ParentCare » Vol. 27

ParentCare ~ A Section for Today’s Caregiver

Educating Seniors:  Bring Your Health… Home

What the Imminent MBTA Service Reductions Mean for Seniors

By Kimberly Harmon RN, BSN

20595631With the MBTA facing a budget gap of almost $160 million, service reductions are imminent. The questions are: What will these reductions mean for seniors in the Worcester area? More importantly, what services are available to you currently through the WRTA (Worcester Regional Transit Authority)?

The MBTA has reached this point as a result of massive debt costs coupled with increased operating expenses for things like energy and health care. According to the MBTA, “The system we have today we cannot afford and the system we want is well beyond reach.”

The MBTA has proposed fare increases and service reductions to reduce the deficit. A brief analysis of the proposed service cuts below appears to indicate that the MBTA has targeted seniors, people with disabilities, and students for the most extreme fare increases.

A final fare increase and service reduction recommendation will be made to the MBTA’s Board of Directors this spring and changes will be implemented on July 1, 2012.

Transit Mode    Current Fare    Proposed Fare    % Increase
Adult Local Bus         $1.25                         $1.75                         40%
Adult Subway             $1.70                        $2.40                        41.2%
Senior Monthly Pass $20                           $40                          100%
Senior/Tap Bus          $0.40                       $1.10                        175%
Senior/ TAP Subway $0.60                      $1.50                        150%
RIDE (One Way)        $2.00 (One Way)
$4.00 (Round Trip)   $4.50 (One Way)
$9.00 (Round Trip)                                                                      125%
RIDE (Premium Service Area)    $2.00 (1 Way)
$4.00 (R/T)    $12.00 (One Way)
$24.00 (Round Trip)                                                                  500%

While the public comment period for the MBTA’s plan is closed, the WRTA continues to offer valuable benefits to elders and people with disabilities: these groups can ride the bus for half the regular fare with proper identification.
To qualify for the reduced fare on WRTA buses, seniors must obtain a WRTA Senior Pass. Those who are 60 and over and live in Worcester or another WRTA service area are eligible for the Senior Pass.
To get your Reduced Fare ID, just bring a photo ID along with ID showing your date of birth, proof of residence and $3.00 in cash or money order to the WRTA Customer Service Center at 317 Main Street in Worcester. Acceptable forms of ID include: birth certificate, driver’s license, state ID card, passport, green card or citizenship papers. The office staff will take your picture and issue the pass while you wait.

You Can Get Involved!

The WRTA has a consumer advisory committee, called the TPAG Special Transit Service Committee, which provides a forum for addressing service- related issues that affect the elderly and people with disabilities.
The committee meets the third Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 2:30 PM at the WRTA, 287 Grove Street, Worcester and is open to the public. Free round-trip transportation is available for elders and people with disabilities by calling Paratransit Brokerage Services, Inc. (PBSI) at (508) 752-9283.
As always, the Auburn VNA Health Network Team is available for your health and wellness needs with a complete range of home care services. For more information or questions, please call us at 508-791-0081. Be happy, be well and be safe!
Kimberly Harmon is President and CEO of Auburn VNA Health Network.  AVHN Health Network provides more than 19,000 home visits annually to more than 700 individuals in Auburn, Worcester and surrounding towns. Kim welcomes your questions, comments or concerns about any specific health issues. You may reach her at kharmon@auburnvna.org or AVHN.org.


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