Fare collection challenges for the MBTA

Fare evasion is an ongoing problem for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Green Line, and Transit on the Line explores some of the reasons. When the light-rail trains are crowded,  operators often let customers board through the back doors.  Although some stations have fare validation machines, many customers do not know what they do or or how to use them. Transit on the Line writes:

Why would anyone with a CharlieCard smart card, loaded with monthly pass and/or cash fare, tap in order to receive a paper CharlieTicket? This is especially confounding for or unclear to people unfamiliar with the proof-of-payment method of fare collection, which is a massive swath of Americans who either don’t have access to transit or are used to metro (fare gates), bus (on-board payment at farebox), or commuter rail style (ticket and conductor) fare collection. Only after you tap do you get instructions on-screen to hold onto the ticket in the (unlikely) event of a fare inspection and that the ticket is your proof of payment.

The MBTA has stepped up fare enforcement in recent months, and the agency is seeking legislative authority to increase the fines for fare evasion. Still, Transit on the Line argues that taking a more aggressive stance against fare scofflaws may be important but should not be a priority given the larger funding issues that the MBTA faces.  Link to full story in Transit on the Line.

Photo credit: Susan Bregman

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