MBTA chiefs buried report warning against steep disabled fares hike — but why?

Help fund the investigation

Written by Shawn Musgrave

In July, the MBTA hiked fares for “The Ride” 100 percent and enacted service changes some say are aimed at reducing ridership. With disability advocates questioning the agency’s motives, very little information was available about how the decisions were made.

More troubling, a commission report to study MBTA services for disabled urged against the hikes — and then was buried for months until the hikes were already implemented.

Three weeks after the fare increases went into effect, Governor Deval Patrick’s commission finally, quietly issued the report that advised against many of the changes.

The report in large part came out against the MBTA’s actions, prompting even more questions about why the report wasn’t issued months before, when it was largely finished and required by law to be issued. With many questions surrounding The Ride fare increases unanswered, MuckRock submitted public records requests to the MBTA for internal documents, in hopes of uncovering the agency’s rationale behind the hikes.

The MBTA and Governor Patrick’s office have responded to four of MuckRock’s public records requests with hefty price estimates — and a lot of potential documentation. In total, they have nearly 4,000 pages of internal memos, emails and reports related to fare hikes on The Ride, proposed changes to The Ride and the commission report.

But these documents come with a steep price tag: $1,921.00.

Your support to obtain these documents through our spot.us campaign will shed light on the MBTA’s justification behind sharply increasing fares for disabled riders.