Magic bus

11Feb22

Like most of you, I had never heard of “transportation equity” until a week or so ago. It’s one of those terms that members of the Woke Community toss around in casual conversation believing everybody knows what it means, because everybody they know does.

You probably thought “equity” was the value of your home minus what you still owe on the mortgage.

How quaint. Turn off Fox Business and put down the Wall Street Journal, insurrectionist.

Regardless of whether you support “transportation equity” or even know what it is, you may soon find yourself paying for it if Wakefield Town Councilors Jonathan Chines and Mehreen Butt have any say in the matter.

I recently learned that one definition of “transportation equity” is free bus service. I learned that from a letter to the MBTA signed by Councilors Butt and Chines along with elected officials from 14 other Massachusetts communities promising local funds to support “fare-free” bus service.

“We believe this effort will help improve the efficiency of public transit, improve transportation equity, reduce emissions, and create safer streets that will save lives,” the letter asserts.

The missive requests the MBTA’s “collaboration with us as the elected and appointed representatives of our respective communities in an effort to ensure that there is a fair, equitable and standardized process for implementing fare free bus pilots, and potentially permanent fare-free service on specific MBTA bus routes.”

But don’t worry, the letter reassures the already heavily subsidized T, we won’t be asking your agency to bear a penny of the cost of providing bus service that we demand you offer for free. We know some “stakeholders” who will foot the bill before they know what hit them.

“While the implementation of fare-free buses requires a partnership between our municipalities and the MBTA, we are not asking the MBTA to simply forgo fare revenue to make this happen,” the letter states. “Our communities are willing to fund fare-free buses because of the benefits we know they would bring.”

The letter to the MBTA was written on the letterhead of Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and signed by elected officials representing Cambridge, Amesbury, Boston, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newburyport, Newton, Rowley, Somerville, Watertown, Winchester, Worcester and of course, Wakefield. Both Chines and Butt signed with their official “Wakefield Town Councilor” titles.

I couldn’t recall when Wakefield Town Meeting had appropriated the funds to subsidize free bus service, so I emailed Councilors Chines and Butt inquiring under what authority this pledge of funds was made.

“I signed the letter to MBTA General Manager Poftak as an individual town councilor, and not on behalf of the Town Council as a whole,” Councilor Chines responded.

Councilor Butt echoed that sentiment, word-for-word.

“I signed the letter to the MBTA General Manager Poftak as an individual Town Councilor and not on behalf of the Town Council as a whole,” Butt replied.

That will likely come as a surprise to the Mayor of Cambridge, who seems to be under the impression that her co-signers of the letter, written on her letterhead, were speaking for their communities.
“The success of the fare-free bus pilots in Boston and Worcester has made Cambridge and other communities excited about putting local funds toward pilots as well,” Mayor Siddiqui said in a press release accompanying the letter signed by Chines, Butt and the other municipal officials.

Are Chines’ and Butt’s denials an admission that Wakefield taxpayers are not “excited” about having their tax dollars used to fund free bus service?

Americans love their automobiles and the individual freedom and independence they foster. Electric vehicles have not caught on to the degree that some had hoped, so now other efforts are underway to get you out of your gas-burning car and onto more communal forms of transportation in the name of “transportation equity.” The hope is that if they make public transit “free,” you’ll drive less and ultimately give up your car altogether. Then we can all be miserable together on the same bus.

Of course, “free” public transportation isn’t free any more than “free” health care is free or “free” college is free. Somebody always pays.

If you’d like to know who that is, locate the nearest mirror.

[This column originally appeared in the February 10, 2022 Wakefield Daily Item.]



4 Responses to “Magic bus”

  1. 1 Anthony Antetomaso

    Just what we need – a bus service for those “commuters to nowhere” looking for a place to sleep, shoot up, assault people or just a warm place to “relieve” themselves. Count me out. And we CLEARLY need some changes at Town Hall. Surely we can do better than THIS pack of lying morons!!

  2. 2 Mike Zahlaway

    THANK YOU , THANK YOU !! For keeping us uninformed masses informed.
    Now let’s hope that the usual public lethargy & apathy ( which these public officials, even if they label themselves “ Concerned Individual’s”) count on doesn’t prevail. But I am sympathetic in the fact we “ The Public” are under a constant barrage of changing laws, mandates resulting in new responsibilities, solicited or not. Doesn’t leave a person much time to scrutinize what these “Woke Masters” of freedom are up too.

  3. 3 Dr. Ed

    A century ago, Wakefield had FIVE railroad stations – a third behind the dogpark and two more on the abandoned line, i.e. Water Street & Montrose.

    A century ago, Wakefield was a streetcar hub. The Main Street line went all the way to Haverhill. There were multiple branch lines connecting Wakefield Square to other systems, one could go directly to Stoneham, Woburn, etc.

    We now have JUST ONE BUS — to Boston.

    If the woke do-gooders really wanted to help the poor, they would advocate an East/West bus through Wakefield.

  4. 4 Dr. Ed

    Butt doesn’t feel qulified to end the mask mandate — but is for this?!?


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