The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has backed down on purchased on board Boston-bound trains.
Last month, the MBTA began publicizing its new fare structure, which included an additional $3 surcharge, per-person, for tickets bought onboard commuter rail trains. But at dozens of stations, including , there is nowhere to buy a ticket in advance at a retail outlet or fare machine.
“For inbound trips, the MBTA will follow its current policy of charging an on-board surcharge for customers who do not purchase tickets before boarding at stations where fares may be purchased before boarding,” T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail statement announcing the amended policy late last week. “The surcharge will be $3 for on-board purchases on designated trips.”
With the surcharge, a one-way ticket to Boston would cost $11. Without the surcharge, .
Late last week, just days before the new rates were rolled out, the T began publicizing a change in policy that will exempt riders, such as those boarding at Hamilton-Wenham, that do not buy tickets in advance and instead buy it onboard from a conductor.
In , state Rep. Brad Hill said that rider feedback helped in convincing the T to alter its policy but agreeing to not impose the surcharge of inbound rides that start from a station without a sales location. All outbound trips from Boston will still be subject to the onboard surcharge since there are fare machines and ticket window at North Station in Boston.
The move essentially reverts to what was the existing policy. The T had originally moved to essentially eliminate onboard fare transaction in an effort to “reduce cash handling costs, and reduces fare evasion by allowing conductors more time to verify all tickets and passes,” according to the T.
The amended policy may only be in place for a few months, though, as the T said it will revisit the policy this fall when it rolls out mobile ticketing – where commuter rail tickets can be bought online or on a mobile phone. Already, riders can pay for parking at many T lots online and from a mobile “smartphone.”