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New MBTA fare system will be late, way more expensive

The State House News Service reports.

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Comments

The linked article refers to "all door boarding" on buses and the green line. How would this actually work? Why would it work with a credit card but not currently with a Charlie Card? If there is no person to monitor the use of a payment card, what will prevent someone just boarding and not paying.
I hope we are not talking about some kind of electronic automatic debit from the card in your pocket, like tolls on the MassPike. If we are , then what happens when the train is so crowded, people near the door have to move out of the bus or train car to let people off. Will they then be automatically debited again when they re-enter the bus or train car?

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All doors will have tap card readers, which can read CharlieCards or mobile phones. When you board a vehicle, you will be expected to tap to pay. Random fare inspectors throughout the system may ask you to show proof that you paid. When you tap your card or phone on a handheld device that they have, it will show that you have paid. If not, you will be issued a fine.

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That should work just about as well as it does on the commuter rail. That is, often, not at all.

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All I want is a system that doesn't leave 20 people standing in the rain while one person tries to feed crumpled dollar bills into the farebox for five minutes. Can we do that in less than five years for less than a billion dollars?

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We could do it for free, right now: paying with cash? Stand aside and let everyone else on first.

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But I would board and pay last if I had crumpled bills. What sociopath wouldn't?

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A bunch, I think assume (sometimes correctly) that the driver will wave them on for free rather than wait. It's really a terrific system.

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even more disgusted with those POS fare boxes than the rest of us are.

Many is the time I've said "the people who designed those things should be shot" and had the driver agree.

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Where is the bus rider etiquette?? On the few occasions that I have to use bills whether they're crumpled or fresh off the printer I always wait till everyone has boarded until I get on. While I'm griping, can folks please move to the rear of the bus and stop clogging the doorway? Would it hurt to move your backpack,purse or random item off of the extra seat that you did NOT pay for? When you have the outside seat why not just stand up and let the person on the inside move past you instead of remaining seating and making a half-assed effort to move the hell out of the way!

Thank you and good night.

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Under the new plan, you will not be able to pay cash to board trolleys or buses.

Judging from other cities where this has been rolled out, with a Charlie Card (or whatever the new system will be called) you will be able to run a deficit of one bus (or trolley) ride, allowing you to top off some place down the line. How that will work for someone without a Charlie Card remains to be seen, but in places like London and Chicago, they have a system.

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I can already hear it “yooo my phone died, what you want me to do broooo”

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How is that going to work with this new system? There's no proof of purchase, and once you're on the Silver Line bus you can transfer to any subway or streetcar line.

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Not if you pay cash. I rode the bus from Dudley heading to the airport. I used my monthly bus pass, got dropped at south station and had to pay for a Subway fare to transfer to the very same silver line that claims to give you service from Dudley to the airport.

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...inbound from the airport on SL1. SL3 will not be affected. Since there's no 448, 449 or 459 going to the airport anymore...but the Massport shuttles still do so I see how this can still be exploited...

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If I get on the SL1 at the airport, it's free. That takes me to South Station, where I can transfer to the Red Line, and from the Red Line I can make further transfers to the Green or Orange Lines. If a fare inspector wants to see my proof of payment, I don't have any.

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to the Blue, and so back to the airport to get on a SL1 for free again.

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Perhaps that's one of the exploits that they are unable to fix at this time.

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Why is it free?

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Ask them. All questions about this Silver Line exploit (don't actually call it that when talking to them, or they won't take you seriously) should be asked to them. Of course, getting a response is not guaranteed...

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Why would it work with a credit card but not currently with a Charlie Card?

the way the chips work has changed a huge amount since the charlie cards rolled out. an unfortunate negative of early adoption.

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In Finland, they don't check tickets everytime you board. An inspector comes around randomly and will issue a hefty fine if you don't have a ticket. I never understood why these solutions require 10's of millions of dollars.

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Keep it one hundred. All door boarding is what currently occurs in the c branch at rush hour on the Green line.

The train pulls up on the tiny narrow platform, which does not have a fare machine to reload your card. None of them do. Because of this you must pay cash on the vehicle.

When your trolley arrives, depending on how early you're commuting, it might stop and only open its front door, since no one is getting off, and the short queue of people on the platform can board through the single door.

If you're taking your trip later, during rush hour, you might find yourself in a queue spread out the length of the train, presented with a packed trolley which throws open all three of its doors and accepts another crush of passengers.

You are right on the money, the problem is not the hardware, it's the implementation.

Boarding takes more space than exiting. People will for darn sure make sure that they push their way out of the vehicle at their stop, but they won't necessarily move as far into the vehicle as possible when boarding.

So change the fare system, alright. Institute exit fare. You must exit past the driver or past an exit gate to pay your fare; everyone exits the vehicle by the front door first, and then all doors open to allow passengers to board.

Oh, and link Charlie cards to the commuter rail and RTAs already.

And frankly, make the investment in new hardware if it is helpful. But do the job right.

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What if the train is so crowded that it is not physically possible to get to the driver? The 71 and 73 have this exact same problem during the evening rush. This will lead to even more lost fares, because "systems of honor" do not work.

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I don't think I've seen a vehicle that crowded very frequently. People squish together and move out of the way. And if you've ever ridden a bus or train past your stop, you know what a pain that can be. People will push their way out to avoid this.

We act like people in this state are incapable of following directions. It's not that, it's just that the way we set things up, nothing makes sense.

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My point still stands. And before you play the "that's a bus, it's irrelevant" card, it's very relevant as those two routes outbound are, in fact, pay as you exit. ANd if they can't get tot he front door, they still have to get out, lest they ride out and back (as you said is not a viable option or comfortable) and are "expected" to go to the front and pay. That is a "system of honor" and very few will actually honor it. Of course, the real solution to the 71 and 73 is to add more buses in the PEAK direction, but that isn't relevent to the conversation.

How do you plan to implement pay as you get off in the case of a sardine can capaicity (such as 71 and 73 during OB rush hour)? Please note that if your reply shows that you didn't read the post, it will be ignored.

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because the system was tried here once, and led to Charlie remaining on the train because his wife kept handing him his lunch instead of money.

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by 2024.......
hahahaha.

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Has an App already and pay for fare on the phone simply/easily. I don't know what you think is to be improved...Boarding?

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Under the proposed new system if I don't have a credit card or whatever the T calls their card, I have to go to a store to buy a one time ticket?

So if there is no store near the T station (for example Shawmut) or if there is no store near the bus stop (many), I have to plan my trip to go to the store BEFORE I can use the T?

And keep in mind that many people use the T to go to a store, but now they must go to the store before they use the T.

If I understand this system, it punishes anyone who is poor, bad credit, or doesnt happen to have a card in their wallet when they want to take the T. Thus all T rides have to be planned in advance?

If I understand the proposed new system, I dont like it.

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At this rate, making the T fare-free could actually SAVE money.

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The MBTA needs a serious overhaul first, before they raise the fares. Otherwise, the public is screwed, if one gets the drift.

How would maintenance of the T be paid for if the MBTA was totally fare-free. I can understand not overcharging, which the the people who run the MBTA at large all too often do, but some money has to be coming in to pay for necessary maintenance, which, unfortunately , all too often fails to get done.

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Higher Gas Taxes

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Higher gas taxes is not the solution to EVERYTHING. As a daily MBTA commuter, i dont think Joe Schmo from Brockton should have to pay more for his commute to cover mine.

This idea is beyond stupid and will never happen. Forcing people who dont have access to rapid transit, to pay for those who do is selfish.

Not everyone lives or works at company accessible to the T. In fact, only a small number of us do.

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good luck getting the people in Western MA and other locations outside 495 in on this idea...

Comment cleaned up not in response to the guy below, but because the word I orignally used was, indeed, uncalled for, but the rest of my point stands.

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the people of Dumbfuckistan (Western MA and other locations outside 495)

...or are you like this every single day of your life?

I'll tell you one thing, if anyone was interested in sinking any possibility of ANY funds for the MBTA, all they'd need is a screenshot of your idiot sociopath post.

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I removed the offensive part of my post. The rest of the point still stands, though. You are right that the D word was unneeded and rude.

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If the cost keeps going up, at some point it no longer collects enough fares to pay for itself.

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This is the central misconception in thinking about mass transit. A mass transit system does not pay for itself in fare revenue. It moves people in a way that creates a tremendous amount of value to society, when it is effective. We don't toll every road in order to pay for the cost of building and maintaining every road. We build the roads at considerable cost because we hope to realize the benefit of transportation. Mass transit is no different. Fares will never cover the operational and maintenance budget of the T, just as tolls will never pay off the highways. We all pay because we all need people and things to move.

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I don't think Dan and mg were suggesting that a public Mass transit system pays for itself in fare revenue.
They were saying (only partly facetiously) that we might reach the state of affairs where fare revenue doesn't even cover the cost of fare collection.

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The 2020 budget predicts $690M in fare collection, which means that this upgrade will cost more than an entire year of fares to implement. Spread out over 4-5 years it would cost less than the incoming fares. But, that is just for the new program. It's not immediately clear how much the T spends on annual fare collection. If we went fare free, you would be able to eliminate the costs of ticketing machines, turnstiles, fare enforcement, and the staffing that is used to upkeep those elements and physically collect and handle the cash from all the machines.It's probably a substantial amount of money, although I am not sure it can be broken down cleanly (the same people that repair turnstiles or reload machines likely also do other repairs and maintenance, for instance).

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Exactly. If collecting fares costs more than the fares collected are worth, then it becomes a simple question:

Is keeping people who can't afford the fare and aren't willing to fare-jump from using the system worth more to us that what it costs to keep them off?

I think most would agree that a system that keeps only the law-abiding poor out isn't worth anything.

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How about fixing the dangerous crumbling stairways and water leaks all over the system first?

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The old token system is looking better and better.

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Scanned too fast, all I read was "MBTA will be late, way more expensive." What's new?

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The Transit Police refuse to enforce fare evasion so the MBTA will have to hire hundreds of fare inspectors to do the job.

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Our economy depends upon people taking the T to and from work; it makes more sense to let a few people skip fare than it does to spend money on the process of penalizing them. We wouldn't need cops to harass people for fare money if we (the public) owned the T to begin with.

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Late and over budget.
Is there any other kind of MBTA project?

Remember when we had durable metal turnstyles and durable metal tokens, and they lasted for decades? The Charie Card stuff is what, 15 years old, and completely obsolete and broken now?

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/s

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