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'Too Drastic,' MBTA Riders, Workers Protest Massive Service Cut Proposal

BOSTON (CBS) - A large group of MBTA riders and workers held a rolling rally in Boston Thursday morning to protest drastic service cuts proposed by the T.

The rally was organized by Public Transit Public Good, which says on its website that it is "a partnership of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit."

Honking cars lined Summer Street in the Seaport District on their way to the State Transportation Building, where an MBTA hearing was being held.

The MBTA Fiscal Control Board is trying to save about $130 million due to revenue lost in the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency has proposed stopping commuter rail service after 9 p.m. on weekdays and getting rid of it completely on weekends. Ferry service and 25 bus routes would be eliminated. The T's subway lines would run less frequently and subway and bus service would stop at midnight.

"During this pandemic, there are so many people struggling," said Darlene Lombos of the Greater Boston Labor Council. "We know the MBTA is struggling as well, but these service cuts that they propose, they are too drastic."

"I am a rider. I live in Malden. I commute on the Orange Line into downtown Boston. And yeah, the MBTA is critically important to me and my family," said Lindsay McCluskey, Deputy Director of Community Labor United.

"We think that protecting all services in this moment is critical, especially because we don't want to see overcrowded busses or overcrowded commuter rail trains."

"There are nurses, firefighters who still take public transit. And we need them to be able to get there," said Lombos. "They're the heroes who have been keeping us safe. We want to make sure that they have safe and affordable transportation to get to work.

The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed service cuts December 7.

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