Fare hikes for subway, rail rides okayed by MBTA Control Board

Travel on the MBTA’s subway and commuter rail network will cost more starting July 1 after the authority’s oversight board approved a fare-hike plan on Monday that will secure tens of millions of dollars more in revenue every year that leaders say is necessary to continue service improvements and close a budget gap.

The increases average about 5.8 percent, but vary by travel type, and the board ultimately agreed to back off earlier proposed increases in bus fares. Under amendments made to the plan during Monday’s meeting, all bus rates as well as various reduced-cost passes will remain level, and the MBTA cannot implement additional fare hikes for another three years, other than changes to accommodate a new automated collection system.

A single ride on the subway will now cost $2.40, up from $2.25, while the cost of a monthly bus and subway LinkPass will rise from $84.50 to $90. The largest increase by dollars will be on the commuter rail, where monthly passes for the most distant zones will jump by up to $27.75.

Initial projections indicated the higher fares would bring in about $32 million in new revenue, but leaving bus and discount-pass costs unchanged should reduce that figure to about $29.5 million, officials said. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said she was “confident” the board could find a way to make up the difference.

When the FMCB convened on Monday, the proposal before them was for a set of fare increases averaging 6.3 percent, including a 10-cent-per-ride hike on bus trips and a range of changes on reduced-cost ticket types. But board member Brian Lang pushed for those fares to remain level, and fellow members agreed it was a worthwhile way to protect low- and fixed-income riders.