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MBTA could increase fares: BU students consider alternatives

Boston University students may have to choose between trudging through snow on their way to class or forking over an extra 60 cents to take the train due to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s mounting budget issues.

A possible 30 percent fare raise would bring one subway trip to $2.60, according to a March 15 article in The Boston Globe.

The MBTA approved its 2010 budget March 12. The organization’s ‘historically high’ $160 million deficit will force either a fare raise and service cuts or hope state government intervenes on its behalf, according to the Globe.

The MBTA’s revenues declined by $4 million this year and expenses increased by $114 million, increasing the MBTA’s total debt to $5.2 billion, according to documents detailing the MBTA’s budget problems.

‘The probability of the authority solving its structural deficit in Fiscal [Year] 2010 and beyond will be difficult, if not impossible,’ MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis told board members at a March 12 meeting, according to the documents.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email that no specific fare increases or service cuts have been proposed yet. However, MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas announced he has filed’ paperwork required for service cuts, according to a March 23 Associated Press article.

Grabauskas said the MBTA may have to cut evening and weekend services to balance its budget.

Negative reaction to such news is to be expected, Pesaturo said.

‘Traditionally, it is difficult to find a customer who is pleased to pay more,’ Pesaturo said.

School of Management senior Yiyi Xie, who lives in an Allston apartment, said she expects to take the T to work every day after graduation.

‘I don’t care as long as the T pass doesn’t get more expensive, but if it does, I don’t really have a choice,’ Xie said. ‘If it gets more expensive than driving, then I’ll drive I guess.’

College of Arts and Sciences freshman Courtney Nedwick said the MBTA should give discounts to college students.

‘I think the price is not reasonable for students,’ Nedwick said. ‘If high school students can have a discount, college students should too.’

Other students said they understand fares may need to rise.

‘There are a lot of people who just sneak on the train from the side,’ SMG freshman Jesse Hou said. ‘If everyone pays, I think they should probably be fine now. If they raise the price, it will sort of balance out.’

CAS freshman Jacob Slutsky said MBTA subway fare is decent compared to the $2.25 fare in Chicago, his hometown, but he hopes the government will help fill MBTA’s budget shortfall, he said.

‘The government should do more to make public transportation more attractive, maybe tax more on gas or something,’ Slutsky said.

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