T considering possible refunds for pass holders

Buried in the latest edition of the MBTA's winter service-update page today is a "special message to our valued customers" from T General Manager Beverly Scott (still on the job until April) that includes this:

Understandably, given the extended duration of our severe weather challenges, a number of questions have been raised regarding fare reimbursement, including a range of suggestions.

On March 3rd, MBTA staff will review a series of options with the Finance Committee of the MassDOT Board of Directors.

A final recommendation will be brought to the next meeting of the MassDOT Board on March 11th.

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Wouldn't it be awesome if

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Wouldn't it be awesome if commuter rail pass holders continued to show their February pass next week?

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Well

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Seeing that most people pay for their passes via payroll to avoid taxes your suggestion is pointless. I already have my march pass and my next paycheck will have deductions for my April pass.

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Fair enough.

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Fair enough.

Thanks for pointing that out.

I wonder how any reimbursement would work for riders whose pass cost comes right from their paycheck.

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They'll have to do something

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They'll have to do something like give people a free April pass (or May, or June, seeing the glacial pace at which they "consider" things).

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The only other time I'm aware of

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that they offered refunds on CR monthly passes was after the 1982 B&M workers strike. You had to physically appear at North or South Station and present your pass to get the refund. The agent then cut the pass in half and gave you one piece - this satisfied those folks who would turn in their passes for a car insurance discount.

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Ditto

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The best way would be for people to bring their monthly pass to a place. An MBTA employee would take the pass, run it through a reader, and would give the holder a percentage of the pass amount in cash. That's it. That would take some work and you need more than a few "readers" of course.

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Not if you paid out of payroll

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There are tax implications to this. For everyone who has their pass paid for out of their paychecks and doesn't pay income on the pass, they'd probably owe income tax on any refunded pass amount. Tracking this could be a pain.

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The 2015 limit for pre-tax

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The 2015 limit for pre-tax transit is $130 per month. Commuter rail fares blow this out of the water -- a Zone 1 is $182, and it goes up from there.

Even if they retroactively raise it back to $250 (like they did for 2014), Zone 5 ($265) and higher passes still aren't totally covered pre-tax.

All part of the fun of riding the most expensive commuter railroad in the United States.

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A great idea!

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Somehow it will get screwed up and passengers will have another month of March madness

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The fact that MBTA senior management

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has already decided that they can't make any decision on this without conferring with the MassDOT Finance Committee first should already speak volumes as to the potential for this to be royally screwed up.

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Not that I'm a fan of the

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Not that I'm a fan of the state's transportation decision-making process, but it does make sense for the MassDOT board to have to vote on unusual multimillion dollar expenses like this one.

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FREE RIDES!

WE DEMAND FWEE RIDES FOR EVERYBODY WITH CHARLIECARDS :D

Neh, probably impossible, but one can dream...

Remember when fares for the T were less than two bucks?

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Two bucks?

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I remember when fares were less than 25 cents. No, I'm not THAT old - rather, it was a special promotion in the mid-1970s called "Dime Time". As the name implies, to encourage ridership, off peak subway fares were only a dime.

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Old T fares

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When I was a Boston Latin student in the early 70s the student fare was a dime. The regular fare in the mid 70s was a quarter which was put directly into the slot in the turnstiles, as some of you will recall. This was before the fare went up from a quarter and they brought back the tokens. Funny, at the time I thought bringing back the tokens was a step backward. Little did I know what the future held.

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I rememer the good old days...

...when you could bring a guest for free on Sundays. I forget when that benefit disappeared.

But what I miss most is free outbound service at street-level stops on the Green Line. Not because the BU kids lucked out, but because it sped up service for the rest of us! This front-door-only policy (when it's enforced) is a ridiculous time-waster.

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Dealing with weekend Commuter

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Dealing with weekend Commuter Rail schedules is so awful that the up-to-$21 round trip fare doesn't seem like a big deal in comparison.

I think I'm going to pre-emptively reserve a rental car with Enterprise every weekend, just in case I might need it. $9.99/day for two days, plus a few dollars tax and gas, is totally worth it to avoid wasting my life waiting for the train and getting to North Station.

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The anomalies...

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I think most of those (free Sunday guest, pay to exit at Quincy, etc.) went out with the introduction of the Charlie Card/Ticket.

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Pay to exit!

That brings back memories!

Not sure if you can still get away with it, but you used to be able to jump on any commuter rain or Amtrak train at South Station and ride to Back Bay without a ticket. The conductors either didn't have the time or the inclination to check for tickets on that leg of the journey. Unfortunately, one day I was in a huge rush, and didn't realize that some trains DIDN'T pass through Back Bay. ( I know, serves me right for fare evasion!)

Next thing you know, I'm all the way in Braintree (or maybe Quincy?), hopelessly late. I asked someone the quickest way back into Boston, and was directed to the bus to South Boston. And that was my first (and probably last) experience with having to pay to exit the station! And adding salt to the wound, if I'm not mistaken, it cost TWO tokens to exit, not just one!

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Unless they changed things

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Unless they changed things recently, the other direction (Back Bay to South Station) is officially free.

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This is correct. Inbound

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This is correct. Inbound travel within zone 1A is officially free. I occasionally ride from Ruggles to South Station to take advantage of this.

Outbound, however, is only free if the conductor doesn't make it to you, but my last couple Southside trips the conductor has come around before we even leave South Station.

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All inbound travel in zone 1A?

Even Porter Square, West Medford, Malden, or Chelsea to North Station? I've never heard of this and I don't see it documented anywhere.

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Nope, not all of Zone 1A.

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Nope, not all of Zone 1A. Just Back Bay to South Station inbound (unless this changed recently).

Other 1A trips are $2.10 (plus the $3 on-board surcharge if there was a ticket machine or vendor where you boarded).

If you're riding free from Ruggles, it's because the conductors are lazy.

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Amtrak checks tickets on the

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Amtrak checks tickets on the platform at South Station, so you haven't been able to do this in a long time.

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Sigh.

Another tradition squashed by the security state!

Hey Adam, how about a new thread about things that have changed for the worse in Boston, post 9/11? Like this Amtrak platform security? And here's another one: closing the Hancock Observation Deck. That really sucks, especially since that public access was part of their deal to get construction approved in the first place.

Anyway, probably doesn't belong in this thread, but it would be an interesting topic!

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Yep

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I got spoken to by a security guard for being on the platform with a toddler LOOKING AT A TRAIN that was closed up and was nowhere near boarding time. "You can't be down here without a ticket." OK then.

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That's a damn shame.

Seriously, how sad that you can't even give a little kid an up-close look at a train station, or, God forbid, an airport. I cherish the memories of sending my grandparents off on various trips (on Allegheny and Eastern Airlines!) from T.F. Green in Warwick, back when could go all the way to the gate and wave as the plane pulled away. Were the '60s really that long ago? Sigh.

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