Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: “We can’t afford to run the system we ran before COVID-19.”

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"THE MBTA OVERSIGHT BOARD on Monday began formulating principles to follow as it prepares to cut the transit authority’s operating budget by $300 million to $600 million, with T officials recommending the preservation or enhancement of services that cater to minority and low-income customers without cars and a reduction in low-ridership services such as commuter rail and ferry that tend to serve wealthier people who can more easily find alternative ways to move about.

The discussion at the Fiscal and Management Control Board was fairly vague and lacked specifics – those are coming soon and will be honed over the next few months – but it appears the pre-pandemic discussion about expanding service is giving way to a debate about how best to cut service amid diminished demand.

Steve Poftak, the general manager of the T, said he and his staff want to focus available resources on customers who need the T the most and have either continued to ride the system or are likely to come back soon. “We have to be realistic,” he said. “We’re facing significant deficits.”

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack warned that the cutting process won’t be easy. “This is going to be painful because any conversation about not having enough resources is painful,” she said. “We can’t afford to run the system we ran before COVID-19.”

Continue reading the article online

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