Fare Hike Averted

Turns out the T doesn’t need a fare hike this year after all!  Last month the T announced that it would increase fares again — subway fares would break a 28-year inflation-adjusted record to set an all-time high of $2 per ride.  Around the same time, I noted that the last two occasions when fares broached the inflation-adjusted $1.75 mark, strange things happened.  Fare increases implemented in 1954 and 1981 that took prices over the inflation-adjusted $1.75 mark were rescinded the next year.  Those were the only two years in more than a century of transit in Boston that nominal subway fares actually receded.

Looks like history is repeating … or at least rhyming.  Gov. Patrick directed that the proposed 2009 hike is off the table, for now.  Hopefully major service cuts also were averted.  If the consensus economic view is correct that inflation will remain subdued for some time — and assuming the inflation-adjusted fare of $1.75 remains the third-rail of subway pricing — that proposed hike won’t be finding its way to riders anytime soon.