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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) fiscal and management control board on Monday approved a systemwide fare increase of 9.3 percent, effective July 1. The change is expected to generate $43 million in new revenue for fiscal year 2017, agency officials said on MBTA's website. The cost of rapid transit fare on the agency's "CharlieCard" will rise to $2.25, which represents a 15-cent increase. Additionally, the price of the seven-day Link Pass will jump from $19 to $21.25.All increased fare revenue will go to a dedicated fund for capital investments aimed at delivering short-term improvements for riders. The fiscal and management control board will control the dedicated fund. Two-thirds of the board's members must vote to use any money in the fund for purposes other than the original intent, MBTA officials said. The dedicated fund will total $43 million in FY2017 and $25 million from FY2016 operating budget savings, they added.The MBTA's fiscal control board also voted to make the new fares effective for two-and-a-half years.Additionally, the board required that MBTA staff provide a report on means-testing for low-income riders within 30 days. Agency staff also must provide a report on steps taken to address fare evasion and enforcement within 45 days, along with a study on commuter-rail zones.Among other fare policy changes, MBTA's fiscal board approved expanding the free transfer to allow riders to transfer from bus to rail to bus, agency officials said. Meanwhile, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (GCRTA) scheduled a March 21 meeting to gather comments about a proposed fare increase. The event marks the first in a series of public meetings that will continue into early April. The fare increase would help close a $7 million gap in the agency's FY2016 operating budget, which GCRTA's board passed in December 2015, GCRTA officials said in a press release. The agency is considering increasing fares from $2.25 to $2.50 or $2.75. GCRTA has not increased fares for seven years, agency officials said.
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