FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 13, 2017
Emily Fitzmaurice, Massachusetts Democratic Party, 617-939-0808
MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRATIC PARTY STATEMENT ON BAKER'S CAMPAIGN TO CUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
BOSTON - Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford released the following statement in response to the Baker Administration's proposal to cut weekend commuter rail service and services offered through The Ride:
“Governor Baker’s campaign of cuts at the T hit a new low today with his administration’s plan to eliminate all weekend commuter rail service, and to cut service for disabled passengers to the bare minimum. Thousands of riders depend on weekend commuter rail and the Ride to get to work, visit friends and family, or see their doctor.
“The Baker administration has already awarded the commuter rail operator, Keolis, millions of dollars in special giveaways, without demanding any improvements in service or reliability. Now they’re trying to punish riders for the Governor’s mismanagement of the commuter rail contract. We should be investing in our public transportation infrastructure, not cutting service for the people who rely on it to get around.”
Background on Governor Baker’s giveaways to Keolis:
1. In July 2015, the Baker Administration began allowing Keolis to keep fines for poor service and use the penalty money to hire more employees.
2. In October 2016, the Boston Globe revealed that the Baker Administration had secretly waived $839,000 in fines for Keolis’ poor service in February and March 2015.
3. In July 2016, the Baker Administration renegotiated the commuter rail contract to give Keolis $15 million more each year, without putting basic performance conditions in place.
4. Last week, the Baker Administration announced plans to give Keolis a large portion of commuter rail fare revenue above a still-to-be-determined ‘baseline,’ in exchange for Keolis building fare gates at three commuter rail stations and making other changes to reduce fare evasion.