The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is struggling to pay down $5.2 billion in debt. The MBTA anticipates that it will have to increase fares by as much as 25 percent, make drastic cuts in service, or lay off employees so that it can pay down the agency’s debt.
One of the key spending issues is the MBTA’s pension and healthcare coverage. This fiscal year, the agency will pay more than $385 million on employee salaries and $170 million fringe benefits. The agency may have to cut services such as the commuter bus and the suburban bus subsidy. Many hope that in light of several MBTA accidents in the past year that the agency will continue to take appropriate safety precautions and train its employees on accident prevention.
These possible cuts come during a time when ridership is reportedly declining. According to an article in the Boston Herald, weekday T ridership was down 1.5% in December compared to December of 2007. Officials attributed to the drop in ridership numbers to declining gas prices and the increasing unemployment.
MBTA faces fare hikes, cuts in service, Boston Globe, February 13, 2009
T ridership boom begins to fall off, Boston Herald, January 31, 2009
Contact a Massachusetts MBTA accident lawyer if you have been injured while riding public transportation.