MBTA FARE revenue so far this fiscal year is trending above the pessimistic forecast used to create the transit authority’s budget, but officials say the numbers remain highly variable.
In drafting its fiscal 2022 budget, the T developed three different scenarios for fare revenue, with the first scenario the most optimistic and the third the most conservative. The T based its budget on the most conservative estimate.
In calendar year 2021, the T revenues slowly trended upward, navigating all three fare revenue scenarios. In January and February, revenues came in close to the third, or most conservative, scenario. In March through May, revenues tracked with the middle-of-the-road scenario before rising to the most optimistic level in June and July. From August through November, revenues hovered between the most optimistic and middle-of-the-road scenarios, before slipping slightly into the moderate range in December.
For the first six months of the fiscal year (July-December 2021), fare revenue was nearly $156 million, well ahead of the budgeted amount of $91 million. That’s a gain of 70 percent over what was budgeted, but still only 46 percent of pre-pandemic revenue levels for the month of December.
T officials said on Thursday that fare revenues would end up $123 million above the annual budget forecast if the moderate projection turns out to be accurate, and $222 million if the most optimistic forecast proves to be the correct one.
Using the conservative forecast, the current fare revenue projection for the year ending June 30 is $200 million.