City Council concerned more MBTA privatization could lead to discriminatory service

Boston Metro | By Kristin Toussaint | Nov. 2, 2016

t_neidl-3Concerns about how more privatization efforts from the MBTA could lead to widespread discriminatory practices of transportation services prompted the Boston City Council on Wednesday to unanimously request a briefing from Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration.

Residents have experienced multiple issues with Keolis Commuter Services, the private transportation company that runs the commuter rail, including frequently canceled trains. Beyond affecting how these riders get to work, school or home, they are also often redirected to trains that charge higher fares, which council members say is discriminatory.

“It seems that the Baker administration and the MBTA have turned deaf ears and blind eyes to the urgent demands and practical recommendations from consumers and readers,” said Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “It’s a social and economic justice issue, but it also perpetuates concentrations of poverty and segregation of neighborhoods.”

Councilors pointed specifically to Baker as being responsible for these ongoing issues, saying that he continues to blame the wrong people for the transportation shortfalls. Community leaders are concerned about the look to privatize more aspects of the MBTA instead of focusing on investing in the transit system.

“The T is insolvent because folks in the past borrowed money on behalf of the T to move over to the big dig,” Councilor Tito Jackson said. “We need the government to show leadership on this issue, not turn their back on the hardworking men and women who make this antiquated system work every day. Trains in [Dorchester and Mattapan] have to go to museums to get parts from circa World War II.”

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