AFC Name?

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

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Postby caduceus » Sun Sep 05, 2004 3:15 pm

efin98 wrote:Where would anyone get the idea that the T would be doing that? There has been no evidence to that the MBTA would do that, and if it was it would have been done already with the current technology. All it would require would be raising the price of a token from the booth, and that only requires signs plastered all over the place. If it hasn't been done already it isn't going to happen after the turnover to the new technology.


Quote, from the article cited at the beginning of the thread: "If it works well, the MBTA plans to eventually usher in peak-period pricing, under which commuters would pay more for a rush-hour ride."

So that's where anyone would get the idea... :-)
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Postby efin98 » Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:29 am

caduceus wrote:Quote, from the article cited at the beginning of the thread: "If it works well, the MBTA plans to eventually usher in peak-period pricing, under which commuters would pay more for a rush-hour ride."

So that's where anyone would get the idea... :-)


I stand by what I said. I see it as a case of the reporter looking at something that isn't there or trying to start something on little or no information. Has the T stated that they are looking at peak/off-peak fares? If not then the reporter is reporting nothing more than hearsay.
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Postby apodino » Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:58 pm

efin98 wrote:
BC Eagle wrote:
If it works well, the MBTA plans to eventually usher in peak-period pricing, under which commuters would pay more for a rush-hour ride.


I'm surprised this hasn't caused more of a stir. Are there transit systems that actually engage in this practice. It just seems wrong to me. Also, are they planning on getting rid of T passes as well?


Where would anyone get the idea that the T would be doing that? There has been no evidence to that the MBTA would do that, and if it was it would have been done already with the current technology. All it would require would be raising the price of a token from the booth, and that only requires signs plastered all over the place. If it hasn't been done already it isn't going to happen after the turnover to the new technology.


Ed, think about what you are saying for a second. Its not a simple as raising the price of a token every peak pricing period. You can't do that plain and simple. The reason being is that tokens can be purchased at any time. If tokens are more expensive during peak periods, then you can easily get around that by loading up on tokens during off peak periods. The turnstyles as construted now don't know how much you paid for a token. Look at what happens when the T increases fares. You can beat the increase for a while by loading up on tokens before the increase goes into effect. The bottom line is that with current technology its just more of a hassle than it needs to be.

Now introduce automatic fare collection into the equation, similar to New York, Chicago, and Washington. As you probably know, a typical AFC gives you a card, which you deposit money onto. The system knows how much money you have left on a certain card, and deducts that amount from your card. Now if you are going to peak pricing, all the system has to do is check the time, and deduct the proper amount accordingly. For you computer programmers out there, this is accomplished by a simple if statement in the software. Basically, if the time indicates a peak hour, it will be deducted peak price, where as if its not peak, it will deduct the lower off peak fare.

As far as the article goes, I don't know the credibility of the article, but news people usually have several anonymous sources where they get the information from. Just because the T hasn't said anything publicly about it doesn't mean they don't plan on doing it in the future. And the T hasn't denyed this report to my knowledge. It may not be accurate, but still, its something that shouldn't surprise anyone if it happens.

Personally however, I feel Commuter Rail is the service that should be peak priced, not the Subway. With the trains has filled to capacity as they are, the T could make a few extra bucks on this, not a lot more with all the pass holders and twelve ride tickets, but still quite a bit. And with lower off peak and weekend fares, it would encourage more people to ride the commuter rail. Boston is the third largest city for commuter rail useage, behind only New York and Chicago, but that doesn't mean we can't get more people to take the trains. I also feel that a computer ticket system would help, it would reduce printing costs per year for tickets, and it would allow automatic ticket machines to be installed at most stations, which would put less burden on conductors. Systems that have such machines include NJ Transit, Metro-North, LIRR, Tri-Rail, and MetroLink. I know the T says they have no plans for the system, but hey, why not make it part of the AFC contract?
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Postby efin98 » Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:32 pm

apodino wrote:Ed, think about what you are saying for a second. Its not a simple as raising the price of a token every peak pricing period. You can't do that plain and simple. The reason being is that tokens can be purchased at any time. If tokens are more expensive during peak periods, then you can easily get around that by loading up on tokens during off peak periods. The turnstyles as construted now don't know how much you paid for a token. Look at what happens when the T increases fares. You can beat the increase for a while by loading up on tokens before the increase goes into effect. The bottom line is that with current technology its just more of a hassle than it needs to be.


The obvious hoarding aside it can be done easily with the dumb turnstyles that the T has now. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you are saying but my main point was that with the way the system is set now it can easily be done. Not worthwhile to the T and probably downright moronic with token hoarding, but can be done.

As far as the article goes, I don't know the credibility of the article, but news people usually have several anonymous sources where they get the information from. Just because the T hasn't said anything publicly about it doesn't mean they don't plan on doing it in the future. And the T hasn't denyed this report to my knowledge. It may not be accurate, but still, its something that shouldn't surprise anyone if it happens.


I take the article to be overshooting itself based on the T's lack of response and the overall vagueness of supporting evidence. As to a surprise, it's not really a surprise since an AFC system was talked about over two years ago and IIRC was in the works until something threw a wrench into the plans. Boston is the last major system not to have AFC so it's no shock that it would come at some point.

Personally however, I feel Commuter Rail is the service that should be peak priced, not the Subway. With the trains has filled to capacity as they are, the T could make a few extra bucks on this, not a lot more with all the pass holders and twelve ride tickets, but still quite a bit. And with lower off peak and weekend fares, it would encourage more people to ride the commuter rail. Boston is the third largest city for commuter rail useage, behind only New York and Chicago, but that doesn't mean we can't get more people to take the trains. I also feel that a computer ticket system would help, it would reduce printing costs per year for tickets, and it would allow automatic ticket machines to be installed at most stations, which would put less burden on conductors. Systems that have such machines include NJ Transit, Metro-North, LIRR, Tri-Rail, and MetroLink. I know the T says they have no plans for the system, but hey, why not make it part of the AFC contract?


Agreed, that is the place that needs it more than any other part of the system. [/quote]
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Postby FatNoah » Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:01 pm

[sarcasom]Personally, I like the idea of peak pricing. It'll help get rid of all those damn poor people I see when I commute to my 9 to 5 job.[/sarcasm]

Personally, I think congestion pricing makes sense for roads, but not for mass transit. All this would do is keep people in their cars and off the T.

I also found it interesting that the cards would not apply to commuter rail. Will commuter rail passes still be valid for bus/subway/boat trips? How would that work out?
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Postby efin98 » Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:29 pm

FatNoah wrote:Personally, I think congestion pricing makes sense for roads, but not for mass transit. All this would do is keep people in their cars and off the T.


That's another valid reason against the peak/off-peak fare structure. However I doubt the numbers lost would be much of an impact on the overall ridership since those who would take their cars in would probably not use the T overall anyway.

I also found it interesting that the cards would not apply to commuter rail. Will commuter rail passes still be valid for bus/subway/boat trips? How would that work out?


Why would the T affect what is already in place and works well side by side with the new system? The commuter rail passes are already good in the entire bus system(Zone three for higher) and are good on all rapid transit and light rail routes so they should be no trouble converting over to the new system- really only a change in the information input in the new turnstyles and bus fare boxes.
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Postby fm535 » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:27 pm

:-D - Well I sent in my "T" Leaf idea nonetheless right after I posted it on here to the T. Here is the email I got back this afternoon:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write me. You were among hundreds of people who offered suggestions on what to name our new system for fare collection. The tremendous response to this marketing effort reaffirms what I have long believed – MBTA customers and the public at large feel a very strong connection with the region’s transit system.
We received a great number of thoughtful and creative ideas that will give my staff and the MBTA Board of Directors a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this critical project, and for wanting to play a role in a new era at the MBTA.

Sincerely,
Michael H. Mulhern
General Manager


I guess he took two paragraphs to say very little! :wink:
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Postby efin98 » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:42 pm

I noticed this little tidbit on the right side of the article

Spring 2005: AFC is deployed on the Blue Line over a three month period.


Something tells me that the Blue Line can expect the four unrefurbished stations to start getting their last looks at the old stations because they are not going to look run down much longer! It looks like the AFC is going to force the T to renovate alongside the testing program. Whatever bugs that appear on the Blue Line will be ironed out before installation on the Orange, Red, and Green Line.

I wonder, will Lechmere also get the AFC machines from the start of service at the station or does it have to wait until the other lines are converted en masse? Would be perfect for the T to add in the AFC while the station is closed and use it as the model for some of the other major above ground Green Line stations.
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Postby octr202 » Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:30 am

I'm surprised no one noticed the little gem in Sunday's Starts & Stops regarding the lack of a "remaining balance" readout of any kind on the T's new system:

In Washington, D.C.'s, Metro, the paper tickets you fill with cash are stamped with the ticket's current value every time you go through a turnstile. In New York City, your MetroCard turnstile gives you a digital readout on the value of your card.

In the MBTA's new system, which begins testing on the Silver Line in December or January, there will be no such readout or stamp. The only way you'll know the value of your card is to go up to one of the fare vending machines in the station, a cumbersome ritual if you're running late or don't have a photographic memory.

The cost of stamping the cards, or of giving a digital readout, was prohibitive, said T officials.

"We felt the capital and maintenance cost outweighed the limited benefits," said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.


http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/09/05/slow_progress_on_route_3_project_irks_drivers?pg=3

THAT sounds like a nightmare from a passenger's standpoint. How many (at least males) are going to suffer "sudden turnstile-induced groin discomfort" by running through while swiping a pass that you thought had money on it (not to mention how often are pepople going to clog the lines by having to swipe their card, find out it doesn't work, and fight the traffic to go back to the fare machine? Or, how many people will clog bus and trolley doors, by trying to pay with a card without enough money, and then have to either fumble for change, or argue with the driver over their inability to pay. At least, they better have plenty of machines available, since a lot of people will be needlessly swiping their cards just to check their balance.

I like the line about it being too expensive to be worth the money. Wasn't that how we got fareboxes that don't accept dollar bills -- I bet that has cost the T more in the long run in lost fares than the price of the fareboxes was originally.
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