Poll: 79% back discounts for low-income T riders
Less support for eliminating fares entirely
A NEW STATEWIDE poll indicates overwhelming support for offering discounts to low-income riders on public transportation and strong but less support for eliminating fares all together.
The poll of 1,026 registered voters indicated 79 percent strongly support or somewhat support offering discounted fares to low-income riders. The margin of support fell to 71 percent for eliminating fares on bus routes serving low-income riders, 61 percent on all buses, 58 percent on subways and trolleys, and 54 percent on commuter rail and ferries.
The one caveat with the poll is that it did not ask how to pay for the discounts or replace the revenue lost by eliminating fares. Support sometimes weakens when confronted with the costs involved.
The poll did find 69 percent of those surveyed strongly support or somewhat support passage this November of a constitutional amendment creating a millionaire tax, which would assess a 4 percent income tax surcharge on incomes over $1 million with the revenue set aside for transportation and education spending.
The previous MBTA oversight board was in favor of testing discounted fares but the new oversight board has yet to take up the issue. The chair of the new board has said she prefers discounted fares to no fares because the discount targets the benefit to where it’s needed.