FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby NH2060 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:57 pm

octr202 wrote:Keep in mind that the governor and his staff didn't get where they are without an understanding of politics (regardless of what you think of them). The more you read it, the more it looks like projects like the Berkshire service and Inland Route restoration were put in as much to provide fat to cut when (not if) the Legislature balks on the total package.

Hm never thought of that. Touché. Let's hope that is the case here.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby CRail » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:18 am

BandA wrote:2) The MBTA should not be thought of as a welfare benefit. It should be valuable infrastructure that riders will gladly pay mostly for themselves...

The Southeast Expressway isn't a welfare benefit. It's a valuable infrastructure that its users gladly pay... Nothing! I will beat this argument over the head as often as I see it. Transit riders pay for the roads they don't use, so why shouldn't motorists pay for the transit service which alleviates congestion on those roads and helps to cut down on roadway maintenance needs?

Passengers who use highway services pay $4.50-$6.50 per one way trip. Factor in that motorists maintain and fuel their own vehicles, and highway trips should at least cost the local transit fare. Only when motorists gladly cough up the highways' operating and maintenance costs will I entertain the idea of running transit at cost. In other words, ain't gonna happen!
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby BandA » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:04 am

CRail wrote:The Southeast Expressway isn't a welfare benefit. It's a valuable infrastructure that its users gladly pay... Nothing!
Drivers in MA pay about 40 cents/gal in gas tax (about 2cents/mile) + excise tax, sales tax, and registry fees. Gas tax needs to go up; MA gas tax is lower than all adjacent states except NH. A 50 cents to $1 increase by the feds + 10 cents by MA would be plenty I think.
CRail wrote: Transit riders pay for the roads they don't use, so why shouldn't motorists pay for the transit service
Transit costs include expensive labor, equipment costs that are too high, and (for commuter rail) track that has low utilization.
CRail wrote: highway trips should at least cost the local transit fare. Only when motorists gladly cough up the highways' operating and maintenance costs will I entertain the idea of running transit at cost. In other words, ain't gonna happen!
Mass pike extension charges 20cents/mile and makes a substantial profit, even after costs that are triple that of the state highway system.

MBTA fares vary wildly, and unfairly: - 0.227/mi from Worcester, 0.20/mi Fitchburg, 0.60/mi Auburndale (or 0.20/mi Riverside), 0.60/mi Waltham (or ~0.50/mi Express Bus), 0.676/mi Newtonville (or 0.43/mi Express Bus). By comparison, my 10-yo car costs 0.20 gas, ~0.10 oil change + tires + insurance, or about 0.50/mi with depreciation and maintenance. IRS allows 0.565/mi, which is not enough if you have a newer car. The "T"'s costs are MORE than the cost of a single-occupancy automobile, and for some trips the "T"'s fares are already more than driving and paying a toll.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby CRail » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:04 am

Highway departments also employ expensive labor. Taxes pay for the roads, and for transit, that's my point. How are you going to justify gas paying for highways but not sales/income for transit? Just because you buy gas means you're commuting on the interstate? Sure its more likely as the relation is closer but there are still people "paying for things they don't use" like the emergency services I've never used and the gov't assistance programs i've never needed. I help pay for them and I live on to tell about it.

I'm not saying that roads should be paid for solely by their users, or even that I mind that taxes pay for them. The point is that having roads is no less a public service than having a transit system.

Neither can operate at cost, neither should, and neither will. The transit system needs more funding and I certainly don't think it's unfair to say especially when the the state underfunding them is the same that got them into this mess in the first place. People keep targeting operating costs, but they are NOT what is causing the problem!
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby SM89 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:40 am

Before they go crazy again and raise fares and cut service across the board, I think they should at least do the following:
1. $5 to get a CharlieCard
2. Keep CharlieCard fares the same and raise CharlieTicket/Cash prices only
3. Introduce a 3-day pass, and fix the price/value issues with the 1 and 7 day passes.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby octr202 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:41 pm

Some of the first whispered murmurs that a solution will be found (to at least this year's funding crisis):

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/03/21/d ... -increase/

“I suppose you can never guarantee anything, but I think it’s fairly close to a guarantee that we’re going to have a transportation bill in place prior to a need for any further increases in fares,” DeLeo said on Nightside with Dan Rea on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Wednesday night.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby wicked » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:44 pm

SM89 wrote:Before they go crazy again and raise fares and cut service across the board, I think they should at least do the following:
1. $5 to get a CharlieCard
2. Keep CharlieCard fares the same and raise CharlieTicket/Cash prices only
3. Introduce a 3-day pass, and fix the price/value issues with the 1 and 7 day passes.


Does the current fare system allow for distance pricing? It should be considered. I hated it when I lived in D.C., but it really is more equitable.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:28 am

wicked wrote:
SM89 wrote:Before they go crazy again and raise fares and cut service across the board, I think they should at least do the following:
1. $5 to get a CharlieCard
2. Keep CharlieCard fares the same and raise CharlieTicket/Cash prices only
3. Introduce a 3-day pass, and fix the price/value issues with the 1 and 7 day passes.


Does the current fare system allow for distance pricing? It should be considered. I hated it when I lived in D.C., but it really is more equitable.



Are the lines long enough, though? I feel that all of the lines are too short for anywhere to have an increased entry fare except the Red Line in Quincy and Braintree. I don't have a problem with that, and it seems fair, but is it worth the hassle for just that one section of one line? It's also probably not politically palatable, which unfortunately has a lot of influence.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby novitiate » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:47 am

BostonUrbEx wrote:
wicked wrote:
SM89 wrote:Before they go crazy again and raise fares and cut service across the board, I think they should at least do the following:
1. $5 to get a CharlieCard
2. Keep CharlieCard fares the same and raise CharlieTicket/Cash prices only
3. Introduce a 3-day pass, and fix the price/value issues with the 1 and 7 day passes.


Does the current fare system allow for distance pricing? It should be considered. I hated it when I lived in D.C., but it really is more equitable.

Are the lines long enough, though? I feel that all of the lines are too short for anywhere to have an increased entry fare except the Red Line in Quincy and Braintree. I don't have a problem with that, and it seems fair, but is it worth the hassle for just that one section of one line? It's also probably not politically palatable, which unfortunately has a lot of influence.

It wasn't that long ago that there were exit fares and double-fares on the outer end of the Braintree branch- I believe it lasted into the CharlieTicket era, so the equipment likely has the ability to do so.

I suppose if they brought that back it would still be less than a commuter rail fare from those stations, but they'd have to re-add the exit gates (which I would guess have probably been cannibalized) and as you say, would be unpopular. At least the older exit fare system was around since the line was built...
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby wicked » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:57 am

I'd argue Riverside should be considered for a distance fare, too, although that opens another can of worms.

WMATA line lengths, per Wiki. Yes, most T lines are shorter.

Orange 26.4
Blue 30.3
Red 31.9
Green 23.04
Yellow 15.07
Silver 23 (when opened)

MBTA Blue Book on lengths:

Orange 11
Red 21
Blue 6
Green -- confused by the listing, seems like Riverside-Lechmere would be 23
Last edited by wicked on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:25 pm

novitiate wrote:It wasn't that long ago that there were exit fares and double-fares on the outer end of the Braintree branch- I believe it lasted into the CharlieTicket era, so the equipment likely has the ability to do so.

I suppose if they brought that back it would still be less than a commuter rail fare from those stations, but they'd have to re-add the exit gates (which I would guess have probably been cannibalized) and as you say, would be unpopular. At least the older exit fare system was around since the line was built...

The fare variations on the Braintree and Riverside lines were discontinued when the Charlie system was rolled out. The current faregates in Quincy and Braintree never had the ability to take exit fares, and would need to be replaced to reinstate exit fares.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby novitiate » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:23 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:
novitiate wrote:It wasn't that long ago that there were exit fares and double-fares on the outer end of the Braintree branch- I believe it lasted into the CharlieTicket era, so the equipment likely has the ability to do so.

I suppose if they brought that back it would still be less than a commuter rail fare from those stations, but they'd have to re-add the exit gates (which I would guess have probably been cannibalized) and as you say, would be unpopular. At least the older exit fare system was around since the line was built...

The fare variations on the Braintree and Riverside lines were discontinued when the Charlie system was rolled out. The current faregates in Quincy and Braintree never had the ability to take exit fares, and would need to be replaced to reinstate exit fares.

I rode the Braintree branch occasionally in those days and definitely remember the current style of gates with exit fares. However, the exit fares used a separate set of gates from the current ones (which have been gone); the only difference for the regular fare gates would be the higher fares and not allowing people to exit through them.

The exit fares were only removed when the fares were raised after the Charlie roll-out was complete.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:09 pm

I was told by someone of some knowledge that the commuter rail, buses and subway pay for themselves to operate, employees, labor, maintenance and the boats and The Ride is where all the MBTA's money troubles come from resulting in the mess for everyone. How much does it cost to operate the boats? I know The Ride is very cheap and no where near covers the costs, especially when diesel fuel is $4~/gallon, that is the biggest loss right there. axe the boats and the ride
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby wicked » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:11 pm

The Ride is a valuable service that serves some people who, otherwise, would not be able to participate in society.

If you want it separated from the T and run by an entirely separate agency, fine. But the audience which it serves should not be left with essentially no service.
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Re: FY 2014 Transportation Plan and Fare Hikes Discussion

Postby novitiate » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:14 pm

MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:I was told by someone of some knowledge that the commuter rail, buses and subway pay for themselves to operate, employees, labor, maintenance and the boats and The Ride is where all the MBTA's money troubles come from resulting in the mess for everyone. How much does it cost to operate the boats? I know The Ride is very cheap and no where near covers the costs, especially when diesel fuel is $4~/gallon, that is the biggest loss right there. axe the boats and the ride

Here's the farebox recovery numbers I've seen: http://www.universalhub.com/2012/mbtas-fare-recovery-rate-vs-other-cities, which makes the boats look pretty good.

You can't get rid of the Ride because it's a legal mandate.
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