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11/22/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

MBTA to cut jobs, raise parking fees, reduce fare evasion


Citing higher unemployment rates and less consumer spending, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority projects a Fiscal-Year 2003 shortfall of $15 million to $18 million. In response, MBTA plans to cut jobs, raise parking fees and curb fare evasion.



The agency anticipates it’ll save $2.5 million annually by cutting 35 executive and administrative positions identified as "non-essential to meeting the authority’s core transportation mission," according to a statement prepared Nov. 21.



By next summer, officials expect to reduce an additional 40 positions through retirements and attrition, bring the total annual savings to $5.5 million.



MBTA plans to add $5.5 million in revenue by increasing parking fees. Parking will cost a dollar more at commuter rail facilities and $0.50 more at rapid transit stations, effective Jan. 6. Parking at Lynn Garage and Hingham Shipyard will cost $2. Officials said parking fee increases were recommended more than two years ago by a Blue Ribbon Committee assigned to examine MBTA’s finances as the agency shifted to a forward-funded budget.



So far, MBTA doesn’t plan to raise fares — but it does expect passengers to pay them. The agency didn’t disclose how much money it might be losing, but MBTA Police are stepping up efforts to reduce fare evasion. Uniformed officers will be positioned at turnstiles in selected stations during peak periods, conducting spot checks for outdated or counterfeit transit passes, checking emergency exits for people entering illegally, and monitoring turnstiles for jumpers or other fare evaders.



Agency officials also expect to save about $4 million annually over the next five years by joining the New England Power Pool and taking advantage of the power market’s deregulation. Through a competitive bid process, MBTA’s board decided to award Dominion Energy Marketing the contract to supply the agency with electricity.


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