Sunday, April 15, 2012

Student Commuters Not Happy With MBTA Fare Decision

On July 1st, the MBTA plans to raise subways fares by 30 cents, bus fares by 25 cents, and commuter rail fares by $1.25. They also plan to reduce and even cut some service to help the massive debt they face. This decision was recently announced after months of speculation. It is the first time in five years that the MBTA has raised its fare prices.

Although it seems like a small amount at first, this increase is going to hurt a lot of commuters. The rough economy already has many people sacrificing so much because of their poor financial situations. One group of commuters that will be very impacted by this price increase is college students. Most college students who commute are already on a tight budget and any increase in fares will add to the financial burden, that college students already have to deal with. In today’s economy a lot of people have to sacrifice to get by, college students are no exception. With the way college tuition has risen in recent years, more and more college students are deciding to stay home with their parents instead of moving out and living on campus or in a near by apartment. A lot of student commuters with cars also made the decision that gas prices are too high to drive everyday and instead use the MBTA. They have no choice but to rely on the MBTA and their services to get to school everyday. 

Eric Alvez, a senior at Northeastern University, commutes from Wilmington, Massachusetts five days a week to Boston. He relies on the MBTA to get to class and without it he wouldn’t be able to attend Northeastern. Eric said, “This increase is a huge deal to me. I not only take the commuter rail but also the green line, which puts another strain on my pocket. Any increase in fare is going to impact a commuter like me. It adds up over time when you start to realize how much money you spend on the MBTA." Eric continued, "I’m on a strict budget trying to get by as it is. I might start walking from North Station all the way to Northeastern to save money instead of taking the Green Line”

Eric is not alone; I asked another student commuter how they felt about the increase in MBTA fares. Leslie Costa is a Boston University student, who commutes from Charlestown a few times a week to get to class. Leslie said, “I think it is ridiculous that the MBTA is going to raise prices at a time like this when so many people are struggling to get by. I already felt like I was spending too much to get to school but this is crazy.” Leslie went on to say, “The problem is I have no choice but to just pay it since I have no other way to get to school.”

As a college student who commutes, I can really understand the frustration that so many people are feeling. I remember when the fare prices were increased five years ago thinking, “Are they going to raise them again after this?” Unfortunately, it seems like they are going to, even though it ended up being five years later. The MBTA does have a lot of debt it needs to get rid of but it is unfortunate its customers are the ones that are going to suffer because of it.

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