State lawmakers call on MBTA to keep late-night service
Two state lawmakers are calling on the MBTA to keep late-night service in light of a federal rebuke over the agency’s failure to complete a civil rights analysis before reducing its weekend schedule.
Federal Transit Administration officials last week criticized the T after board members voted to end late night service on March 18 without completing a report on how cutting the service would affect minority and low-income riders.
State senators Linda Dorcena Forry and Sonia Chang-Diaz, both Democrats who represent Boston, as well as Diana Hwang, a candidate running for the state Senate, say the T should continue late night service until it has completed that analysis.
“Late night service is not a luxury for many people in my district,” Dorcena Forry, who represents Dorchester and South Boston, said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the fiscal control board would move to end this valuable service without first completing the equity analysis required by federal civil rights guidelines.”
The board voted on Feb. 28 to end late night service, after months of hinting that they found it to be too expensive. The extended hours Saturday and Sunday mornings started in March 2014 as a pilot program.
MBTA officials had initially believed they had to complete a federally-mandated report on whether cutting the service would disproportionately hurt minority and low-income riders, but then changed course and asked for a waiver for the analysis.
The FTA officially rejected that waiver last week, sending a pointed letter that ordered the agency to complete the analysis and revisit the decision.
On Monday, the MBTA’s general counsel, John Englander, said he did not believe the rebuke questioned the agency’s termination of the service.
Officials say they believe they can mitigate the impact of the lost service by improving service on other lines heavily used by minority and low-income riders.