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Starts & Stops

Demands for MBTA refunds may pay off

The Porter Square commuter rail station was idled by snow on Feb. 10, a problem that has plagued the transit system.JOSH REYNOLDS/ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

Cameron Pond wants a refund for his monthly subway pass from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority — and he knows he’s not the only one.

Pond, of Saugus, started a petition asking MBTA general manager Beverly A. Scott and three elected officials, including Governor Charlie Baker, for reimbursements for the monthly passes offering unlimited subway, bus, and commuter rail rides.

Just two weeks ago, I reported that the T no longer permits reimbursements or refunds for bad service.

But furor over the transit system has grown amid significant delays and shutdowns in recent weeks.

Last week, Scott told reporters that the public transit agency was reconsidering that policy.


It’s not particularly surprising: The passes can be a significant investment, costing $75 for unlimited subway and bus rides, and from $75 up to $362 for a monthly commuter rail pass.

Pond, who has been commuting on the T regularly since starting college in 2005, said he thought of the idea after hearing Scott say it could take 30 days for normal service to resume.

“When I heard that, I’m sitting here thinking, ‘We’ve got to do something about this,’ ” said the 27-year-old Pond. “I have friends who have to take Ubers to work, and their work isn’t reimbursing them for that.”

In his petition, Pond says he understands that weather can be an issue.

“However, given the relatively complete collapse of the MBTA system during the month of February, gross negligence, under-preparedness (or a complete lack thereof), among other offenses, has created an undue burden on all commuters, but particularly those who are low income, with children, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly,” he wrote.

The petition has a relatively small number of signatures so far, with just 400. But he still hopes he can build enough momentum to get the petition to Scott before she leaves in April.


“We can’t wait for when service starts to return to normal because people start to forget this stuff,” he said. “That’s what we want to prevent.”

Pond may want to submit the petition even earlier. Scott said T officials will present their recommendation on the issue at the March 3 finance committee meeting for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors, which oversees the T.

T to hold series of meetings on future of late-night rides

As the MBTA digs out from the snowstorms that have battered the transit system since late January, the hunt for opinions on late-night service will continue with public meetings next month.

The T plans to hold five public meetings on the subject. The first is scheduled for March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. District Hall at 75 Northern Ave. in Boston.

On the same day, officials will hold a Twitter town hall from noon to 1 p.m. Any Twitter users can take part in the discussion by using the hashtag #latenightservice.

Late-night service hasn’t been on the top of priority lists in recent weeks, but the subject is sure to become a hotly contested issue again as the snow melts and regular service returns to the beleaguered transit system.

The MBTA announced on Feb. 5 that the test run for late service, originally meant to last a year, would be extended until June 19 as officials gather more data.

The T’s failures during the recent record-breaking amounts of snow — which highlighted problems with maintaining some of the decades-old cars — will make the debate for the expensive service an especially heated one.


At Friday’s press conference announcing the creation of a commission to look into the T, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the MassDOT board is making hard choices on the budgets for 2016.

“At some level, we’re kind of throwing out the drafts and starting all over again in light of what’s been going on in the past few weeks,” she said. “Late night is in the mix, but it’s in the mix with a lot of other priorities.”

The other meetings:

March 4

5:30 to 7:30 p.m., State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 1-3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston.

March 9

5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sheraton Commander Hotel, Mount Vernon Room, 16 Garden St., Cambridge.

March 10

3:30 to 5:30 p.m., The Inn at Longwood Medical, Longwood Hall, 342 Longwood Ave., Boston.

March 11

3 to 5 p.m., State Transportation Building, Transportation Library, 10 Park Plaza, Boston.

Nicole Dungca can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.