The MBTA appears to be backing away from major cuts to public transportation after widespread condemnation from those who depend on the service.
Those who use rail, bus and subway service should prepare to dig far deeper into their pockets to pay fare increases, but major service cuts are less likely, Secretary of Transportation Richard A. Davey told the Boston Globe http://bo.st/wmRkgL.
The agency is seeking revenue from other sources to avoid drastic service reductions, the newspaper reported.
Earlier this month in the auditorium at Lynn City Hall, more than 100 speakers told 'T' officials that MBTA service cuts and fare hikes would deliver a body blow to people across the board: the elderly, working poor, wheelchair bound, Boston bound and business people, alike.
Citizens and elected officials alike took to the microphone and hammered away at familiar refrains.
Among them: eliminating bus routes to Swampscott, Marblehead and Nahant will leave citizens without transportation to doctors' offices and hospitals; to cultural activities; and to work.
Local bus fares for adults are proposed to rise by 40 to 41 percent under one plan but the senior transportation access pass and paratransit services including the The Ride would jump anywhere from 125 percent to 500 percent, according to senior citizen advocates.
Marblehead Selectman Judy Jacobi said in an interview that the MBTA's Scenario 2 would eliminate the 448 and 449 bus routes to the Boston Financial Distric for Swampscott and Marblehead.
It would also cut the 441 Route to Haymarket Square and limit the 442 Route to Wonderland in Revere, she said.
Scenario 1 would nix the 448 and 449 Routes to the Financial District.
Both plans call for eliminating train service from Swampscott after 10 pm on weekdays and all together on the weekend.
The MBTA has held more than 14 public hearings on proposed remedies for its fiscal woes.
They will continue to host hearings and collect public comments before arriving at a final recommendation in March.
The MBTA Board will vote on the plan in April. The changes would take effect July 1.
The proposed cuts and and fare hikes are a result of a financial reckoning the MBTA faces.
That reckoning includes a $163 million budget deficit and a $5.2 million debt.