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Why no silver line expansion?

The MBTA General Manager, Rich Davey, answers readers' questions.

Why can’t the T run Silver Line service from South Station to North Station down Atlantic Avenue? This is a straight line and would not take long to get to North and South stations. At North Station the buses could let passengers board near the shuttle to Lechmere.

– Tom Kauycheck

Thank you for taking the time to share your idea relating to the expansion of Silver Line service between South and North stations. Please know that our goal is to ensure customers are provided safe, reliable and accessible service that not only meets their transit needs, but also is delivered in the most cost efficient manner. To operate Silver Line service between South and North stations would be costly requiring additional resources including funding, personnel and vehicles. Presently, bus Route 4 provides a connection between North and South stations during weekday rush hours adequately serving customers to their destination. In addition, most of the south-side commuter rail lines stop at Back Bay Station, where customers can easily transfer to the Orange Line for direct service to North Station. We will continue to monitor the level of demand for additional service along this corridor.

Why does the commuter rail system not offer a senior-rate monthly pass? In order to take advantage of reduced rates for seniors on the commuter rail/subway/bus systems, seniors must buy 10-ride senior tickets for the train and keep a senior CharlieCard stocked with funds. Nonsenior riders need only purchase a single monthly pass to gain unlimited access to all systems. Why the discrepancy?

– Dan Grandine

I appreciate your suggestion and information regarding the adoption of a discounted monthly pass for seniors on commuter rail. Please know that providing all customers with the convenience to access the system easily and effortlessly is a priority that we continue to explore. The creation of a senior-rate monthly commuter rail pass requires a modification to the existing fare structure that is determined by a fare policy committee and ultimately must be approved by the MBTA Board of Directors. As the MBTA moves forward with a potential fare increase, an impacts analysis study is under way to determine the effects an increase will have on service, ridership and revenue. The recently established Fare Policy Committee will work to provide direction for a new Fare Policy by engaging the public and transit advocacy voices into the planning process through public meetings and hearings.

The MBTA is committed to evaluating the impacts of a potential fare increase and continues to encourage customers like yourself to share ideas and recommendations for a better, more user-friendly system. Your suggestion will be forwarded to the Fare Policy Committee for review and discussion in upcoming meetings to determine future fare levels.

– Send your questions for the GM to letters@metro.us or tweet them @MetroBOS.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send 300-word submissions to letters@metro.us.

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