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: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby sonicdoommario » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:45 pm

So how would this work for Providence rush hour trains? I mean, you're talking about roughly 1500 people on many rush hour trains (808, 825, probably 842, 821, 823). When the bulk of 808 gets off at Back Bay, the lines are already super tight. Now you're going to stall the lines even more, since they'll have to "check out" through gates when getting off the trains?

Supposedly this will be done for outlying stations in the future for inbound trains. So will every station outside of Boston be gated off too? Attleboro for example has several entrances to the platform, will they all be blocked off? Would this effectively mean the end of railfanning too?

Also, you'd have the possibility of malfunctions with these, can't imagine someone being on-site for train stations 50 miles away from Boston.

Don't see how this will end up playing well.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby The EGE » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:32 pm

The likely long-term solution with AFC 2.0 is - at least for non-downtown stations - to have tap readers either on the station platforms or at the doors to the train. There's no way they could attempt to control access to 130+ suburban stations; that's simply not practical. The practical way is proof of payment: if you are on a train, you have to have tapped on when/before you boarded. If your train gets a fare inspection and you can't provide proof that you tapped in, you get a fine.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Diverging Route » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:21 pm

That's how Caltrain works.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Disney Guy » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:56 pm

What would it take for the T and Boston's commuter rail to get a proof of payment system? An act of Congress, er, the Mass. legislature?

The real test of success -- no chokepoints for persons rushing to catch a train. This would mean having lots of fare checkers or fare gates.

Now who was commenting on being asked more than once or not being asked more than once about his fare? In order to verify that everyone paid the proper zone fare it is necessary to do fare checks when the train is near the outer end of the line.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:57 am

The EGE wrote:The likely long-term solution with AFC 2.0 is - at least for non-downtown stations - to have tap readers either on the station platforms or at the doors to the train. There's no way they could attempt to control access to 130+ suburban stations; that's simply not practical. The practical way is proof of payment: if you are on a train, you have to have tapped on when/before you boarded. If your train gets a fare inspection and you can't provide proof that you tapped in, you get a fine.


Based on discussion with the T's CTO, this is exactly what they plan. The CR will move toward POP, with readers on the platforms at outlying stations so you tap your card before boarding.

I still think gates at North, South, and Back Bay stations are a terrible idea. Imagine two rush hour trains arrive on the same platform. It'd take 20 minutes at least for everyone to squeeze through gates, because inevitably they will malfunction, or someone won't know how to use them, etc., and you can only fit a couple of gates on each platform. This is guaranteed to lead to extreme crowding, and I would not be at all surprised if very quickly after they start this someone falls off a platform due to crowding.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Rbts Stn » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:27 pm

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.


Ummm, we're talking 1 or 2 more conductors/fare collectors per train. It's not going to affect the overcrowded conditions.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby chrisf » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:05 pm

Exactly. The conductors already on the train can't move through a car to check tickets. How does paying more employees to stand in one place improve revenue?
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:18 pm

CRail wrote:
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.
The lesser trained & paid employees never board the train, so aren't part of the crew & don't need to know how signals or brakes work. And it doesn't matter how overcrowded the train is because they don't have to walk through the coach.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby CRail » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:06 am

Then where are fares collected? At every platform from Rockport to Worcester before each train comes? That's going to be cheaper? Let's stop trying to reinvent the wheel here. Fares are collected/validated on board, except in this proposed case at terminal stations for outbound trains.

We aren't talking about Red Line crush loads wherein "no one can move" in most cases, and certainly not on the North Side. Conductors don't have the time to collect every fare between stops; That doesn't mean they can't move through the train, that means they need more conductors. If it were a norm that most rushhour trains are so jam packed that no one could move, we'd have a serious public safety issue.

There are some cases such as the Worcester super set and the train to Lowell that regularly ran with 8 cars that I can see overloading especially when that train is operated with a set half the size, but these cases are the exception, not the rule. And, the obvious and only solution to that problem is more cars or more service, and therefore more crew. Not the elimination or replacement of crew with partially trained employees.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Rbts Stn » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:35 am

chrisf wrote:Exactly. The conductors already on the train can't move through a car to check tickets. How does paying more employees to stand in one place improve revenue?


If one more employee can get through one more car (and they can -- it's not easy, but folks push thru all the time) it will pay for itself.

Meanwhile, I've been taking the train into Boston from the south side the past week and a half and I've had 3 free rides so far.



All inbound.

Outbound, when the train is packed from South Station and Back Bay, they've had no problem walking the trains and collecting fares. It's inbound where they don't have time (or manpower?) to get up and down each aisle to collect tickets.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:08 am

I'm not a regular commuter rail rider but on a few occasions in the past couple of years when I've ridden off-peak trains to/from South Station where the crew can keep all passengers in one car, I have observed that a single crew man was collecting fares (Unscientifically, seems like many off-peakers purchase tickets on board rather than using a multi-ride pass or iPhone app) and handling the doors and traps at each station. The one busy crew man worked his hardest to collect fares from most if not all of the riders.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:09 pm

What's the latest on this? Is it actually happening and I mean soon?

Tonight the conductor on my train was giving a guy a hard time who hadn't activated his mticket yet. He repeated several times that in two weeks there install gates to a enter the platform at north station. And that his ticket would have to be activated / checked before getting access to the platform?

Looks like they are getting ready for some kind of work at north station. Who knows if it's related.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:35 pm

"From North Station to Back Bay, an iron curtain is descending across the city." (Apologies to Churchill)
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby bierhere » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:50 am

If they attempt this, I'm curious to see what happens on track 1 since that is the pathway to the bus terminal. Are they going to close off access/exit to street or just add a turnstile?
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:51 pm

I think proof of payment is the best way for the MBTA to go on their commuter trains. Sure a few will get away without paying but the penalty can be quite stiff and a good stiff penalty would be very effective to combat those who would try to take advantage of the system. Here in South Florida Tri-Rail runs 25 trains each way Monday through Friday and sure sometimes I don't get checked but more than half of the time I get checked both ways. Those without valid transportation get wacked with a summons and have to appear in court. I think the penalties range upwards of $50.00, maybe much more. They often remove them from the train as well and that can be nasty in this case. The officers on the trains have arrest powers and are armed so the ones who get nailed generally don't give them too much guff. In the case of Boston you would probably need a higher number of officers because they carry a lot more folks on longer trains but the system works and works quite well. We have both passes which you tap on or tap off and they also work on Miami Dade Transit trains and you get a transfer discound and a senior discount as well if you are 65 or over. Another plus when somebody starts causing trouble on the train the conductor does not have to call for a cop, there is already one on each and every train. I think it is a good system.
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