wearing tights, capes and face masks to present five immediate ways transportation officials could fix the looming $161 million budget deficit without axing services and spiking fare prices.

“The need for a fare increase is a lie,” said one of the superheroes, David Jenkins. “There are alternate solutions [to close the gap]. We are proof of that.”

Calling themselves “The Fast Five,” each member donned a solution on their chest and names like “Massport Hero,” and “UPass Hero,” during a Finance Committee meeting at the state transportation building.

The stunt was yet another way groups have put public pressure on the T to find ways to avoid service cuts and fare hikes.

The faux-avengers’ mission highlighted ideas like using unspent MassDOT snow-removal funds to fix the T’s deficit and allowing Massport to take over operations of the Silver Line and ferries.

In total, the group said their solutions would potentially save the MBTA $224.6 million.

“They are pushing people into a corner when there are other options we can pursue,” said Khalida Smalls. “We’re not here to beat them over the head, we just want our system to be fixed.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear