A NEW SURVEY says three in four voters in Greater Boston believe traffic will return to previous levels or worsen as the state reopens, and most are in favor of reducing or eliminating bus and transit fares for remove more drivers from the roads.
The survey of 670 voters was conducted by the MassINC Polling Group on behalf of the Barr Pro-transit Foundation between May 21 and May 28. Of the 670 voters surveyed, 418 lived in the city of Boston and 252 lived on or near Highway 128..
With transportation advocates warning the state should not revert to pre-pandemic traffic patterns, the poll said 74% of voters believe that’s exactly what will happen. The survey found that 42% of those polled believe the traffic will be about the same as before the pandemic and 32% believe it will be worse.
Personal decisions followed by these broader concerns. Of those polled, 58% said they would drive in the same way and 27% said they would lead more to reopening the economy. Conversely, about half of those polled said they would use public transport in the same way and a third said they would use it less – the percentage of those who said they would use it less. would use less was 31% on the subway and 34% on buses and commuter trains.
The top two transportation priorities for voters emerging from the pandemic were reducing congestion (95% considered this to be very or somewhat important) and improving public transportation (the total was 94%).
It appears that voters see fare relief as a way to achieve both goals, with 84% of respondents strongly or somewhat in favor of lowering fares for low-income passengers and two-thirds of respondents supporting the reduction in fares for low-income passengers. free buses or the entire MBTA. In either case, however, respondents were not asked if they were willing to pay more (in the form of higher tariffs or taxes) to support reduced or free tariffs for others.
Earlier this week, the MBTA’s tax and management board authorized the development of a pilot project to test discounted fares for low-income passengers that could begin as early as June 2022 if the board’s successor board gives its approval.