MBTA CFO outlines fare policy options

The MBTA is analyzing its fare policies.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Transit officials plan to consider changes to the price difference between bus and subway rides, limit cash transactions and potentially offer certain fares that correspond to a traveler’s ability to pay, according to MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis.

Over the next six months, MBTA officials will analyze a potential 5 percent fare increase for next July; after that the agency will look at a “broader change in fare policy,” Davis told the Massachusetts Transportation Board last week.

“These are items that will be looked at after the fare increase,” Davis said.

In future years, the T will consider limiting the amount of cash that can be uploaded onto a Charlie Card at a bus fare box, Davis said. Currently, if riders don’t have enough money on their card they can add value before getting on the bus, but that process can slow down boarding. The plastic Charlie Cards, which can be loaded up with dollars or monthly passes, give riders a 50-cent per-trip discount off what they would pay with just cash.

A bus commuter himself, Davis said the T would also look at changes to the bus-versus-train fare differential. The Charlie Card fare for subways and trolleys is $2, which is 50 cents more than a bus fare.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott has declared herself a proponent of buses.

“I like all the modes. I like busing though,” Scott said in an interview soon after her arrival, about a year ago. “I really do love the bus a lot because I call it the Rodney Dangerfield of transit, you know, ‘Don’t get no respect’ but carry so many passenger trips.”

Davis said the MBTA will also look to reduce the number of cash transactions at the MBTA’s parking lots, and would “review our parking rate structure” and consider “setting tiered parking rates.”

Starting in January, the MBTA will provide Charlie Cards that grant free trips to passengers who qualify as “conditional” users of The Ride, the door-to-door service for disabled individuals, Davis said. Conditional users qualify for certain Ride trips, as opposed to unconditional users who cannot use the system of buses and subways.

The Transportation Board last week voted to reduce The Ride fare from $4 to $3.

Penelope Ann Shaw, a 70-year-old who lives at a Braintree nursing home, said The Ride was transformative after nine and a half years spent in health facilities, though the cost is substantial for some users.

“I have $9.80 per week to live on. One Ride trip round-trip is $8, wipes out my entire week’s spending,” Shaw told the board before the vote.

Shaw said the Ride allows her to do a range of activities that might otherwise be unattainable.

“I can go to a service, speak the eulogy at someone’s funeral who’s important to me, or I can go to the supermarket,” said Shaw, describing activities that people without transportation hindrances might find easily achievable.

Davis said the fares next year would not be raised for The Ride customers. The MBTA was limited to 5 percent fare increases every two years in July’s tax package, which funneled motor vehicle sales tax receipts to transportation and increased the gas tax by 3 cents a gallon, linking future increases to inflation.

“Some modes may have increases in excess of 5 percent to account for the reduction in the Ride fare,” Davis said.

Seniors have called for an income-based tiered fare structure for The Ride, and Davis said the MBTA would look at tiered fare structures, though the transit authority would not be the agency that verifies incomes.

“We’ll take a look at means-testing alternatives,” Davis said. He said, “The MBTA would not be the certifying entity.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Seven arrests made in $1.6 million StubHub cyberfraud…

Police have arrested seven people on charges they were tied to an international ring that defrauded eBay Inc's StubHub online ticketing service of some $1.6 million, the latest in a…

National

Giant ketchup bottle up for sale in southern…

By Mary WisniewskiCHICAGO (Reuters) - Want a giant historic order of fries with that?A water tower shaped like a 170-foot-tall ketchup bottle is for sale…

Local

NYPD: Man denied money punches 65-year-old at Bronx…

A 65-year-old man was punched and shoved at a D train station in the Bronx last week when he denied another man money, police said.

Local

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the…

Arts

Artist Fiona Yang creates stunning 3-D murals that…

Vancouver-based artist Fiona Tang creates large-scale murals of animals that appear three-dimensional.

Television

Portia de Rossi to appear on 'Scandal'

Portia de Rossi will be appearing in a few episodes of "Sandal" in a yet-to-be-revealed arc.

Entertainment

One Direction fans celebrate four years of Harry…

Whether you love them or hate them — or if you say that you hate them and secretly sing along to their songs alone in…

Music

Jack White attends Cubs game, looks miserable

Jack White went to a Cubs game and got photographed looking really unhappy about it.

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

NFL

3 storylines to watch as Jets open training…

Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be in for an even tougher job in 2014 after arguably his best coaching job last season.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

Wellbeing

Marijuana lube is a real thing

Heighten your sexual experience by actually getting high. Foria, a cannabis-infused "sensual enhancement oil," is now on the market, kind of — residents of California…

Style

How to dress like a socialite while sticking…

Nicky Hilton is releasing a new book about how to dress fabulously while sticking to a budget.

Parenting

The best Back-To-School Backpacks

Get ready for back-to-school with these stylish kids' backpacks.

Education

Elementary school students like their healthy school lunches…

When the federal government first rolled out its healthier school meal guidelines in 2012, elementary schoolers weren't happy. Much was written about how America's youngest…