Hyde Park’s quirky commuter rail fare structure
The Fairmount, Readville, and Hyde Park commuter rail stations are all within roughly two miles of each other, yet the price to travel into Boston from each station varies dramatically.
From Fairmount, the one-way charge is $2.40, or $90 for a monthly pass. From the Hyde Park station, just four-tenths of a mile away from Fairmount, the charge is $6.50, or $214 for a monthly pass. From Readville, which is 1.6 miles from the other two stations, the one-way fare is $7, or $232 for a monthly pass.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Rep. Rob Consalvo of Hyde Park. “People in Hyde Park feel strongly that if you live in Hyde Park you should pay one fare.”
Consalvo admits he’s been complaining about the fare discrepancy since he was first elected to the Boston City Council in 2002. But with the T facing pressure from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to do away with all fares (starting with buses), and transportation advocates pushing the T to offer low-income riders a lower fare, Consalvo and many of his colleagues in the Legislature and at the city level don’t want the T to forget about the commuter rail fare anomalies.
Louijeune said she would like to address the fare situation in Hyde Park, but ultimately she would like to see all commuter rail stations within Boston moved into the lowest-priced Zone 1A category, where the one-way fare is $2.40.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu made the same pitch in 2018, calling for lower Zone 1A fares at stations in Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and Roslindale.
MBTA staff last month briefed the agency’s board of directors on various fare reduction options, including eliminating fares on buses, offering a discounted fare to low-income riders, cutting commuter rail fares, and moving more commuter rail stations into Zone 1A. The staff report favored a discounted fare as the best policy option but questioned whether the T could afford it.
Moving more commuter rail stations into Zone 1A was criticized as a “blunt instrument that delivers significant savings to high-income riders who do not need it.” The T didn’t look at the cost of moving all Boston commuter rail stations into Zone 1A; instead, the agency estimated it would cost $41 million to move 18 Gateway City commuter rail stations into the lowest-priced zone.
Instead of moving stations into Zone 1A, the staff report suggested a better approach might be reducing the gap between the jump between Zone 1A fares (Fairmount) and Zone 1 (Hyde Park) and Zone 2 (Readville) fares. The staff report estimated lowering the Zone 1 fare from $6.50 to $4.25 and reducing the Zone 2 fare from $7 to $6 would cost the T $9.1 million while boosting ridership by 206,000.
Louijeune said fare changes are needed to get people out of cars and to address transit inequities. She worries about the T’s willingness to change. “There’s generally resistance to doing anything differently,” she said.
Brayton Point decision: Scrap metal Land Court Judge Robert B. Foster ordered the shutdown of a controversial scrap metal export operation at Brayton Point in Somerset, siding with three women who said the metal dust escaping from the facility was a blight on their neighborhood and damaging to their health.
– It’s unclear whether the owner of Brayton Point will appeal the decision. The owner, Commercial Development Inc. of St. Louis, leased a portion of the property to the scrap metal operation when the offshore wind industry was slow to take off. Now that offshore wind is revving up, with an Italian company purchasing 47 acres at the site to manufacture subsea cable, there may be less of a need for a scrap business there.
– Foster took a fairly common sense approach to the fundamental legal question in the case. The three women, one of whom is now a member of the Somerset Select Board, argued the scrap metal operation violated a town bylaw requiring no dust to leave the property, while Commercial Development argued the dust that did escape was within monitoring limits. “The bylaw does not require that no dust at all leave the property. However, if enough dust leaves the property so that its effects are seen and felt by the residents of the neighborhood, then Brayton Point has not effectively confined the dust to the property,” Foster said in his decision. “Based on the evidence, I find that this is what has happened. Dust from the scrap metal operation is leaving the site and being blown into the neighborhood, where it causes harm to the property and health of the residents.” Read more.
State takeover of Boston schools urged: The right-leaning Pioneer Institute calls for a state takeover of the Boston Public Schools, saying receivership is the ”best hope for recovery.” Read more.
Encore in compliance: Encore Boston Harbor says only 999 seats are available for next week’s mixed martial arts fight night. The number would appear to keep Encore in compliance with a state law limiting seating at events at the casino to less than 1,000 or more than 3,500. The 999 figure, however, doesn’t appear to jive with the tickets listed for sale on Ticketmaster. Read more.
Medical aid in dying: A doctor with stage 4 prostate cancer is asking the Supreme Judicial Court to rule that it is unconstitutional to apply criminal manslaughter charges to physicians who prescribe drugs that allow patients to end their lives. If the court agrees, the case would decriminalize medical aid in dying in Massachusetts. Read more.
Gas tax holiday? Record-high prices for gasoline prompt calls for the state to approve a gas tax holiday until prices at the pump decline to $3.70 a gallon. Read more.
Boston at risk: A news analysis by Steve Koczela of the MassINC Polling Group suggests downtown Boston is at risk as employees continue to work remotely and show little interest in returning to the office full-time. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The Lynn City Council is holding a hearing on an ordinance on the use of recombinant DNA technology. The ordinance is part of a citywide effort to welcome the life sciences sector. (Daily Item)
The Worcester Board of Health votes to lift the city’s school mask mandate immediately. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Department of Public Health is trying to raise awareness of pediatric poisonings related to cannabis products. (State House News Service)
President Biden will announce a ban on the importation of Russian oil into the US, the latest in a set of sanctions aimed at punishing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. (New York Times)
Democratic gubernatorial candidates Maura Healey and Sonia Chang-Diaz are facing racist and/or misogynistic harassment as they vie to make history – Healey as the first openly gay woman and Chang-Diaz as the first Latina woman to be elected governor. (MassLive)
A new survey by NFIB finds businesses are still having trouble hiring, with 23 percent of open positions going unfilled in February. (Salem News)
A former Bourne middle school counselor is contesting her January firing by the district, which would not allow her to work remotely for the remainder of the school year despite being pregnant and having several conditions, including cystic fibrosis and diabetes, that put her at increased risk of severe COVID infection. (Boston Globe)
The New Bedford Whaling Museum purchased a second building across the street and is planning a major expansion. (Standard-Times)
Cape Cod, facing a shortage of local spots to dump or burn its trash, is considering putting it on trains to Ohio or Virginia. (Cape Cod Times)
Well-known Boston Black activist Monica Cannon-Grant is reportedly under federal investigation for possible misuse of donations to the nonprofit she founded, Violence in Boston Inc. (Boston Globe)
Genoveva Andrade, the former chief of staff to Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia is spared prison time but will have to pay a $50,000 fine for helping Correia extort bribes from city marijuana vendors and paying part of her salary in kickbacks in order to keep her job. (Herald News)
Four Springfield police officers and a pub owner are set to go to trial in a case about a 2015 brawl involving off-duty police officers outside the pub. (MassLive)
A Boston police officer is facing charges of intimidating a witness or official in connection with interactions he had with an officer investigating whether he had violated the department’s residency requirement. (Boston Globe)
Toxic, cancer-causing mold was found in the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield, according to tests conducted by plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to shut it down. (MassLive)
After the Harmony Montgomery case, DCF Commissioner Linda Spears says the agency is trying to increase its collaboration with agencies in other states. (MassLive)
The Berkshire Eagle reviewed 284 death certificates of people who lost their lives to COVID-19 in an attempt to learn more about who they were.PASSINGS
Nancy Achin, a former state senator who went on to serve as executive director of the state Board of Registration in Medicine, and who showed indomitable spirit in the face of four cancer diagnoses, the first at age 14, a stroke and heart surgery, died at age 63. (Boston Globe)