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Walsh calls for delay in fare hike, local seat on T board in the wake of T derailments

THe MBTA Red Line at JFK/UMass station.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Monday called for a delay in the MBTA’s planned fare increase as well as local representation on the agency’s oversight board following last week’s Red Line derailment, which was the second train derailment for the T in June.

Walsh made the calls on Twitter as T officials gathered for a board meeting and discussed the status of the repairs.

Walsh said no fare increase should take place before Red Line fares are completed, but officials at the meeting threw cold water on the idea. State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said it was “not the correct gesture.”


T board chairman Joe Aiello said, “The broader fare increase, I think, is too much of a blunt instrument to roll back at this point.”

Later Monday, Walsh argued that Boston residents don’t have a say in the T’s management despite being “most impacted by the failures” of the system.

The Red Line is continuing to operate at a reduced level as crews work to repair extensive damage caused when a train derailed last week. The train struck multiple structures housing signal equipment outside of JFK/UMass station. Officials have not yet determined a cause.

Though service has resumed, MBTA officials said Monday Red Line passengers should still plan for an extra 20 minutes of travel time and expect trains to run slower than usual.

Steve Poftak, general manager of the MBTA, had dismissed the idea of delaying the fare hike at a press conference on Friday, calling it a process that has “been long underway.”

But frustrated riders have criticized the increases, and more than 5,000 people have signed a petition to stop the fare hike from taking effect until after the T can make fixes to the entire system.

“The people of Massachusetts deserve a better transportation network that doesn’t put their lives at risk,” a message accompanying the petition said.


Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone also has also spoken out against the fare increase, calling it “unconscionable” in the face of failing service.

A fare increase is scheduled to take effect on July 1. The price of a one-way fare on the subway is scheduled to go up by 15 cents, monthly T passes will go up by $5.50, and fares for monthly commuter rail passes will rise as much as $27.75.

Matt Stout and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed. Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.