McGee: Cut commuter rail fares from Lynn
Mayor, lawmakers urge subway-like service into Boston
LYNN MAYOR THOMAS MCGEE, backed by three lawmakers from the area, urged MBTA officials to test more frequent commuter rail service to and from Boston at prices similar to those charged subway riders.
McGee said Lynn is tired of waiting for the Blue Line to be extended to Lynn, an idea that he said has been bandied around since 1946. Instead, he urged the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to launch a pilot program transforming the existing commuter rail service on the Newburyport/Rockport Line into a more subway-like operation, featuring more frequent trains and one-way fares of $2.40 instead of the current $7.
What McGee and other Lynn officials are seeking is the type of service residents along most of the Fairmount Line currently receive. With the exception of the last stop in Readville, passengers on that line pay a Zone 1A fare of $2.40 one way into South Station. Passengers from Lynn pay a Zone 2 fare, or $7, to travel to North Station.
McGee said Lynn and other communities north of Boston have been shortchanged for more than 50 years, and the situation is only going to worsen as development picks up in Lynn, Beverly, and Salem; at Suffolk Downs in East Boston and Revere; and at Wonderland.
Sen. Brendan Creighton of Lynn said all too often the commuter rail cars are full when they reach Lynn, so more trains need to be added at prices Lynn residents can afford.
Rep. Peter Capano of Lynn said most of his constituents live near the commuter rail but rarely use it because of the high cost. Instead, he said, they end up driving to the Blue Line or all the way into Boston, increasing congestion.
Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont lent his voice to those call for reducing fares from communities like Lynn that are served by commuter rail. He said the Legislature would be willing to provide additional financial help to the T to make that happen.McGee also said the Fiscal and Management Control Board needs to revise its policy on ferry service pilot projects. He said the requirement that a pilot project be competitive in terms of cost with existing ferry service is a hurdle that no pilot can overcome, in part because existing successful ferry services often took decades to build their ridership.
“There’s no way [ferry pilots] can meet the requirements that the board has identified,” he said.