Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

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

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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:04 pm

saulblum wrote:At BOS and BON you may have 500 people flooding onto a train in a span of five minutes, passing through, what, four gates per platform?
There's the rub. The whole platform area would have to be behind the "fare control" gates. You might have to put part of the waiting area behind the fare gates. Increasing congestion problems at BOS/BON. I assume BBY could handle it since the platforms are already on a different level.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:24 pm

BandA wrote:
saulblum wrote:At BOS and BON you may have 500 people flooding onto a train in a span of five minutes, passing through, what, four gates per platform?
There's the rub. The whole platform area would have to be behind the "fare control" gates. You might have to put part of the waiting area behind the fare gates. Increasing congestion problems at BOS/BON. I assume BBY could handle it since the platforms are already on a different level.

Where I've seen this implemented, the faregates are always some distance from the actual platforms, and there's a long line of them to avoid the issue of chokepoints.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby saulblum » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:21 am

MBTA3247 wrote:Where I've seen this implemented, the faregates are always some distance from the actual platforms, and there's a long line of them to avoid the issue of chokepoints.

And at North Station, that space is where, exactly? Perhaps the T should undo the waiting room expansion of a decade ago to make room for fare gates.

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=24480

As long as conductors will still be selling tickets on-board, the commuter rail will never have electronic fare collection, and attempting to graft fare gates into the scheme is nonsensical.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:54 am

Another angle, taken from the news article referred to by the OP:
... Riders have complained for years about commuters who get free rides because conductors fail to check tickets ...

Perhaps these complaining riders could kibitz the nearest conductor about specific commuters who are otherwise about to get free rides. Where and when this fails, then we uncover additional problems in the fare collection process.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:10 am

saulblum wrote:In three years of riding I have never been asked twice for my ticket/pass.


I have, multiple times. Happens more often on off-peak rather than peak trains. When I don't have any receipt (e.g. I paid with a ticket printed from a machine and they collected it rather than punching it - which seems to be 50/50), I've just told the second conductor "the other guy already took it" and he says oh okay and moves on.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby The EGE » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:14 am

This should all be made irrelevant by the AFC 2.0 system that is coming in 2019. That will expand tapable fare media - farecard, phone, and credit card - to all modes including the commuter rail. If they do it right, that will mean tap pillars (no physical gates) to access/leave the platforms at BBY, BON, and BOS (perhaps others like Yawkey, Porter, and the Fairmount Line stops); at all other stops, you tap either at readers on the side of the platform or at targets on the door of the coach. Conductors would no longer need to collect fares whatsoever on a train, although they could be given a portable reader to challenge riders who they believe did not tap on.

That gives you barrier-free access for Amtrak passengers, easy random-check fare inspection (on a train and can't produce what you tapped on with? Here's a $100 ticket), and full origin-destination data for planning purposes. The new fare system is to be account-based and therefore can be read/modified with easily available hardware; that means, for example, that it would be very cheap for retailers near stations to sell CR tickets.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:47 pm

There is no reason this cant be done with Charlie.
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby The EGE » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:24 pm

Yes, there is. Charlie hardware is single-purpose, difficult to modify, and stores value entirely on the card. That means there is no feasible way to modify the hardware to accept phones or credit/debit cards for payment, nor is the backend designed to handle tap-outs. The fare system vendor has a very poor relationship with the T and fights any requested changes tooth and nail - it's why they backed out of extending Charlie to the commuter rail in the first place.

AFC 2.0 is planned to use open hardware that can be sourced from multiple vendors - hardware essentially identical to tap-to-pay systems already at retail establishments. Cost per unit is an order of magnitude less than the current system, so readers at every door on CR, bus, and Green Line are possible (they would be prohibitively expensive right now.)
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Re: Ring of Steel at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Disney Guy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:09 am

Now, if fare gates are installed and, two years from now, AFC 2.0 is installed, would the fare gates go to waste?

I think it was well enough that Charlie was not extended to commuter rail. So long as paid and unpaid passengers are commingled and personnel are capable of collecting fares within the mix, there should be read-only media issuable to riders as a receipt upon paying and to be shown to personnel upon request.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Rbts Stn » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:32 am

Back in the Globe today:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/07/21/mbta-readies-new-system-for-verifying-passengers-payment/5Ic9pBMl3vOAQp2SmT6ytO/story.html

$30 million shortage (ESTIMATE) annually in fare collection on the Commuter rail, much of which is because:

Commuter rail fares are currently collected by conductors during the trip. The MBTA estimates it loses as much as $30 million a year when collectors run out of time — or give up trying — to check tickets


So let me ask, if they hired 60 more conductors (assume $100K/year salary + benefits?) at $6,000,000/year, that should be enough to collect a good chunk of that money, PLUS give folks good jobs PLUS improve safety on the trains PLUS improve customer service on the train with more doors getting opened?

I had to take the CR to Boston this week and must say I was pleased not to have to pay one morning as the conductor walked by me with my cash in my hand. Made up partially for the $2.25 I spent for my Green Line trip 2 weeks ago that ended up with a walk thru the tunnels, a $15 dry cleaning bill, and a $20 cab ride! 4 more "free rides" will make me whole!
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby chrisf » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:13 pm

Rbts Stn wrote:So let me ask, if they hired 60 more conductors (assume $100K/year salary + benefits?) at $6,000,000/year, that should be enough to collect a good chunk of that money, PLUS give folks good jobs PLUS improve safety on the trains PLUS improve customer service on the train with more doors getting opened?

While I have little confidence that this gate system will work as proposed by Keolis, squeezing more conductors into cars that are so overcrowded that nobody can move through the aisle will not improve ticket collection rates.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby leviramsey » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:16 pm

I'd be interested to know how the MBTA arrives at the $30 million in fare leakage figure. Do the conductors say how much fares they didn't collect?

If it's done by counting the number of passengers who get on/off at BBY/BOS/BON, subtracting the number of tickets collected and passes checked and multiplying by the average ticket price, well there's a bit of a methodological flaw there that substantially (as in more than 100%) overstates the leakage.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:07 am

chrisf wrote:
Rbts Stn wrote:So let me ask, if they hired 60 more conductors (assume $100K/year salary + benefits?) at $6,000,000/year, that should be enough to collect a good chunk of that money, PLUS give folks good jobs PLUS improve safety on the trains PLUS improve customer service on the train with more doors getting opened?

While I have little confidence that this gate system will work as proposed by Keolis, squeezing more conductors into cars that are so overcrowded that nobody can move through the aisle will not improve ticket collection rates.
What he said; And they need to buy more coaches so the conductors can walk down the aisles, implement electric doors (which presumably requires high-level boarding).

Fare collectors should be less expensive than conductors since they aren't "operating employees". Ultimately you will need fewer conductors if they are no longer needed for fare collection, but I assume they will need more conductors to handle more coaches.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:14 am

So, if I buy a single ticket at BOS, when I walk up to the gate agent (or the fare gate), does (s)he collect the ticket and hand me a dated & timed seat check? Or do they look at the ticket and wave me through?
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby CRail » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:43 pm

BandA wrote:Fare collectors should be less expensive than conductors since they aren't "operating employees". Ultimately you will need fewer conductors if they are no longer needed for fare collection, but I assume they will need more conductors to handle more coaches.


So there isn't enough room to staff the trains with more assistant conductors, but we can pile on lesser trained and lesser paid employees who lack the safety and operational advantages of a larger train crew? More cars are needed to handle the ever increasing ridership, therefore larger crews are needed.
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