Information on MBTA’s New Commuter Rail Fare Structure – Effective July 1, 2012
The MBTA is introducing a new, two-tiered fare structure for commuter rail this year in order to improve on-board fare collection and help improve customer boarding and alighting times. At present, conductors collect over $1,500,000 each month in cash for fares purchased on board. This increasingly high number of cash transactions takes the conductor’s time away from two key duties: checking passes and opening and closing doors. Under the new structure, the pricing encourages passengers to purchase tickets in advance at a ticket window or machine. All tickets purchased off board are $3.00 less than for on board purchases.
To help inform customers about this structure, our printed schedules and on line materials will list both sets of prices so that it is clear which price applies in each case. By reducing the number of cash transactions on board, the structure provides two customer service improvements. First, conductors can move more quickly through the train so that all tickets and passes can be verified, helping to reduce fare evasion; second, with less time devoted to cash transactions, more time is available to attend to doors, which improves boarding and alighting speed. This will contribute to improved on time performance. Because we do not have ticket vending machines at every location, we have chosen to retain a cash option for our customers. Some transit agencies do not allow any cash transactions on board, reducing their administrative costs. At this time, the MBTA is not in a position to fully-eliminate cash sales on board.
As you may know, the MBTA is also preparing to introduce a pilot project enabling customers to pay for commuter rail travel on board via their telephones. With the increasing availability of smartphones, mobile payment options are now in use at a growing range of retail locations and the MBTA is working to bring this convenience to our customers. If successful, this approach could help the MBTA avoid the purchase and maintenance costs of ticket machines while allowing our customers greater flexibility in when and how tickets are purchased. If you are interested in learning more about this pilot project, please see www.mbta.com for details as the project is developed.
Any additional questions on the new MBTA fares or the newly implemented commuter rail ticket expiration dates should be submitted to the MBTA. You may also reach them by phone at: (617) 222-3200 or online at www.mbta.com.