MBTA Hosting Multiple Public Forums for Feedback

MBTA staff  proposed to the Audit and Finance Subcommittee of the MBTA Board several fare policy changes as part of the MBTA’s Fare Transformation, which aims to make paying for transit easier and more convenient for our customers. 

“These fare media updates will provide MBTA riders with greater flexibility through the introduction of ‘tappable’ forms of payment that are compatible with future fare readers on buses and trolleys, allowing for all-door boarding and, ultimately, for faster service,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We know some changes will take time to get used to, like the $3 card fee that allows for ‘one more trip protection’ and making sure every rider has a Charlie Card or other form of fare payment. But, if approved by the MBTA’s Board in April, we’re excited to make these important improvements to our fare system and to provide even more easy-to-use fare options to our riders.”

Upon completion of the public input process in March and subject to the MBTA Board approval in April, these policy changes would go into effect with the introduction of the MBTA’s next phases of Fare Transformation. 

The MBTA is actively seeking public comment through multiple forums and channels on the following fare policy changes related to the upcoming fare media:

• Ending “Passback”: Currently allowed through the legacy fare system, the same CharlieCard or CharlieTicket loaded with fare value can be used to allow multiple riders through a fare gate. The MBTA refers to this practice as a “passback.” In order to have “proof of payment,” introduce mobile and contactless payments, and integrate the Commuter Rail without creating pricing errors, “passbacks” will be discontinued.

• Fare Media per Rider: Customers aged 12 and older will need to have their own fare media to ensure riders do not experience unexpected duplicate charges at fare gates and on fare readers as well as for riders to be able to provide proof of payment.

• $3 Fare Media Fee and Free Card Distribution: There will be a $3 card cost for most new fare media issued by the MBTA. The MBTA recognizes that the cost for fare media may be a burden for some riders and is currently developing a plan to distribute free Charlie Cards to minority and low-income communities through partner organizations. Cards will continue to be free to Reduced Fare Riders and for all riders purchasing a 1-Day Link Pass on a new Charlie Card.

• “One more trip” Protection on Charlie Cards: The upcoming fare media will allow riders to board with low/zero balance to improve convenience and avoid leaving riders stranded.

The MBTA welcomes and invites the public to provide feedback on these proposed updates and changes at a virtual public meeting to be held on Tuesday, March 15, at 6 PM and at the official public hearing to be held virtually on Tuesday, March 22, at 6 PM. For specific details to access these virtual meetings and/or to submit direct comments regarding these proposed updates and changes, please email [email protected]. The public may submit comments through Thursday, March 31, 2022.

For more information about Fare Transformation, please visit mbta.com/FareTransformation or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.

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