MBTA Ridership Rises Despite Fare Hikes

Ridership this August is up 1.2 percent versus last August. Analysts had predicted a drop of 5.5 percent because of the higher fares.

Higher fares don't seem to be deterring residents from riding the T.

That's one conclusion to draw from numbers released by the MBTA that show overall ridership has risen 1.2 percent this August versus last August. It was on July 1 that the transit agency hiked fares and scaled back some services to close a budget gap.

Analysts had expected the changes, which boosted a CharlieCard subway ride from $1.70 to $2, to drive down ridership by 5.5 percent.

Instead, ridership dropped only 0.1 percent in July versus July 2011. Then, in August came the 1.2 percent jump. 

Digging into the August numbers, ridership was up more on some services more than others. For instance, on heavy rail (i.e. the Orange, Red and Blue lines), ridership was up 2.7 percent. Light rail, (aka the Green line) was up 1.4 percent. Bus ridership slipped 0.6 percent.

It was a different story for The RIDE, a paratransit service where fares doubled. Its ridership dropped by 16 percent. Ridership may erode further starting Monday, as the T implements a $1 surcharge for certain types of RIDE trips.

The State's Secretary of Transportation continues to push for a regional and statewide fix to chronic funding trouble for the MBTA.

"The robust demand for public transit," Secretary Richard Davey said in a press statement, "is a clear sign that we need to maintain a strong transportation system in the Commonwealth."

So what about out here in the 'burbs? With Concord home to two train stations at the Thoreau and West Concord depots, have you noticed a change in ridership on the commuter rail since the higher fares took effect?


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