With public support for change growing, the candidates called on “the MA legislature to make public transit systems equitable and accessible.”
Six Boston mayoral candidates, as well as over 600 Massachusetts residents, signed a petition asking legislators to ensure worker and rider representation on the new MBTA Board and calling for a reduced-fare program for all modes of public transit.
“Massachusetts residents need an MBTA low-income fare system now,” said Lee Matsueda, executive director of Community Labor United, in a statement. Community Labor United convenes the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “Low-income communities have suffered disproportionately during this pandemic, and the public transit system is a critical piece to our recovery. We urge our legislature to create access and affordability for all, and make the low-income fare a reality.”
“We are grateful to the mayoral candidates for coming out in support of measures that will transform and reshape the MBTA for the better,” said Mike Vartabedian, assistant directing business representative of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15, in a statement. “We know that our community members will use our buses, trains, and trolleys in bigger numbers than before. Our goal is to make our public transit systems work for all, and that begins with making the MBTA affordable through a reduced-fare program.”
The petition also asks for new forms of progressive revenue to fund public goods, such as transit.
“Workers and riders are the heart of the MBTA system,” said Jim Evers, president of Carmen’s Union Local 589, in a statement. “As the legislature decides on a new MBTA Board next week, we call on them to make sure the Board and our communities will benefit from worker and rider know-how on the MBTA oversight body. We need a labor representative nominated by the Mass AFL-CIO, and a rider representative nominated by organizations representing environmental justice communities.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.