Well sir, they are stamping on the faces of the poor again. For the second time in four months, they have jacked up the fare on Boston's one-lung transit system so that it now costs fifteen cents to go a mile and a half and catch a ball game at Braves Field. Hereafter, it would almost be cheaper to own a car, provided of course, you could find some place to park it.
The extra income derived from this latest fare rise is apparently directed toward eliminating the dangers of mechanization in the subterranean pleasure dome of the MTA. Five hundred men have been hired to replace turnstiles and other obsolete equipment. They will assume the task of collect-in the extra luchre with a unique man-to-man defense against the average straphanger.
Nevertheless, it will still take nearly a half hour to traverse the mile and a half from Harvard Square to Braves Field, or slightly less than it takes to walk the distance. And the ears will probably still run in bunches, six at a rip (five empty), followed by a refreshing fifteen minute pause.
Under the new fare system a man who commutes to work in Boston five days a week must spend a minimum of $1.50 or 5 percent of a $30 salary. For those of us who do not earn a living wage, the burden is much greater. Yet to collect this increase, the MTA must incur a tremendous extra expense. The salaries of 500 new men $30 a week means that the MTA cannot earn a profit on its fare rise until 306,000 victims pass through its hands each week. In addition, new equipment must be bought eventually.
We have always felt that the operation of a transit system is a legitimate function of municipal government. Therefore, it is a poor idea to overload the MTA riders with what seems to us to be outrageously high fares in terms of the services offered. We think that the mere existence of the MTA greatly enhances the value of the real estate in the Boston area. It is more fitting that the burden of metropolitan transit deficits should fall on the landowners of the individual municipalities which encompass the system. They are the most able to pay, and also gain considerably from its existence.