Hear from the Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Representative Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy), at the Chamber’s Government Affairs Forum.
9:45am - 11:00am
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel
Join the Massachusetts Apprentice Network for the two-year anniversary celebration of the Network's launch.
9:30am - 11:00am
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Join us for our highly anticipated Annual Meeting, Greater Boston's top business convening of the year.
4:30pm - 8:00pm
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
Expand your DEI professional development with a virtual workshop focused specifically on LGBTQIA+ identities and inclusion.
Join our Transformational DEI Certificate! Our comprehensive learning & development offerings are designed to connect and grow strong leaders who lead both inside and out of the office.
Our Women’s Leadership Program enables you to take your leadership to the next level by arming you with the most in-demand leadership toolkit.
Our Boston’s Future Leaders (BFL) program provides emerging leaders with a socially conscious and civically engaged leadership toolkit, as well as the opportunity to apply their knowledge through experiential assignments.
City Awake empowers young professionals in a variety of ways that encourages these rising leaders to stay invested in the region’s future success.
We are developing an ecosystem of corporations and partners with the influence and buying power to transform economic inclusion for minority business enterprises (MBEs).
The Fierce Urgency of Now Festival brings Boston’s diverse young professionals together with business leaders, organizations and their peers to build connection, advance careers and ignite positive change.
BIMA (the Boston Interactive Media Association) serves a vibrant community of like-minded professionals from agencies, brands, publishers, and ad-tech companies with business interests in the New England market.
For 30 years, the Chamber’s Women’s Network has connected female professionals of all background and career levels. Today, our Women’s Network is the largest in New England, strengthening the professional networks of women each year.
The Massachusetts Apprentice Network convenes employers, training providers, and talent sources interested in developing and implementing apprenticeship programs in occupations across industries and statewide in fields such as tech, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and more.
We support small business through public policy initiatives, events designed to connect small businesses in Greater Boston to their peers and established business leaders, professional development offerings, and free small business advising.
Explore our mission and values to better understand how we are leading the business community forward.
Our member directory is your resource to discover, connect, and engage with Boston’s businesses from every industry and sector.
September 20, 2021
Download the letter to Secretary Tesler and General Manager Poftak.
The Chamber submitted a letter to Secretary Tesler and General Manager Poftak to convey two concerns raised by our members as they prepare for the return to physical offices. At a recent meeting of the Chamber’s Transportation & Infrastructure Leadership Council, members cited the lack of fare products and mask enforcement as hurdles to their employees riding public transit when they return to the office.
Member companies point out the current fare pass options are limited and employees do not believe they will meet their needs in a hybrid world. In a recent survey, 84 percent of the Chamber’s Board of Directors indicated their organization will return to the office less than five days per week. However, the MBTA primarily offers weekly and monthly passes that are designed for daily commuters. The future of work – which has already arrived for some – is rooted in flexibility. Riders should have options to purchase different fare products, such as bundles of discounted trips to be used at the rider’s discretion or passes limited to mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) rides.
Flexible passes are already successful on the commuter rail, including the $10 weekend pass and five-day flex pass. The MBTA was wise to extend the five-day flex pass pilot until March 2022 and we urge it to be renewed. The MBTA should go further and broaden the appeal of flexible products by making them available through the Perq program which enables employees to purchase taxes on a pre-tax basis and to apply any employer subsidies.
Importantly, commuters on bus, heavy rail, light rail, and ferry services deserve similar options to the commuter rail. AFC 2.0, which is designed to allow flexible MBTA fares, is three years behind schedule and $200 million over budget. As a result, the MBTA is unable to deliver riders the fare options they deserve. This is not an acceptable reason to limit customer’s option and the MBTA should explore alternatives to provide flexible passes on its core system until AFC 2.0 is delivered.
Absent flexible passes that allow savings for riders, many workers will choose to commute by car on the days they go into the office. This trend is already underway, with traffic at pre-pandemic levels despite some major employers operating in hybrid models or remotely. High parking costs at MBTA stations, which are based on pre-pandemic demand and have not been reassessed, risks exacerbating the shifts away from public transit.
In addition to fares, Chamber members conveyed that some employees fear returning to the MBTA because of inconsistent compliance with the federal mask mandate on public transportation. We urge the MBTA to do more to educate the public about masking requirements and consider stronger enforcement of the federal mask mandate.
Download the Letter
Senior Vice President, Policy & Research