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MBTA Plans 23 Percent Fare Hike, Saturday Service Cut on 2 Watertown Routes

The 52 and 554 buses will no longer have Saturday services under the plan released by the MBTA Wednesday.

Fare hikes will not be as great a first proposed and two routes serving Watertown will no longer have Saturday Service, under the plan released by MBTA officials on Tuesday.

MBTA fares will rise 23 percent and four bus routes would be cut as part of the MBTA's final plan to close its $161 million budget gap, the MBTA announced today.

“The proposal we put forth today reflects our current fiscal reality and the feedback we heard from customers,” said Transportation Secretary Richard Davey. “We have put forth a solution that limits the impact on riders for one year but I encourage everyone to remain engaged in helping us find a long-term fix for the T’s budget challenges.”

Fourteen other bus routes would be modified, including the 52 and 554 buses, which serve Watertown. Both would lose Saturday service – the only weekend service for those routes. Watertown would have lost more routes .

If approved, the changes would begin on July 1. The MBTA board plans to meet on April 4 to possibly approve the plan.

Bus fares would rise to $1.50 from $1.25 and a subway ride would jump to $2 from $1.70. Monthly passes would rise from $59 to $70. Those fare changes apply to Charlie Chard users.

For students and seniors, bus fares will rise to 75 cents and subway rides will jump to $1. Also, the MBTA would start offering a 7-day student pass for $28.

Overall, service changes would result in $15.4 million of savings and fare increases would generate $72.9 million. One-time revenues would garner and $61 million.

No changes would be made for THE RIDE services, but fares would rise to $4 or $5 depending on where you live and how far you would travel.

Also, weekend commuter rail service will remain, however, weekend service on the Plymouth-Kingston, Needham and Greenbush lines would would be eliminated.

Ferry rates would rise 35 percent and Quincy ferry service would be axed, according to the MBTA.

The E branch of the Green Line would remain running, but only up to the Brigham Circle stop. From there riders could take the 39 bus to get to the Heath Street area.

Other changes would include adding countdown signs to at the Logan Airport stop of the Silver Line, exploring off-peak pricing and consolidating customer service to the Downtown Crossing stop.

In addition, the MBTA would eliminate 51 positions and impose a hiring freeze for non-essential workers. Employees would also be enrolled in a lower cost health insurance plan.

The state Department of Transportation would use $5 million from the state's snow and ice removal fund to help close its budget gap. It also plans, with approval from lawmakers, to take $51 million from the state's vehicle inspection fund to help cover the budget deficit.

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