We need to think about all residents in Boston: the drivers, cyclists, the pedestrians, and those who take public transportation. The cost of transit should never prohibit economic empowerment. Continuous increases in fare prices, in addition to inequitable service and accessibility across Boston’s communities, has discouraged many working people from relying on the T. As a City Councilor, I plan to work with my colleagues to make sure that public transportation is reliable and accountable to the people of Boston.
Removing Barriers to Access
The current push for free public transportation is an important step in addressing the transit issues facing Boston. Bold policy solutions like Free T for All bring attention to the very important financial barriers facing residents across the city and we must continue that push. We must address the inequities in our T through a holistic lens – understanding that a free T will not address all the inequities of its infrastructure. We need to move beyond the push towards a free-T-for-all, focusing on the many needs of the families who live in neighborhoods that are already experiencing inequities in our city’s transportation infrastructure.
While we work towards a Free-T-for-All, I will prioritize increasing financial access to public transit as well as expanding our T lines and bus routes into communities that do not yet have easy access. I will make use of local revenue and resources to affect change on the municipal level as well as use the platform of City Council to demand action and accountability from the MBTA and our state government.
We need to do more not only to encourage residents onto the T but also out of their cars. I support current state-level legislation which would introduce congestion pricing in Boston’s tolls and tunnels, with higher rates during peak hours of traffic.
Economic Empowerment through Transportation
The endless fare increases for public transportation has driven many economically disadvantaged people away from the MBTA. That is why I support implementing a pilot program to lower fares for bus routes within low-income neighborhoods. I also believe that we should extend more free passes to seniors as well as students. The recent decision to provide M7 cards to all students is a good first step. I will advocate that we go further and provide M7 cards year round to students to increase access to work and summer programs.
Making our Roads Safer
The most efficient way to reduce road fatalities is to get people off of the roads and onto public transportation. I support the introduction and expansion of bus-only lanes and median-separated bike lanes throughout all of Boston, which will help improve cyclist and pedestrian safety and enable more residents with an efficient and green commute.
Boston is bearing the economic and transit access brunt of Governor Baker’s fixation on cars and other unsustainable forms of transportation. This is not just a public transportation issue, but also a public safety issue. I support bringing back late-night T service. We need to start thinking about late-night riders in Boston who may otherwise have no other access to safe, reliable transportation. I will work alongside T operators to ensure that this initiative considers workers’ safety as well as riders.