The Spotlight: Between rising fares and budget increases, Boston’s public transportation system doesn’t seem like it should be short on cash. But the T has shown no signs of being able to deploy its finances appropriately to be able to fix the issues that continue to plague travelers. Is it time to answer with our wallets... and take Bridj or Uber instead?
Know how it feels like the trains are always delayed?Well, it’s because they pretty much are.
In September, both red and orange lines were far from meeting the MBTA’s on-time goal during peak hours.
Although you may do a little better on the blue or silver lines, where (for the same week), on-time rates hover in the mid 80% range.
84%Blue LineOn Time Rate
89%Silver LineOn Time Rate
Wonder about the green line? Yeah, us too. Unfortunately the MBTA is currently reporting 0 data about green line performance.
Are there any improvements in sight?Well, the T’s budget has grown 44% in the last 8 years.
Source: The Boston Globe
MBTA single-ride fare
And, the MBTA continues fare hikes to bring more money into the system.
Source: Boston Magazine
And not just a little bit more money, either. In fact, the price of a one-way subway ticket has increased by 110% since 2000.
Yet even with these fare hikes and budget increases, the MBTA still projects that its annual operating deficit will more than double to almost $430 million by 2020 at it’s current pace.
So where’s all this money going? Well, certainly not to maintenance.The cost to bring the T to a state of good repair is estimated to be more than $7 billion.
Yet despite all this, it’s a shock to see that the ridership on the T is still increasing.
Ridership on the T
Sources: Service and Infrastructure Profile: July, 2005, Ridership and Service Statistics: Eleventh Edition 2007, Thirteenth Edition 2010 and Fourteenth Edition 2014
No wonder we’re starting to see new commuter upstarts like Bridj enter the market!
Databox Spotlights are data-based narratives that share a point of view on a wide range of topics. We highlight the points that matter most in each story, and aim to make them fun, interesting, and useful... or at least one of the three!
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