When I’m not at school here in North Adams, I’m back east in Leominster. I have always considered my bustling city a part of “Eastern Mass.”, and not central like our library system seems to think, because the Fitchburg/South Acton line of the MBTA commuter rail runs through my neighborhood.
Back in January, there began talks of cutting certain services on the weekends and increasing fees. I began to worry that my direct line into the city may be in danger.
However, in an article released yesterday by the Boston Globe, the MBTA has made an official decision to cut certain services and increase fees starting July 1.
The Fitchburg/South Acton line has been spared, but instead three other lines are cutting weekend service: Greenbush, Plymouth/Kingston, and Needham. In addition, it will completely eliminate four of its 200 bus routes and reduce 14 others.
For reasons that I do not completely understand (there’s a reason I’m not an Economics major), in addition to cutting lines the MBTA will also be raising fares. Charlie Card users (the plastic, reusable cards) will now have to spend $2 per fare, an 18 percent increase from the former $1.70. Prices for the commuter rail and bus rides will also increase.
So why all the changes?
The MBTA has projected that in the upcoming fiscal year, the amount of money they will take in from fares will be close to $180 million less than what they will spend to run the trains.
I guess it just shows that all the people who commute daily, the college students who use the T to get around campus, and the hoards of people who flock into the city for sports events cannot compete with the rising costs of gas and maintaining the aging train cars.
But fear not, fellow MBTA riders, MBTA Manager John Davis says that this is only a temporary setback, and that by July 2013 the fees and services should return to normal.