Hey, there! Log in / Register

MBTA - let your people go

Anyone want to help get the MBTA to get rid of the closed door policy on the Green Line?

Checked and no one else had set up Facebook page so I did. Welcome any and all suggestions. It's only going to get worse when school starts in the fall.

URL is www.facebook.com/MbtaLetYourPeopleGo

Thanks.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:

Do you like how UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

but is there any way you could have some sort of non-Facebook petition? Facebook's such a privacy sieve nowadays I don't "Like" things, since that permanently links you to them and vice versa.

up
Voting closed 0

i'm not wedded to facebook on this. it was just an easy way to see if i could get some interest in pushing to T on this. suggestions????

up
Voting closed 0

http://www.change.org/petition is one of the websites you can use to set up your own petition (which I will then happily sign)!

up
Voting closed 0

An elevated Green Line with turnstyle entries to cars would allow use of all doors. Solves the problem of dim people not moving to the back to make more room for people to get on.

Elevating the Green Line reduces operating costs, shortens transit times and waits by not having to contend with street crossings. Pedestrians can go up stairs/elevators at the sidewalks and not risk crossing busy streets, just crossing or to use the T.

These are all reasons why elevated subway lines were created in decades past. Much of the reason the Orange Line was taken down and re-routed was to reduce crime. It went through the worst neighborhoods in Boston - the new route went through less bad ones. Bad ones got buses. This contributed to Arlington not wanting the Red Line going through and importing crime, so the endpoint was made Alewife.

Did taking down the el improve neighborhoods? In the south end, yes. On the other side of Mass Ave, not so much.

up
Voting closed 0

Your trolley jumped the tracks after the first sentence. Nothing will ever solve the problem of dim people standing at the front.

Also: elevated trains imply fare control (and it's attendant operating costs) plus the capital costs to build and maintain.

up
Voting closed 0

The elevated orange line was a dark, loud wasteland of rooftop garbage and pigeon crap. It truly was a slum. Taking down the El was the best thing the T ever did especially south of Mass Ave in Roxbury and JP.

up
Voting closed 0

The Washington Street Elevated was before my time so I'm entirely willing to concede the point that it was an ugly hunk of junk which promoted blight. But my understanding is that it's entirely possible to build elevated tracks far more compactly than the Orange Line was. Using more modern construction techniques you could probably build something more "monorail-style" which would cast far less gloom on the area below.

Although if you're going to be doing a big construction project like that going the extra mile and burying the tracks might be preferable.

up
Voting closed 0

The El was fun to ride & had great views but it created dark miserable cave like atmosphere below. Don't miss it at all and have to say all neighborhoods have improved greatly since it was taken down.

up
Voting closed 0

Thanks to all of those idiots standing at the front there are usually a couple of places to sit down at the very back, especially if you're not afraid to say "excuse me" to the kid who hasn't clued in yet that putting his knapsack on an adjoining seat during rush hour is an asshole thing to do.

up
Voting closed 0

Elevated is very ugly and very expensive. Boston just spent years pulling elevated down!

For short term relief, mbta should let people exit through back doors. Put OUT ONLY arrows on back door stairs. Then there is no reason for someone to enter that way but leave an exit path

This is done on a lot of services in USA and other places

up
Voting closed 0

That will definitely help with fare evasion. Can't for the BostonInno story on this one ha ha.

up
Voting closed 0

Meanwhile in San Francisco.....

"One Month Into All-Door Boarding, Muni Reports Some Lines Moving Faster

One month after the SF Municipal Transportation Agency switched to system-wide all-door boarding, an early report from the agency shows some significant increases in bus speeds."

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/08/06/one-month-int...

up
Voting closed 0

here's how they deal with the fare evasion issue.

The change is also expected to reduce fare evasion by implementing a proof-of-payment system, which uses random fare inspections to enforce payment. The system has been successful on Muni’s light rail lines for more than a decade. However, it’s unclear if the ten additional fare inspectors hired by Muni (bringing the total up to 60) are enough to effectively eliminate the sense of security for fare evaders who make it onboard.

i think it's really important that they have documented that all door open policy decreases wait time. i think we can probably assume that the only front door open policy has slowed down the green line.

up
Voting closed 0

I like the idea of random enforcement, but it only works if the legislature lets the T grow some teeth about levying fines for non-payment. I believe it's a $10 fine right now, and since you aren't going to get caught more than 20% of the time, why bother? Make it $75, and now maybe you have people's attention.

up
Voting closed 0

The recently passed legislation that provided a temporary lifeline to the T also included a revamping of the fare evasion fines. I believe the final version that Patrick signed had a fine schedule of $50 for the first offense, $75 or something like that for the second and $300 for a third offense. You've got 30 days to appeal or pay up. Those who attempt to “fraudulently evade” a fare by using a fake ticket or other means would be subject to a fine of between $50 and $500. And if you don't pay they go after (ironically) your drivers license.

So there are teeth in them thar fines.

I'd say why don't we try a proof of payment system and fare kiosks at the stops (like them new fangled parking meters) before elevated or depressed Green Line tracks. (Although I'm sure BU would love to just sink all car and transit traffic on Comm Ave out to the Brighton split so they could have a quad-like campus setting.)

up
Voting closed 0

Proof-of-Payment enforcement with $250 for the first offense (with a bonus warrant check), and constant sweeps by the Sheriff's department.

Mindlessly crossing the tracks in front of an oncoming light rail train? $480, please!

The B.U. stretch of the B Line would be enough to bury the T's debt in about a week.

up
Voting closed 0

I can't stand the idea of a $250 fine for a proof-of-payment offense. I wouldn't want that hanging over my head in case I lost my ticket. It bothers me so much I'd probably give up riding the transit system.

While riding Seattle's light rail, I saw two people being grilled by a fare check official. They had unlimited passes, and were getting on and off at a lot of stops because one of them was blind, and the other was helping him learn to navigate the system. Apparently according to the official's card reader, they forgot to tap in or out at one of the stations.

In the end, the official let them go, but only after threatening them with a big fat fine. I see no reason to subject the transit-riding public to this kind of ordeal.

up
Voting closed 0

The fare evasion law is toothless. Out of state college students have nothing to fear. Might as well also fire up a joint since there nothing at all happens if you don't pay the $100 fine. With little downside to fare evasion, we are left with the front door only policy.
http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/Part...

up
Voting closed 0

The recently passed legislation changes this (see the post above). Additionally, as the post below notes, if the universities had a T pass fee incorporated into existing student fees (I believe UMass-Amherst and others do this for the PVTA), basically making all college students in the T service area pay for a pass, it would get rid of the need for front door only boarding process. Occasional checks of people on board would probably still be needed for the non-student scofflaws, but then again the number of students paying for monthly passes that they may not use that much should offset that minimal effect.

Or we could try and raise millions of capital dollars for an elevated or depressed tunnel which would take decades to build, run over-budget and add to the substantial infrastructure maintenance costs of the MBTA. I mean, whichever...

up
Voting closed 0

So why does the MGL 159-101 web page still say $15? Is it out of date? Is the law sloppily organized? Or is there a distinction between $50 criminal tickets from a cop and $15 noncriminal tickets from a T inspector?

up
Voting closed 0

Hmmm, I don't know. I'll try and find out why. I'm assuming the web page for MGL is kept up to date, but there may be a time lag between laws getting signed and updates on that page.

up
Voting closed 0

I thought we already had proof-of-payment on the Green Line.

Of course, since it was the T, they screwed it up by allowing cash-on-board payments, not doing enough ticket inspections, and not publicizing the policy so people didn't know to save their tickets.

up
Voting closed 0

I've already sent a note to mine. The following State Senators/2012 candidates have districts abutting or overlapping the Green Line surface branches:

Cynthia Creem (incl. most of Brookline):
http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Profile/CSC0
http://cindycreem.com/drupal1/
[email protected]
[email protected]

Sal DiDomenico (incl. some of Allston):
http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Profile/SND0
http://www.salforsenate.com/
[email protected]

William Brownsberger (incl. most of Allston/Brighton, some of Fenway):
http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Profile/WNB1
http://willbrownsberger.com/
[email protected]
[email protected]

up
Voting closed 0

It's just so awful! Frazzled parents with strollers screaming to be let out, disabled/elderly folks straining to weave through the crowds and up the stairs, and noticeably slower service. It's only a matter of time before they abandon this nonsense policy anyway - why not do it now! They just took a bad situation and made it worse. I don't know how many others this applies to, but I have a monthly pass so it doesn't matter at all whether I tap to get on or not. How much money were they really losing?

up
Voting closed 0

The MBTA is cash-strapped enough as it is. The general public will evade fares whenever given the opportunity...there is no denying that. Can you imagine the service interruptions that would happen if the MBTA decided to elevate FOUR street-level trolley lines to Els? Have we not learned from other infrastructure projects in Boston that such a project would take YEARS, if not over a decade, not to mention some controversies and perhaps a scandal or two, and be a drain to taxpayer money? Even elevating one, like the E Line, would take a lot of money and time to construct.

The other solution is the one the MBTA is using currently...to open only the front doors to prevent passengers from evading fare. Even when the trolleys opened all doors, I would walk to the front of the trolley to pay fare if I entered from a rear door, but I would see way too many people (again, on the E line from my experience) that would hop on and ignore the trolley drivers' requests to walk up front to pay fare. At times the trolleys would be so packed that one couldn't even walk up front to do that.

Even to put turnstiles at each above-ground station would require an immense time and money effort. Sure, it works at the Lechmere station, but it's been running like that for YEARS, and the station has the space to have that sort of setup. Would the stations on the B line and C line have that kind of space to make that setup feasible? The only line I can imagine that possible is the D Line.

So, my point is that there isn't a really good solution to the problem. Perhaps the MBTA should invest in a careful analysis of the difference in revenue gained from the closed-door policy compared to the revenue generated before the policy took place. This would answer if the closed-door policy is actually working. This should be presented to the public and come up with a time-oriented solution on how to fix the problem to preserve time efficiency while maximizing fare payments.

up
Voting closed 0

It's called Proof-of-Payment and it's deployed on nearly all other Light Rail systems in the world.

The MBTA is being lazy and unwilling to accept criticism. It is highly likely that they lose more money from slowing down trains (thus leading to more trains in service if they maintain schedules) than they save by stopping some fare evasion (outside of rush hours).

It is hard to tell for sure though, because they have never done any studies to find out how much evasion is costing them. Monthly passes are cheap, and you don't know that person boarding in the rear doesn't have one.

up
Voting closed 0

The most interesting part of the wikipedia article was this nugget, under "disadvantages":

...regularly exposing passengers to unpleasant confrontational situations when a rider without the proper proof is detained and removed from the vehicle.

I don't really view that as a disadvantage. That kind of public humiliation goes a long way toward altering behavior. It is difficult for me to feel bad for a fare evader, as such behavior is entirely within his/her control. Also, in my experiences on buses and light rail in Europe, the checking procedure takes 1-2 minutes at the most, and the authorities are always quite pleasant (amazingly, I have never seen one of the few people I've witnessed getting caught utter a ill word - they all have the look of people resigned to the consequences after they gambled and lost).

I was going to post a pic of an inspection underway in southern France, but I can't seem to get that to work. In any case, there were 2-4 SNCF personnel on the platform at each door of a commuter train, and a few inspector-types boarded each door. The presumptive evaders were transferred to the people on the platform. The train was stopped for less than a minute. I saw about 3-4 people who appeared to be getting cited.

up
Voting closed 0

I suggested elevated lines because it does solve many complaints... at a cost. Concrete pillars to elevate lines do allow more light below, but not a lot more unless pretty high. Think out of the box when considering ways to solve problems and weigh all the trade offs.

As for people not moving back, I suggest education, with signage and ads, and announcements. Even some students may catch on.

$20M is being planned to widen two medians and platforms by BU. Perhaps there could be room for turnstyles.

up
Voting closed 0

Remember what happened the last time Boston elevated a transportation line? They destroyed a neighborhood and then spent billions of dollars fifty years later trying to undo their mistake.

The "cheaper" solution would just be to hire a second person to stand at the rear door with a handheld card reader and only allow people with Charliecards entry. Not that the T has money for this either....

up
Voting closed 0

Cash up front.

Readers at all doors.

Random, train hopping inspections, thus not one new worker per train.

up
Voting closed 0

Negotiate with the colleges on the Green Line to have an MBTA fee and chip the student IDs so they become passes from September to May.

Charge every student $3-400 a year and come out ahead.

up
Voting closed 0

The MBTA should be setting up partnerships with all the local metro area colleges.

If you can get a college to sign on with it's entire student and employee populations, they could even offer substantial discounts due to the economics of scale. It's a Win-Win.

up
Voting closed 0

Many of the people that you assume are evading the fare have bought a monthly pass. There's no point fighting your way through a crowded trolley to tap your pass when there is no money exchanged.

up
Voting closed 0

Reading monthly passes makes for higher, more accurate ridership numbers, justification for more Green Line enhancements, and more federal subsidies.

up
Voting closed 0

Monthly passes need to be scanned. This stops multiple people using same pass

A monthly pass can only enter a t station every 20 minutes

up
Voting closed 0

All-door boarding worked well in the pre-CharlieCard days when we had identifiable T passes so frequent riders could enter the back doors (on both buses and Green Line trains). Now that everyone has to go in the front door to pay for a ride, it causes congestion.

The easiest thing the T could do for the Green Line is stop accepting cash fares. Put a fare machine at every station and require everyone buy a ticket before they board the train.

But a proof-of-payment system would go a long way toward dealing with fare evasion. It would be much easier to pick out the fare evaders and ask them to show their ticket. And it would probably be a heck of a lot cheaper than any other solution mentioned so far.

up
Voting closed 0

In the pre-CharlieCard days, outbound rides starting from above-ground stops were free. On inbound rides, which did cost money, they only opened the front door.

Note that this enabled them to open all doors without fear of fare evasion, since there was no fare to evade. It also brought the fares for round trips more in line with the level of service. Since the Green Line is NOT a rapid-transit line (except for the D branch, which indeed used to cost more in the pre-CharlieCard days), it shouldn't be charging rapid-transit fares. Given the level of service, surface-level Green Line fares shouldn't cost any more than bus fares.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist on this, and I don't ride the train nearly as much now as I did up to a year and a half ago (when I was a 7 day-a-week rider), but it appears to me that there is some kind of clandestine and concerted effort on the part of the T (and by "T" I can't say whether that is the unions, management, or a combination thereof) to make the riding experience so bad that the public just snaps and demands immediate action from the Legislature and Governor. Maybe this would be a good strategy, maybe it wouldn't, but in the meantime, it sucks for us.

For example, this past Saturday, I took the GL D-branch from Reservoir to Kenmore. We got to Reservoir at about 6:45 and there was a Sox game at 7:15. As most of you know, however, for the weekend games most of the fans arrive well before game time and therefore the trains are not usually unbearably crowded immediately before game time. Nevertheless, I expected some crowding.

What I found were three successive single car trains (in my 15+ years along the D-branch, I don't remember the regular use of single cars on Red Sox game days). We were finally able to get on the third one (on which I maintained a stress position for the ride to Kenmore, which took way longer than usual becuase of the one-door routine) after a total wait of about 25 minutes. Lots of people threw up their hands after the second train and left, which is how we were able to get on the third.

An additional observation: maybe it was the weekend yahoos who ride the train 2 times per year to go to Fenway and think that they have license to act like idiots on their "day out in the city", but the one-door policy is sooner or later going to lead to some real problems on board. Some people absolutely positively just plow through the crowd to get to the door or to the back of the train, without regard for anyone's well-being. I'm not talking about the normal (and appropriate) nudging of people who are standing in the way while giving a half-hearted "excuse me" - I'm talking bull-charge-with-anger-in-the-eyes here. At some point, someone's wife/husband/child/friend/mother is going to be trampled, and there is going to be a brawl or worse.

These are just examples of things that I've noticed over the past few months - I'm sure that many of you could give more and better ones. It could just be the financial cuts biting, but I just get a vibe from the employees and the whole scene that something else is going on. I'm interested in knowing what others think.

up
Voting closed 0

The more likely result is simply goign to be that that they're going to drive ridership away.

My poor experiences with the T led me to switch to bicycle commuting. I'm sure it's done similarly for others. Worst of all, it's probably gotten more than a few people back into their cars. :-(

up
Voting closed 0

Yes, this exactly. I haven't biked since i was in middle school, but I just purchased a bike over the weekend, which should be ready any day now, and then i'll be done with the MBTA for at least the next few months.

up
Voting closed 0

Let me try to put all the discussion about the brain storm for solution into one post.

There's seem to be discussion of 4 main solutions being discussed with 1 hypothetical. I will also add one of my own.

1. Reverse to the old status quo.
2. Readers on every door with random inspection to enforce it.
3. Elevate the Green Line.
4. Put a man on every train to take the payment.
5. Bury the Green Line.
6. Put an attendant on the worthwhile above ground stations.

Idea #1 is what the Facebook proposal seems to be.

Idea #2 is a popular idea by many commentators but the MBTA seems to be very resistant.

Idea #3 is just a hypothetical idea proposed by Mark, but generated a lot discussion despite it is very costly with no political willpower.

Idea #4 is another idea that generated a lot of discussion too, though costly.

Idea #5 is not really discussed here. But included for completeness as it was the original plan of the MTA (old MBTA).

Idea #6 is one that I think is a plausible idea. My proposal is just putting a man at the above ground stations with a card reader and a vending machine. It doesn't have to be every station. It can just be the popular ones like Harvard Ave. The rest can just be unmanned as before and eat the lost as the loss of revenue is not enough to justify the cost of salary for the attendant.

up
Voting closed 0

One way to have random fare inspections without making any physical changes -- in other words, it could be implemented tomorrow -- is to post an inspector in the back of a random Green Line train. If and only if the inspector sees someone board questionably through the rear door, then she has the authority to check that person's pass.

Probably could do this with one or two inspectors, maybe sending them out to "hot spots" of fare evasion as noted by operators, as well as randomly. At first, the inspections could be done in an advisory form -- basically to assess the actual level of fare evasion -- and then targets could be set in terms of expected value of catching and fining fare evasion vs salaries of inspectors.

Maybe they could even save money by having some of those rear train operators stand up and move around as inspectors, instead of doing nothing.

up
Voting closed 0

I used to ride the B into town, and I rode free all the time. I paid if I could get on the front, but if I couldn't, I considered it even for having to ride squished up against the door/people and barely able to breathe/move until Copley or Arlington. If someone was back there making me pay, I would have and I wouldn't have complained, but if I wanted to get onto the train, usually that wasn't a choice.

Why isn't something likethis an option? That seems like the easiest way to do this. They should also cut down on most of the Comm Ave cross traffic west of BU West, but that's another story.

up
Voting closed 0

a petition has been created on change.org

please sign:

http://www.change.org/petitions/mbta-let-your-peop...

it incorporates some (but not all) of the suggestions made here.

if you'd like to see it changed let me know.

thanks.

up
Voting closed 0

interesting information from a post to the let your people go facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/MbtaLetYourPeopleGo

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union recently successfully pushed for all-door boarding on the entire system. You may want to use some of the materials when organizing riders: http://sftru.org/all-door-boarding

up
Voting closed 0