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State looks to reduce fine for T fare evasion

The MBTA holds a hearing next week on a proposal to reduce the fine for piggybacking and other forms of fare evasion from $100 to $50 for a first offense.

The proposed reduction is part of an overall state transportation funding effort, approved in January, that will help pay for the T's transition to a state-of-the-art fare collection system that will, among other things, make buses and trolleys entirely cashless, let people board via rear doors at above-ground stops and create a new T team to make sure people have paid their fare. Also, the T has gotten repeated requests to reduce the fines as unnecessarily punitive.

The online meeting begins at 6 p.m. on April 15.




Now make the T free.


Now I'd like to see the fare eliminated entirely. Making the T free will eliminate the need for all of these methods of enforcing fare collection. More riders = higher advertising revenue, less road use, less expenditure on fare enforcement.


And temporary drops in ridership because of say, a pandemic, wouldn't effect revenue causing major service cuts.

Don’t get me wrong, I will love a free T. But isn’t the T already as problematic as is? Will giving free rides help with T funding on fixing these problems?

You say higher advertising revenue but there’s only so much walls and public announcements. You say more riders, but you have to understand, some people can’t rely on the T with all these derailments and delays. Also, standing in a crowded train is miserable which gives more reasons for people to drive in.

Free will help, but it isn’t going to solve the the one problem that the T has, and that is it being sh**. (Rhymes with pit)

... and enforcement would also mean more expenditure on service.

Because that is what the T is, a public service, not a for profit business.


You realize they are going to hire new people-who's only job will be to check that passengers have paid. Mark my words there will be very little accounting of where these people are & what they are doing. It'll cost more!

Will attract the homeless to ride on trains/buses the entire day. In fact, amid the current pandemic, there are already many homeless people on the subway system, many of whom are maskless and present a public health threat.

Unless that issue can be addressed, there's no guarantee that there will be more riders and less road use. Realistically, the types of people who paid for downtown parking pre-Covid will never switch to a free T if it means having to deal with the homeless...


...for a single fare.

Realistically, the types of people who paid for downtown parking pre-Covid will never switch to a free T if it means having to deal with the homeless...

For those people, the difference between a free T and a paid-for T is a pittance. The presence of homeless people is not why they're not using the T, and they are not the target of such an initiative.


Let's be perfectly clear because the post is not. This is something the MBTA WANTS to do and has actively sought to do for years. inb4 some electeds start claiming credit for something the T has wanted to do on its own volition.

That’s just stupid. So many folks wait around to tailgate you at the gate when you actually pay. While they’re at it, why not drop the fine to $2.40 and index it to fare increases?

The proposal does not require that violators provide proof of identification if caught.

In other words, any rational person would just provide a false name to the inspector, meaning that there will be no real consequences for anyone.

We should make T free. Just look at other world-class subway systems for an example.


Which systems are those?


Ask Jeeves

Are world-class? Really?

What about voter suppression? The lack of civil liberties? etc. etc.

I had a feeling you were trolling.

It's a real bummer that there are so many people such as yourself who are content with the idea that everything has to suck and anything that would improve the day to day life of an average person isn't pragmatic.


how will i be better than anyone?


There are so many people who think that money isn't needed for a decent transit system. This whole "free the T" nonsense reminds me of that whole libertarian thing over a decade ago when they put a question on the ballot to abolish the state income tax. While this comes from different sides of the political spectrum, the same question arises- "how are you going to deal with the lost revenue?" Fares amount to a decent portion of overall revenue at the T. If someone gave me a realistic answer to that question, I'd consider it. As it stands, the answer is a shrug.

But hey, if you want a transit system where there is no fare revenue, fight for it, but do look at the T's proposals to balance the budget when fares were down a mere 80% and ask yourself if weekend and night service is something you value.

but isn't the argument that fares don't really account for that much revenue, once you remove the part of that revenue that goes to paying for fare gates, collection systems, workers to service said systems, etc? The problem with looking at current numbers when fares are down is that those costs don't go away, as they would with a free system.


And according to the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts, losing 24% of state revenue would be okay because 24% of state spending is waste, according to a survey of voters they did.

Look, if 25% of T spending is solely based on revenue collection, the argument would end right there, as it would be a revenue neutral proposal, but that's not the case. Basing a concrete proposal on soft numbers is a recipe for a decline in the quality of service provided by the T.

And yes, we cannot look at the numbers since March 2020, but again, do note that what was going to happen with service was an example of what could happen without money coming into the farebox. We have the largess of the federal government to thank for things not being much much worse, but I don't see Washington doing that forever.

I'm sure it's mere chance that you picked those two cities and not for any specific reasons.



I’ve taken rides on subways all over the world. London, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, New York, to name a few. World class, every one. Not a single one was free. In fact, I think every one of them cost more to ride than the T.


For sure not true for Shanghai and Paris. Too lazy to check the others...


While I support the idea...

We will do this on the very same day electronic toll gantries are installed on every major road & highway in the state to start to charge car drivers 'fares'. I mean fare is fair, drivers should pay their fair share too.

In plain terms.. neither will happen until pigs in the shape of Donald Trump fly out of Elizabeth Warren's behind while she's singing a rendition Debbie Gibson's Shake Your Love live on OANN. (read: ain't happening)

It's a great idea. I've always failed to see most DOT funding goes towards roads, yet drivers don't seem to 'pay more' in tolls when repairs/upgrades are needed. But transit.. OPEN YOUR WALLETS RIDERS AND PAYYYYYY.

PS - You're welcome for that fine visual now.


Tolls are the most wasteful way to raise revenue for transportation. It would be far easier to raise the gas tax. And index it to inflation, since it actually goes down in real dollars every year.

This has the added side benefit of encouraging more efficient vehicles.

But the legislature tried it, and it got overturned by a referendum.


Seems about right. Very rare to see a fare evader who isn't a homeless addict. You can't get money from a rock.

If somebody hurriedly rushes through the gate you have just opened, it's reasonable to be startled and feel threatened. This should still be treated seriously.

Remember when there was a booth attendant in every underground subway station, selling tokens, giving directions, discouraging fare evasion? Have things improved since that was eliminated?


Only T police are now allowed to stop anyone for evading fares.
all other T employees are told and directed to not intervene and avoid conflict.
Like to see the data on these fines.
Pre pandemic at DTX I saw less than 5 fare evaders stopped in a three year period. I paid attention since one rushed behind me and i stopped him in the gate and pushed him back and then watched the T personal allow him to walk through behind someone else.

The T installs gate that aren't designed to be evaded? Maybe some kind of turnstile system like the MTA has?

I can't count the number of times people have swung their bag behind me to trick the gate, or just bumrushed me to the point where they're so fast it screws up the gate and won't open for me at all.