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The Milton Measure

MBTA-An Important Cause

by The Milton Measure on Thursday, March 8th, 2012
MBTA plans to shut down Milton T

Throughout the world, billions of people use public transportation to get from one location to another. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2009 Boston ranked fourth among U.S. cities that use public transportation to commute to work every day.

However, this year’s cuts to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (M.B.T.A.) budget are threatening the very mode of transit on which most Bostonians rely. The M.B.T.A., with its new budget of $161 million, must reduce spending this coming year. So far, policymakers have proposed two solutions for public discussion: either increase fares by 43% and remove 60 bus stops, or increase fares by only 35% and cut 200 bus stops, while reducing the length of 11 additional routes.

Both options include ending ferry routes, weekend trains after 10pm, and, most importantly for Milton Academy students, weekend service on the Mattapan line and the Green line E branch. Neither option seems to have garnered a positive reaction from the public. The M.B.T.A. has assured the public that these options might not come to fruition; these proposals only test how the public will react to the prospect of higher fares and reduced service. In the most severe case, the M.B.T.A will lose 17% of its riders, or 94 million rides every year. Unfortunately, the lower service option eliminates 500 jobs, while the higher service one eliminates an astounding 200.Furthermore, even the strongest opponents of the measure acknowledge that the M.B.T.A. is facing a massive financial deadline: a projected $185 Million structural budget deficit.

The problem does not lie in the M.B.T.A.’s  decision to hike fares, but in the emphasis it places on cutting routes, any of which are vital for commuters and residents alike. In its proposals, the M.B.T.A. has failed to consider the people affected by restricted access to public transportation. Reducing service so drastically will severely inconvenience those who cannot afford private transport; though Boston is known for its biking, many distances cannot be traveled efficiently without faster means. In particular, eliminating the Mattapan line hurts those living in Milton and Mattapan, including members of the Milton Academy community. Many Milton Academy boarders use public transportation during the weekend to visit Boston.

Without the Mattapan line, they will have to walk to the Ashmont station two miles away from campus. Most students do not have the option of taxis, as taxi fares are often expensive, especially for those who visit Boston frequently. Because of the major repercussions this budget change could have on Milton Academy students, we, as an institution, should protest the M.B.T.A.’s proposals, perhaps by signing a petition or even by participating in demonstrations, the most popular means of protest. People from various areas of Massachusetts have stood together against the specter of higher prices and less service. To have an effect on the situation, however, we need to formulate an alternative solution targeting the main causes of this budget cut: the recession, the increases in the M.B.T.A.’s operating costs, and debt from the construction of the Big Dig. If Milton Academy takes this next step in a respectful but direct manner, the M.B.T.A. will find it difficult to ignore our protests.

A few hours spent on fighting the poor options the M.B.T.A. has proposed could save Milton students hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars. Before the M.B.T.A .produces a finalized budget on July 1st, I encourage all of you in the Milton Community, whether you are a student or a faculty member, to voice your opposition to the M.B.T.A.’s proposal.



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Posted by The Milton Measure on Mar 8 2012. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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