"Operation Fare is Fair"

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"Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:37 pm

Saw a T-Alert this morning for the Rockburyport line saying operation fare is fair is ongoing at Salem Depot, please have tickets ready prior to boarding.

What is this? Are they collecting fares prior to boarding? Googling didn't turn up anything.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby octr202 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:51 pm

Sounds like it's a version of what they periodically do at North & South Stations (and presumably BBY, too?) where they make you show a pass or ticket to access the platform. They don't actually collect/punch your ticket on the platform - just have to show you have it. In the past (I missed this recent round at NS) the train crew still did their normal fare collection (minus selling the $3.00 surcharged on board tickets).

Interesting applying it out in the suburbs, where usually there's no way to buy a ticket at the station. The T's website says the only ticket vendor in Salem is a couple blocks away from the station - I'm hoping there are ticket vending machines at the new station?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:55 pm

But even at North and South Stations and at Back Bay, you can board without a ticket or pass and buy on-board, subject to a surcharge. If a passenger without a pass or ticket were (literally) running late and planning to buy on-board, would they be denied boarding by these checks? If not, then what is the point? And if so, then the T had better update its buy-on-board policies.

Besides, just how rampant is rush hour fare evasion on the commuter rail? Are there really that many passengers who board without a ticket or pass and hope the conductor doesn't get to them while on-board?

These checks seem about as pointless as the occasional bag swabbing checkpoints.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby dbperry » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:42 pm

see my rant about this on my blog:

http://dbperry.weebly.com/blog/fare-val ... th-station

Earlier today, the @MBTA_CR twitter feed confirmed it is an anti- fare evasion effort:

https://twitter.com/malmal113/status/661590656104689664

"We do random pre-boarding ticket/pass checks several times a year to combat fare evasion."

There was a case where a conductor blew open a huge counterfeit operation.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... cials_say/

But that was completely different than the method they are using now. I'm all in favor of combating fare evasion, but do it smart. As I suggest in my blog, "Give some conductors or customer service agents the 'purple flashlights' and have them ride a few trains. Send a Transit Police Officer along with them to deal with any issues."

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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby octr202 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:43 pm

saulblum wrote:But even at North and South Stations and at Back Bay, you can board without a ticket or pass and buy on-board, subject to a surcharge. If a passenger without a pass or ticket were (literally) running late and planning to buy on-board, would they be denied boarding by these checks? If not, then what is the point? And if so, then the T had better update its buy-on-board policies.

Besides, just how rampant is rush hour fare evasion on the commuter rail? Are there really that many passengers who board without a ticket or pass and hope the conductor doesn't get to them while on-board?

These checks seem about as pointless as the occasional bag swabbing checkpoints.


In the past, yes it seemed like they would deny you access unless you had a ticket in hand (or presumably had one activated on your phone).
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:05 pm

octr202 wrote:In the past, yes it seemed like they would deny you access unless you had a ticket in hand (or presumably had one activated on your phone).


https://twitter.com/MBTA_CR/status/661625514709258240

"No, conductors are available to sell cash tickets on the platform to those who planned to purchase on board."

I still fail to see the point of this exercise. And is Keolis so over-staffed that there are conductors who can stand on the platform and check passes and not be needed on trains? Or is the train's conductors who are checking on the platforms as passengers board?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:08 pm

It seems to me that the present system, rather than catching fare evaders, simply warns them off to try another day. If they put the same Keolis people, in civilian clothes, aboard the train, with enough of them to check all passengers before arrival at the first stop, and have transit police in readiness at the first stop, they might actually catch fare evaders in the act. (Even better if they could be booked and held overnight, to see a judge in the morning, but I don't know whether that's possible. Even the delay involved in being taken off the train to be interviewed--on the platform, as their train is leaving--might be enough to deter future evasion.) Something else that might catch a few would be to have inspectors and transit police board the train at a stop beyond the first fare zone to see who's riding to Rockport on a Lynn ticket.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:35 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Something else that might catch a few would be to have inspectors and transit police board the train at a stop beyond the first fare zone to see who's riding to Rockport on a Lynn ticket.


But how many riders, at rush hour no less, are doing that? A rider with a zone 2 pass could definitely make his way outbound to Rockport on that pass, but if he's an everyday rider, presumably he also takes the train inbound, and would not be able to use that pass, boarding at Rockport. So again, is there really a problem of rampant fare evasion, of riders hoping the conductor never reaches them or buying tickets or passes insufficient for their travel distance, to warrant this operation?

Or is it just for show. "See, we care about fare evasion [even though it's not really a problem and this operation isn't stopping it anyway]."
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:45 pm

The problem is that you can't tell how much fare evasion there is without doing some kind of check at intervals, and as others have pointed out above, you won't find the offenders by warning them off at the gate; the cop has to wait behind the billboard, not in front of it. In any case, I'd think it's a pretty sound assumption that if fare evasion is possible it will happen, and if it's consistently undetected it will grow.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:51 pm

ExCon90 wrote:The problem is that you can't tell how much fare evasion there is without doing some kind of check at intervals …


You can certainly estimate it. As already explained, it's unlikely a monthly pass holder is going beyond their pass's zone. And it's not an issue for inbound trains. So if you know that 1% of riders on an outbound train have paid with cash on board, you have a rough cap on what percentage might be underpaying.

Are you really advocating for conductors and T police to rouse passengers in the evening after they've been on the train for an hour to check their fare media?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:14 pm

I'm only talking about spot checks from time to time. Also, I wasn't sure how diligent all crews are in patrolling inbound trains after intermediate stops to see who got on. A lot easier to wait until closer to the terminal and then check all of them.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:23 pm

My perception as a once a month or so off-peak North Side rider is that the revenue shortfall comes more from lack of on-board fare collection rather than outright fare evasion. I've been on a number of trains where outbound passengers who boarded after the first couple stops, or inbound passengers who board at the last stop or two before North Station, were never approached for a ticket. But in fairness to Keolis I haven't noticed this sort of non-collection on my last few trips, so they may have tightened up.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby nomis » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:51 pm

This happens since the T has it written into the Keolis contract for the 'operation' to happen. Fraudulent fare instruments are normally found, nothing as juicy as that counterfeit ring. Station crowding, especially at South Station is more of a function of people wanting to be the first on the train to get their regular seat and crowding the area outside the station doors.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby Diverging Route » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:05 pm

saulblum wrote:
octr202 wrote:In the past, yes it seemed like they would deny you access unless you had a ticket in hand (or presumably had one activated on your phone).


I still fail to see the point of this exercise. And is Keolis so over-staffed that there are conductors who can stand on the platform and check passes and not be needed on trains? Or is the train's conductors who are checking on the platforms as passengers board?


In past rounds (unsure this time as I'm out-of-town), I believe they were using Assistant Conductors in training, or were as yet not qualified to be on-board.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby typesix » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:44 pm

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