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What do you think the MBTA should cut to stay afloat during pandemic?

WCVB Boston logo WCVB Boston 10/29/2020
a close up of a sign in front of a building: The Downtown Crossing MBTA Station in Boston, Massachusetts © Provided by WCVB Boston The Downtown Crossing MBTA Station in Boston, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is asking riders to share their opinions on what services should be protected and what can be cut as the agency looks to adjust to dramatically lower ridership and revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daily ridership on the MBTA in September 2020 was just about 26% of the ridership for the same month in 2019. Officials warn that the changes in ridership are expected to be long-lasting, creating a revenue deficit and forcing the agency to cut services.

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"Using limited resources to operate underutilized trains, ferries, and buses is not a responsible use of the money provided to the MBTA by riders, communities, and taxpayers," Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement.

"We will need to reduce services where we have very few passengers, or are operating near-empty trains, and invest those savings into protecting the core essential services," said MBTA GM Steve Poftak.

The MBTA's Forging Ahead plan is expected to announce which services will be prioritized and which could be on the chopping block on Nov. 9. Prior to that presentation, the agency is inviting riders to submit their feedback online or to attend virtual public meetings.

Final decisions on the cuts proposed as part of the Forging Ahead plan are expected to be made in December for implementation during the spring and summer of 2021.

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