MBTA Fare System (Charlie, AFC 2.0, Zone, Discounts)

JumboBuc

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IIRC I don't think it is that simple.

Part of the major cost reduction strategy for the GLX stations, was to eliminate consolidated fare lobbies. This removed constraints on placement of elevators, versus stairs, which was driving cost. Without fare lobbies (mezzanine levels), I believe (could be wrong) many stations do not have logical locations for fare gates that capture both stairs and elevator access. Also, I believe more fare gates might be needed to service both platforms/directions ($). Also there is a need for fare vending machines -- in front of the fare gates.
Station plans as of 11/19/19 are here. Each station has a single center island platform. About half have one entrance/egress point (often with additional emergency only access) while the other half have two. Some should be trivially easy to retrofit with faregates while others will be slightly harder but still doable.

But even with AFC 2.0, fare-gate prepaid stations are preferable to paying on-board the trains.
 

whittle

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The MBTA has recently studied changing CR fares with a more gradual fare increase after Zone 1A or by creating a separate off/reverse-peak pricing scheme. Of particular interest to me was reverse/off-peak pricing since I tried my hand at (crudely) estimating this earlier this year. The T estimated allowing off and reverse peak riders to pay an interzone fare even if they are using a Zone 1A station would increase annual ridership short-term by 1million (14% increase for reverse & 16% for off peak) and would decrease fare collection by $18million (35%), noting they felt like these were conservative estimates.

For comparison, I tried comparing this to my estimate using the same pricing scheme, which was that it would cost ~$25million accounting for the fare increase. And whenever I was posed with a situation about info I didn't have (ie that's not public), I made the decision that would maximize cost to the point of absurdity (eg I assumed all fares were paid with single ride tickets and no ridership increase), so my estimate should be viewed as a number larger than the actual cost. Though, based on ridership for each time, I think I'm defining "peak" slightly more broadly than the T and that would lower the cost of my estimate relative to the T's (by about 3%). If I increased ridership by the same amount the T predicts*, that would reduce cost in my estimate to ~$20.4million.

And I've also discovered that the T does release information about the usage of monthly pass vs single ride tickets (pee pages 31-32). Monthly passes account for 75% of CR rides; plugging that into my model, gives a cost of ~$16million. However, reverse/off-peak rides are probably more ad hoc than peak trips. If I were to lower the monthly pass percent to 25% (the rate for interzone tickets), then the cost would be ~$19million. If it's exactly between those with half of riders using monthly passes, then it would cost ~17.6million, around what the T estimated. However, that's assuming all the monthly passes are reduced cost, but presumably there would still be some people with full cost monthly passes riding non-peak trains. If I stick with assuming half of all rides use monthly passes, and 10% of reverse peak pass holders and 30% of off-peak pass holders use the full price pass (I'm just spitballing), then I get an estimated cost of $15million.

All that's to say that I think the T is definitely being conservative in estimating the cost.

* - It was a little more complicated than increasing reverse/off-peak ridership by 14%/16% since presumably interzone trips won't see an increase in ridership. So just looking at the trips that will get a discount, I had to increase reverse peak ridership by 21% and off-peak ridership by 19% in order to reproduce the T's overall projected ridership increase

Edit: to make this clearer:
  • T's estimate: $18million
  • My estimate (assuming no new ridership; all single ride fares): $25million
  • My estimate (T's ridership increase; all single ride fares): $20.4million
  • My estimate (T's ridership increase; 75% reduced cost monthly pass): $16million
  • My estimate (T's ridership increase; 50% reduced cost monthly pass): $17.6million
  • My estimate (T's ridership increase; 25% reduced cost monthly pass): $19million
  • My estimate (T's ridership increase; 50% monthly pass, some full price): $15million
 
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Arlington

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CR should go to Zone 1A fares
start to 6am, (first train or two per line)
9:30am to 3:00 pm and
8pm to end every day.

Showing any monthly pass (incl bus only) would be good at those times.

The goal would be to call into existence both frequent midday service and midday ridership.
 
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Arenacale

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So, another complaint session from me, but last week, on my vacation, I still had to make a trip into Boston because my federal gov't employee transit card doesn't cover the full cost of a Zone 8 pass, and the only way to pay for a pass with 2 credit cards is to actually go to Back Bay. South Station, or North Station. Why can't I just go to Union Station and buy it there, even during normal working hours?

Even better would be to be able to buy it online, maybe using a unique discount code that ties into my subsidy/transit card, but as a federal employee I'm well aware that as inefficient as the T is, federal bureaucracy is worse and that would be a pipe dream from my employer's side.
 

Arlington

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Why can't I just go to Union Station and buy it there, even during normal working hours?
Is that Worcester Union Station? It would seem that the busy termini (Worcester, Lowell, Providence) should have this ability.
 

Arenacale

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Yes. The T website doesn't list any ticket counters there, only machines. I'll admit I've never actually been in there to check, but you'd think they'd want that prominently on the website if that were the case.
 

tysmith95

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Yes. The T website doesn't list any ticket counters there, only machines. I'll admit I've never actually been in there to check, but you'd think they'd want that prominently on the website if that were the case.
Anderson/Woburn has ticket counters.
 

jass

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Another (small) system has eliminated fares due to the cost of collecting fares

As of the New Year, no bus fare is needed to ride the Olympia area’s Intercity Transit. On Jan. 1, the transit agency became the largest in the Pacific Northwest to eliminate fare collection, leapfrogging Corvallis and Missoula which did so earlier.

Intercity Transit leadership looked at the cost of replacing its obsolete fare boxes with new electronic fare card readers and decided it wasn’t worth it, especially given the potential to increase ridership and speed up boarding by not charging fares at all.

“It costs a lot of money to collect money, which is surprising to a lot of people,” General Manager Ann Freeman-Manzanares said in an interview Thursday. “Looking at the broad list of things the community wanted us to address – in terms of access, equity, speed, reliability, addressing the environment, making sure that we’re as efficient as possible – the combination of those things actually led us to zero-fare.”

The system is now funded via sales tax.
 

DAVE

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I'm just excited not about the not paying part, but the fact that this leaves all door boarding always an option, with no 2 minute hold up for someone to put all their quarters on at the front of the bus with a line of ten people behind them. Would love to see this piloted in boston.
 

HelloBostonHi

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I'm just excited not about the not paying part, but the fact that this leaves all door boarding always an option, with no 2 minute hold up for someone to put all their quarters on at the front of the bus with a line of ten people behind them. Would love to see this piloted in boston.
We have all door boarding coming already. In theory.
 

johhn14

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So, another complaint session from me, but last week, on my vacation, I still had to make a trip into Boston because my federal gov't employee transit card doesn't cover the full cost of a Zone 8 pass, and the only way to pay for a pass with 2 credit cards is to actually go to Back Bay. South Station, or North Station. Why can't I just go to Union Station and buy it there, even during normal working hours?

Even better would be to be able to buy it online, maybe using a unique discount code that ties into my subsidy/transit card, but as a federal employee I'm well aware that as inefficient as the T is, federal bureaucracy is worse and that would be a pipe dream from my employer's side.
You can split fares and passes across multiple cards in the M Ticket app.
Doesn’t do you any good if you need a Charlie card, but works well if you don’t.
 

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