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Boston to try free CharlieCards/Bluebikes for workers in five areas

The city today announced a pilot program in which workers at businesses in the Main street districts in Nubian Square, Hyde/Jackson Square in Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, East Boston and Fields Corner can sign up for CharlieCards preloaded with $60 of value and two-month Bluebikes passes.

The passes will go to the first 1,000 employees to sign up.

The goal is to try to ease Covid-19 recovery in areas that have been particularly hard hit by the virus - and to ease congestion in those areas by getting more people on public transit.

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The Mission Hill Main Streets district seems to include Brigham & Women's, as well as Harvard Medical School. Those are two large employers that the city should not be subsidizing; while they certainly employ janitors, maintenance staff, and other low-paid workers, the city program seems to be oriented at helping the employees of small, local businesses.

Also, it's interesting that Chinatown was not included. Arguably, it's been hit the earliest and hardest by COVID -- the data shows that low-skilled Asian-Americans have the highest unemployment rate amid the pandemic. It's also one of the least car-accessible places in terms of parking for workers; an overwhelming majority of workers get there by transit. With all the merit needed for inclusion in this program, the exclusion speaks very loudly about Boston politics. After all, it's not like Chinatown hasn't had a permanent library branch in >60 years or anything like that...

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Those big employers are responsible for many unnecessary cars. I agree that the hospitals should pay for it.

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Thanks adamg!

Why not just give them a monthly link pass?

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$60 isn't enough for a monthly pass.

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$55. I use buses

There are a lot of people who are using the T for a period of time where having a pass is not worth it. Perhaps they worked it out and think that 10 round trips a month is good.

i like this idea.
i feel like the t should be a free utility and should be taxed like sckool tax.

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In an effort to bring back passengers who refuse to return to a system they believe is unsafe make the month of May free for everyone. Show the passengers that the system is safe and they will return. The Transit police don't enforce the laws against fare evasion as it is so the only passengers paying are the ones with the least amount of spare change.

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No. They are there for a reason.

I hope it works and that they extend it to low income people living elsewhere in the Boston area.

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And I hope we don't hear stories about pre-loaded Charlie cards being sold on Craigslist.

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But at least it may bring more people back on the T.

I think the Blue Bike option will help people try out cycling who didn’t have the means before. Good time of year for it!

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If I can go down the hill from Forest Hills Station, rack up and walk? I'd be cool.

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For every government assistance program, 20% will be wasted on scammers and people who aren't actually in need.

Welfare, nutrition assistance, low income housing, unemployment, etc.

The flip side is that for every government program, 80% of the people served are better off than had the program not been implemented.

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Can we get some citations for that 20/80 stat?

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and I'd love to know what you define as "people who aren't actually in need".

While we're at it, let's get some comparisons - how much do these scammers take, vs the amount we spend on oversight to make sure we're not giving benefits to the wrong people? And how much do both those numbers compare to e.g. wage theft, tax fraud, or other crimes committed by the wealthy and powerful?

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That 80/20 number sounds like another version of Ronald Reagan's old "welfare queen" slur to rile up the masses and get them to support cutting their own safety net.

According to this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/just-how-wrong-is-c...

Fraud accounts for less than 1% of SNAP (food stamp) and less than 2% of Unemployment payments.

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And I think of it as justification for why government programs SHOULD be run. People focus far too much on scammers and not people who are in need. If 80%+ people are helped, it's worth it.

Inevitably someone well-off will get their hands on one of the free T passes and people will foolishly cite that as an example of why the program should be cancelled. Meanwhile a majority of people who get the passes will deserve the help. It's a worthwhile program.

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We are also talking about $60 in MBTA credit. What's the street value of that and what harm would it cause? Would someone drop $50 for it? And then what, they ride the T for $60 worth of free rides instead of the original recipient?

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then who cares? The pass will still go to someone who uses the T, and the person who got the card will still benefit. There's plenty of studies out there showing that just giving people cash is the best way to help those in need - if they have to take an extra step to get what's useful to them, then so be it.

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weirdly, most of those can be linked to credit card theft.

Zone all the streets as resident parking. Cheaper and more effective.

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There ought to be one parking sticker for the whole city. If you have it, you can park on the street outside of visitor zones.

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The point is to reduce traffic and increase quality of life.

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Yes. I think it would help. I live in HP and if I have to go downtown, I drive all over near where I am going, looking for parking. It would help reduce stress.

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Surely increasing the number of people driving into downtown will reduce stress, not raise it. As we all know, there's nothing more stress-inducing than not sitting in traffic.

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Taking the T would reduce your stress.

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... car ownership. And make things difficult for visiting caretakers, delivery people and the disabled.

They are just another version of space savers.

They increase traffic.

They buy votes.

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Ban all on street parking!

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The idea the sold people was that Suburban commuters were hybrid commuting. They drive to the city limits and take the T downtown. Removing the permits would bring that back. A single permit for the whole city would still exclude people that don't live in the city. I have always felt it should be removed from neighborhoods based on average income.

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The idea the sold people was that Suburban commuters were hybrid commuting. They drive to the city limits and take the T downtown.

You still get it depending on neighborhood. I used to live in Davis Square, which is Somerville (city-wide) resident parking, and you better believe the streets filled up with cars driven by people who lived nowhere near that neighborhood. Neighborhood residents were screwed.

It is so sad to see several Mainstreet districts completely ignored. China Town, Ashmont, Lower mills and many others. I realize this is a "pilot" program, but they could reduce sample the passes out to all mainstream districts rather than give them out to just a handful.

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