MBTA fare pass increases limited to once every two years, Pollack says

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/02/02/mbta-fare-pass-increases-limited-to-once-every-two-years-pollack-says/

While Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack sees a distinction between MBTA fares and the monthly passes purchased by regular users, she has no plans to raise pass costs more frequently than fares are allowed to increase.

A 2013 state law limits fare increases on the T to no more than once every two years. Pollack has identified a distinction between fares and the passes, which she describes as “discounts” because they allow for unlimited travel for a flat cost. For regular riders that works out to a smaller cost per-ride.

“I’ve made assurances to both our stakeholders and our legislatures that we have no intention of doing that, and we can address that issue by amending the MBTA fare policy if we’ve left any ambiguity on that point,” Pollack said Tuesday after an MBTA meeting. “But there’s no intention to use the fare-pass distinction to allow for increases at intervals of less than two years. Given how much work it is to raise fares, I cannot imagine that myself or any future leader would want to do this more than once every two years.”

The T has advanced two proposals to increase fares by an average of 6.7 percent or 9.7 percent, and is holding hearings on the subject around the Boston region.

While disputed by members of the Senate and transit advocates, Pollack and others interpret the law to impose a 10 percent cap on biennial fare increases.

— Written by Andy Metzger

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