The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will enact adjustments to the transit system that may include fare increases and service cuts beginning on July 1, 2012, officials at the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee meeting said.
While the date for the implementation of these changes has been set, the specific details have yet to be finalized.
Senior director of MBTA strategic initiatives Charles Planck announced the date on Monday at the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee meeting at the MBTA Transportation Building at 10 Park Plaza.
He said cuts will not only be deep, but they may not provide significant aid in hemorrhaging the MBTA’s operating budget.
“We are investigating [the] fare increases and service cuts combination,” Planck said to the committee. “In the past, outside resources have been made available by the legislature, but for now we have been charged with finding a solution without outside resources.”
Solutions are still being considered by the MBTA and other parties involved, with a final decision to be made by the end of October.
“We will conclude at the end of the month with the proposals to create a model to predict the impact on ridership, economic justice, revenue and the environment during the model process in November and December,” Planck said.
This model will be announced to the public in January, at which point riders will be able to voice their opinions on the proposed changes, according to the MBTA fare change policy.
Planck said the MBTA takes the ultimate recommendation to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board in March, has a vote to approve it and makes changes to the automated system.
“If there’s significant public input, the MBTA has a couple of weeks to modify before the July date,” Planck said. “There’s room for response.”
Planck said that the MBTA apologizes for the potential negative impact on riders the service cuts or fare increases could have.
“The MBTA doesn’t look forward to any of these things. Any change we make will have some impact,” Plank said. “We recognize that there are pros and cons to all options. We want to make sure we have the best impact on ridership, economic justice, revenue and environmental impact.”
Rider Oversight Committee public member Wig Zamore said that the need for the public to understand the deeper financial issues the MBTA faces is important, along with the need for other solutions.
“Doing a starvation diet just to get us by won’t get the big attention to get solutions,” Zamore said. “There won’t be an instant recovery when money is injected.”
Donna Purin, a public member of the ROC, said she sought the public’s understanding with the nature of transit costs and responsive fare increases.
“We should not have a tendency to over-apologize for a fare increase,” Purin said. “We don’t get super apologies for taxes going up or apologies for the cost of gas going up. We need to get it into our minds that this is what happens.”