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The problem is that we often provide interpretations on the basis of “best available data” that is either of sketchy provenance or subject to significant later revision. That breeds snap judgments and bad decisions.
Massachusetts continues to experience a slow slide in car commuting, and an increase in the importance of transit and active transportation – driven in part by economic and population growth in the region’s core and, relatedly, by shifting patterns of commuting among younger residents.
Over the last decade and a half, one major source of T revenue has actually grown at a faster rate than operating expenses: transit fares.
The number of transit trips taken in the Boston area increased by 11 percent between 2008 and 2014 – faster than that of any of the nation’s other top 10 transit cities.
In public policy, as in much of life, garbage in tends to lead to garbage out.
At a time when demand for transit in Boston is booming, we need to focus on approaches that are more likely to set off a “virtuous cycle” of rising ridership and revenue for the T, not a downward spiral.
Of all the possible reasons not to prioritize the North-South Rail Link, the notion that “there’s no money” is the least compelling.
We create transit systems to benefit society, not to maximize profits. Raising fares on transit riders might increase revenue, but if the effect of doing so is to put transit users back onto congested streets and highways, deny people access to economic opportunity, and increase pollution, the benefits to society are reduced.