Fare Increase FAQ
On March 11, 2019, the Fiscal and Management Control Board voted to approve the fare proposal, with some modifications. The fare changes took effect July 1, 2019.
About the Fare Changes
Even as the MBTA continues to focus on controlling costs and growing non-fare revenue, this increase, which is in line with the rate of inflation in the Boston area, is necessary for the Authority to continue making system investments to improve service.
The Legislature laid out a process allowing the MBTA to raise fares by regular, modest increments. State law limits fare increases to no more than once every 2 years and sets a cap of no more than 7%.
The fare changes went into effect on July 1, 2019.
A transportation funding law passed in 2017 limits MBTA fare increases to 7% every 2 years. The last fare increase was on July 1, 2016. After this proposed increase, the earliest the MBTA could again raise fares is July 1, 2021.
About the MBTA's Budget
The MBTA used the additional fare revenue from the last fare increase to support capital funding for near-term, customer-facing improvements. Some examples of projects supported by this additional capital funding are new vehicles for The RIDE, additional funds to help completely replace the Red Line fleet, and accessibility improvements at bus stops and Commuter Rail stations.
About 60% of MBTA operating revenue comes from state and local funding. In Fiscal Year 2019, the MBTA received about $1.032 billion in sales tax and the 175 cities and towns in the MBTA service area contributed about $170 million in local assessments.
The MBTA generates additional income from a variety of other sources. In Fiscal Year 2018, revenue from advertising, parking, and real estate was $78.5 million. The MBTA continues to act to increase its income from non-fare sources.
How Will My Fare Change?
The MBTA’s original fare proposal included an average 6.3% increase across all fare products. The proposal was estimated to generate an additional $32 million in fare revenue for the MBTA in Fiscal Year 2020, a revenue increase of about 4.5%.
On March 11, 2019, the Fiscal and Management Control Board voted to approve the fare proposal, with some modifications, resulting in an increase of an average of 5.8% across all fares.
The effect on different fares varies. See the fares increase details for a full list of the proposed changes.
The following fares will remain the same:
- Local bus one-way fare
- Local bus monthly pass
- Reduced one-way fares for local bus and subway (senior, TAP, youth, and student)
- Reduced monthly passes (senior, TAP, youth, and student)
Will This Impact Other MBTA Programs and Services?
Additional fare revenue will help the MBTA continue to make improvements to improve service and make the system more efficient and reliable.
This fare proposal is not related to the new payment system, AFC 2.0, which is scheduled to roll out in 2020. AFC 2.0 will enable the MBTA to implement different types of fares in the future. Any changes after the new system is implemented will be brought before the public for significant review and feedback.