The MBTA Union has stated that a dozen fare gates were left open when they were too full of cash to work properly, allowing passengers to take free rides last week.
The fare collection problem was blamed on a change in the routes of the employees tasked with driving to stations to collect the cash, the Boston Globe reported, adding that 12 of 84 fare machines were affected.
"We received notices from employees that fare gates were being left open to accommodate the amount of riders who had to be given free trips due to inoperable fare machines," Boston Carmen’s Union President James O’Brien was quoted by the Globe.
MBTA officials disputed the reason for the gates being left open, saying that full fare machines are not uncommon, WCVB reported, adding that the controversy started as transit officials have announced that they may lay off workers.
"Every day, some of [the fare vending machines] fill up," Nicholas Easley, the T’s director of flexible contracting, told the Globe, also stating that there are more than 300 such machines.
MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve said the transit agency is looking to streamline its operation for added efficiency as it faces a potential $110 million deficit, the Boston Globe reported in a separate article.