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Message from Carroll Center President on Proposed MBTA Service Cuts

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Dear Friends of the Carroll Center for the Blind,

On behalf of the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, I wish to express our opposition to the proposed MBTA service cuts to achieve a Fiscal Year 2013 balanced budget, in particular the elimination of Bus Route 52 which directly serves our students.

Furthermore, we oppose service reductions anywhere in the MBTA system without equivalent alternatives that are a direct threat to those that are blind or visually impaired and our ability to serve our clients and employees.

Public transportation is core to achieving independence, self-sufficiency, and self-fulfillment, the core values of the Carroll Center for the last 75 years, not to mention access to jobs, medical care and other essential elements to one’s quality of life. Once taught to use public transportation, Bus Route 52, connecting to other Bus Routes is used by many of our clients, and employees to travel to the Carroll Center.

I ask each of you to contact your state legislators immediately to urge that the legislature identify sufficient revenue to eliminate the need to cut service and the restructuring of The Ride’s service area on July 1 as planned and to address the structural financial issues faced by the MBTA. We also encourage you to attend any of the remaining public meetings being held by the MBTA and tell your story on how these proposals would impact you directly. We also encourage you to sign the online petition Save the MBTA to show your opposition to this proposal. Bear in mind however, that this crises must be addressed by the legislature and it is essential that you contact your legislators to underscore the irreparable damage that the proposals will have on all people with disabilities, in particular those who are blind and visually impaired.

We find it extremely short-sighted to balance the budget by eliminating service in a time when MBTA ridership is at an all time high. The permanent economic and social impacts of the proposed service cuts are an order of magnitude greater than any relatively small short-term savings that would be achieved.

Service cuts to the fixed route will drive those who are blind and visually impaired from the buses onto complementary paratransit, The Ride. In addition to cutting certain bus routes, the MBTA is fundamentally changing its ADA service area for The Ride to the absolute regulatory minimums, establishing a “Premium” service area for any area that is not within ¾ mile of the closest bus route. The proposed one way fare for this Premium Area is $12 per trip, a 500 percent increase over the existing one way fare. Eliminating Bus 52 would render the Carroll Center in a Premium service area. The premium fare increase for those who use The Ride is disproportionate to all other classes of MBTA riders. This proposed fare is inequitable and without parity.

The MBTA can balance its budget only through fare increases and service cuts. The MBTA has determined that fare increases alone will not raise enough revenue to avert service cuts. Other sources of revenue must be identified.

Sincerely,
Joseph F. Abely, President
The Carroll Center for the Blind

Below, are some key links to reach decision makers in this process.

Dept. of Transportation
MBTA
Find your legislator
Governor Patrick’s Contact Information
Massachusetts Senate President, Therese Murray
MBTA General Manager, Jonathan Davis
MassDot Secretary and CEO Richard Davey
Online Petition – Save the MBTA

Secretary Richard Davey
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza Suite 4160
Boston, MA

The MBTA’s public outreach process continues with the acceptance of public comment through March 1, 2012 electronically at mbta.com or by email at fareproposal@mbta.com
or via mail to MBTA, Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Fare Proposal Committee
and by phone at 617-222-3200/ TTY (617) 222-5146

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