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Disability advocates take heart at revised plan, but huge concern remains

RE “CASH-STRAPPED T proposes 23 percent fare increase’’ (Page A1, March 29): Many people within the disability community take heart at the revised recommendations from the MBTA on fare hikes and service cuts. But problems remain. The jump from $2 to $4 is still inequitable and will hurt some people’s ability to travel. However, we have a huge concern about the establishment of the “premium’’ area in outlying suburbs.

The proposal to implement a premium area would maintain a high per capita cost per trip, be confusing to many people in the premium area, and may prove to be unworkable for many.

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We think there is a better way to shave costs and reduce expenses significantly that has not been considered by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority management. Why damage the T’s national reputation as a model of transit for people with disabilities when there is a better option? That would be a public-private partnership with taxi companies, in which the T would contract with taxi firms within each municipality to provide services to the ambulatory Ride users.

The T could design rates based upon territory (mileage or geography), and tier rates from $12 to $30. This would save significant money from the estimated costs of $50 per Ride. It would also give cab companies the incentive to increase their fleets of accessible vehicles as a way to increase their business. A win for all.

Bill Allan

Policy and advocacy director

Disability Policy Consortium


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