TNB Press Release on MBTA Fare Hikes and Service Cuts

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SOUTH BOSTON TECH FIRM OPPOSES MBTA CUTS, FARE HIKES
Company Could Pay $10,000 More Each Year; Changes Would Hit Employees, Clients

No matter how you look at it, the proposed MBTA fare hikes are bad for business.  Tech Networks of Boston, an IT services firm located in Andrew Square,  relies on public transportation to get employees to work and to client sites, and to enable customers to access its offices.  “We subsidize train and commuter rail passes for our employees,” says Susan Labandibar, President of Tech Networks.  “These fare increases could cost us nearly $10,000 per year.”

Employee Diane Tirschel has calculated her costs of commuting from Attleboro by commuter rail, with the 50% subsidy provided by Tech Networks.  It’s about even: $197.50 per month for the train, versus $191 per month driving, with a gallon of gas costing $3.50.  “I’m on the fence right now as it is,” says Tirschel.  With the T’s dramatic fare hikes, even the company’s 50% subsidy might not be enough for commuters like Tirschel to continue choosing the train.  “I would like to contribute to making the environment better, but [the fare hikes] are making that hard for me,” says Tirschel.  “Adding thousands of cars to the roadways will not only be environmentally irresponsible, but detrimental for economic growth in the Commonwealth,” says Labandibar.

“The subsidy has allowed several employees, including me, to avoid car ownership altogether,” says Labandibar.  But the fare hikes could change that.  Employee Cordaryll Monroe, who commutes from Ayer, “was considering getting a car when I heard about the MBTA raising their fares.”  Monroe is an ideal transit user: “I walk to the train station.  That’s why I chose to live in Ayer.”  But with drastic fare hikes, it might not make sense anymore.  The fare hikes “can affect everyday living expenses,” says Monroe, so “I have no alternatives right now.  I might get a car.”

“Big businesses are laying people off, but we’re hiring,” says Labandibar.  “Seventeen years ago, when I founded Tech Networks of Boston, I made sure that my office was close to public transportation.  Over the years, thousands of customers and hundreds of employees have saved time and gas by taking the T to our office.  These fare hikes and service cuts are undercutting a key element of our business strategy.”

Susan Labandibar is President of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston and is active in the community.  She has won multiple awards from the City of Boston and national organizations for her environmentally sustainable technology business.  She will speak at Suffolk University on Feb. 28 on “Women Making a Difference in Entrepreneurship.”

# # #

CONTACT:  Susan Labandibar, (617) 269-0299 x301, susan@techboston.com

What’s your tipping point?

Do you remember the books you read in Junior High?  All Quiet on the Western Front, The Great Gatsby, The Diary of Anne Frank, A Separate Peace — They leave an indelible impression on you when you’re thirteen.  For example, I stopped reading All Quiet on the Western Front when the horses were killed in the second chapter, but my history teacher insisted in a written note to my parents that I had to finish it in order to appreciate the tragedy of war.

The Diary of Anne Frank is about a young Jewish girl striving to live a normal life under very abnormal circumstances. As I read the book, I  wondered:  What are those times in history when average person can no longer pursue his individual needs, but must sacrifice himself in order to protect the greater good?  How do people decide to take a stand?  What is the tipping point?

For example, let’s say you were living in Germany in the 30’s. In 1933, the first concentration camp was opened in Dachau.  In 1934, the Aryan laws were passed to thwart Jews in the professions.  In 1935, the infamous Nuremberg laws were passed, which stripped Jews of their German citizenship, and of their right to marry non-Jews.  Would you have taken a stand then?  Would you have left Germany?  Or would you have continued to pursue a normal life?

This is how the Holocaust arrived, we learned in school.  By bits and pieces.  So that by the time Kristallnacht arrived on November 9, 1938, it was somehow tolerable that 100 Jews were murdered, 20,000 German and Austrian Jews arrested and sent to camps, hundreds of synagogues burned, and the windows of Jewish shops all over Germany and Austria  were smashed.

What is your tipping point?  When would you decide that you must put aside the idea of personal happiness, devoting life instead to stopping a terrible juggernaut?

I am afraid for the planet, the same way I was afraid for my dad

During the three years my dad lived with incurable cancer, I tried not to wallow in fear.  But shielding myself by living in denial wasn’t an option. Dad needed me to find clinical trials, look for new treatments, talk to doctors–anything to try to keep him alive. I spent hours and hours on the computer, trying to find something that would give my family hope.

It was hard to keep trying.  Because I knew all along that he wasn’t going to make it, no matter what I did.  Just three weeks after he was diagnosed, I found a retrospective study that showed that no one, not one person in all the case records they had found, had survived this cancer more than five years. Sometimes, I would find myself drifting away from the hard reality. Hey, let’s not think about it. Forget the cancer newsgroups tonight. Don’t bother with checking clinicaltrials.gov. But then that tight lump of fear in my chest would return.

My dad’s been gone for a long while now. When my dad died, I was very sad, but I was also relieved. He wasn’t suffering any longer. And I no longer had that lump of fear.

But now the fear is back. James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, says there will be less than a billion people on Earth in 90 year’s time. Wildlife and whole ecosystems will vanish…Polar ice is melting faster than scientists had anticipated.  Polar bears are drowning. The glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro are disappearing. That will mean drought and death for the elephant orphans I love so much in Tsavo National Park.

It’s like coping with incurable cancer. The years ahead will be ones of pain, loss, and sorrow. Each animal extinction will be a death knell for me. The large mammals will go first. Polar bears, penguins, tigers, gorillas…Then birds, amphibians, whales, fish, coral reefs. And trees! We will lose so many beautiful trees.

Are you afraid of global warming? Please leave me a note. They say there’s strength in numbers…

I also have a request for global warming naysayers who may read this: Please do me a favor and surf on by. Or discover what thousands of Nobel Peace Prize winning-scientists have to say on the subject:  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Hell, No!

I was at an anti-war protest this weekend.  It was held in front of the military recruiting station on Tremont Street, at Park Street,  I had a homemade sign that said “Violence Breeds Violence” on one side.  On the other side, I had put a statistic that the US Military, the largest purchaser of fuel in the world, uses 16 gallons per day per soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan.