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July MBTA ridership grows despite fare hike

Susanna Hey/MBTA

Ridership on MBTA routes increased, despite the agency raising fares in early July.

The MBTA saw its sixth consecutive month of increased ridership in July even with a fare hike that took effect the start the month, officials said, adding that the system collected a record $624.4 million in revenue during the recently concluded fiscal year.

Ridership grew in July across the MBTA network, including on buses, subways, ferries, and commuter trains — despite a 5 percent increase in fares. Last month, average weekday passenger trips were estimated at 1.2 million, nearly 3 percent above July 2013 figures.

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Weekends also got busier. Saturday ridership was 3.6 percent higher in July 2014 than July 2013, and Sunday ridership increased by 1.4 percent.

Because of the increased ridership, fiscal 2014 revenues were 2.1 percent higher than the year before. Overall, the T collected revenues this year that exceeded total expenses by $14.2 million.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said in a statement that money goes directly to the T’s Capital Maintenance Fund to pay for “much-needed repairs and upgrades to our aging infrastructure.”

It was not clear whether the newly added late-night weekend subway service was responsible for all or part of the increased ridership on weekends, but MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo called that a “reasonable assumption.”

Pesaturo said the late night service has seen just over 460,000 riders between 12:30 and 3 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays since it began in late March.

July was the busiest month in two years for ferry service, with an average of 6,800 riders per weekday.

The MBTA has been pushing to increase revenue and cut costs in recent years. The system faced a $118 million shortfall for fiscal 2014.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.
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