CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby The EGE » Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:27 pm

MBTA is about ready to put out an RFP for a Charliecard replacement. Completely open-payment system like TFL, based on experiences they and others have had.

Cheap commodity hardware, and they won't be locked to one vendor. POP with all-door boarding (everyone taps regardless of monthly vs pay-for-trip) on Green Line and buses. Platform validators on the commuter rail, with gates at the downtown stations to prevent fare evasion. Full integration of mobile ticketing at all levels - you'll be bale to use Bluetooth or whatnot on your phone to pay anywhere.

Instead of just having money on your card, you'll have an actual account. That means it's easily and cheaply extensible to other modes. RTA buses. Private carrier buses, MBTA parking, Hubway, EZPass, RIPTA, Logan Express, MASCO, EZRide, etc. Makes corporate pass programs, student passes, etc way easier to implement.

Presentation here.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:46 pm

Per a conversation I had with the MBTA's Chief Technology Officer last week about this very subject, they do not have any plans to shift to POP anytime soon.

However, the new fare system will require tap-in, tap-out (though still flat rate fares), and will accept phones, credit cards, etc. - though only one device per pass (i.e. you cannot link your credit card and phone to an account and use both).
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:36 pm

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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby ohalloranchris » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:35 am

The EGE wrote:MBTA is about ready to put out an RFP for a Charliecard replacement. Completely open-payment system like TFL, based on experiences they and others have had.

Cheap commodity hardware, and they won't be locked to one vendor. POP with all-door boarding (everyone taps regardless of monthly vs pay-for-trip) on Green Line and buses. Platform validators on the commuter rail, with gates at the downtown stations to prevent fare evasion. Full integration of mobile ticketing at all levels - you'll be bale to use Bluetooth or whatnot on your phone to pay anywhere.

Instead of just having money on your card, you'll have an actual account. That means it's easily and cheaply extensible to other modes. RTA buses. Private carrier buses, MBTA parking, Hubway, EZPass, RIPTA, Logan Express, MASCO, EZRide, etc. Makes corporate pass programs, student passes, etc way easier to implement.

Presentation here.


Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Two quick questions:
1. I assume this includes commuter rail? Would Conductors carry a hand held scanner and the cumbersome wad of cash goes away?
2. The presentation mentions readers at Commuter Rail stations. I assume this is so one could check their balance? But we would still "pay" on board? In other words, are they planning to "gate" all Commuter Rail platforms? I assume the answer is no, that would be very expensive and difficult to enforce.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby jamesinclair » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:51 am

ohalloranchris wrote:Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Two quick questions:
1. I assume this includes commuter rail? Would Conductors carry a hand held scanner and the cumbersome wad of cash goes away?
2. The presentation mentions readers at Commuter Rail stations. I assume this is so one could check their balance? But we would still "pay" on board? In other words, are they planning to "gate" all Commuter Rail platforms? I assume the answer is no, that would be very expensive and difficult to enforce.
Thanks.


Tap in tap out means conductors are not needed (for fare collection). All that is needed is occasional checks to confirm people tapped in AND/OR gates at the terminals to force people to tap out (if they didnt tap in, max fare)

So you tap in at your suburban station (no gates) and you tap out at your destination. Gates at the destination depends on space availability and/or desire to do random checks.

This is the global standard.

As for the globe article. Entirely phasing out cash is a very bad idea. Boston is a huge tourist destination. Not everyone can be expected to have the "right" technology.

“We have to be able to make sure that people are going to be able to fill [cards] with cash, we just don’t want them to do it on the bus,” Tibbits-Nutt said while speaking with reporters after the meeting.


Spoken as someone who has never ridden the bus. There are thousands of bus stops. You cant tell customers theyre out of luck because you dont want to accept dollar bills on board
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby leviramsey » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:01 am

jamesinclair wrote:As for the globe article. Entirely phasing out cash is a very bad idea. Boston is a huge tourist destination. Not everyone can be expected to have the "right" technology.

“We have to be able to make sure that people are going to be able to fill [cards] with cash, we just don’t want them to do it on the bus,” Tibbits-Nutt said while speaking with reporters after the meeting.


Spoken as someone who has never ridden the bus. There are thousands of bus stops. You cant tell customers theyre out of luck because you dont want to accept dollar bills on board


Set a minimum (say $10) to load cash on a charliecard/ticket on board (with no minimum for loading cash off board, e.g. at convenience stores or kiosks), with no change given and treat cash on board for fares as a single-use (possibly across multiple people: 3 or 4 could board with a single $10 bill). There are no substantial equity issues involved (this potentially dramatically raises fares for the tourists, who are whiter and richer than the typical T rider).
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby ohalloranchris » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:26 am

jamesinclair wrote:
ohalloranchris wrote:Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Two quick questions:
1. I assume this includes commuter rail? Would Conductors carry a hand held scanner and the cumbersome wad of cash goes away?
2. The presentation mentions readers at Commuter Rail stations. I assume this is so one could check their balance? But we would still "pay" on board? In other words, are they planning to "gate" all Commuter Rail platforms? I assume the answer is no, that would be very expensive and difficult to enforce.
Thanks.


Tap in tap out means conductors are not needed (for fare collection). All that is needed is occasional checks to confirm people tapped in AND/OR gates at the terminals to force people to tap out (if they didnt tap in, max fare)

So you tap in at your suburban station (no gates) and you tap out at your destination. Gates at the destination depends on space availability and/or desire to do random checks.

This is the global standard.

Interesting, thank you for the info. It will certainly be a mindset change for Commuter Rail riders. And I can envision all those last minute "runners" hopping on the train without bothering to "tap" on at the platform reader.

“We have to be able to make sure that people are going to be able to fill [cards] with cash, we just don’t want them to do it on the bus,” Tibbits-Nutt said while speaking with reporters after the meeting.


Spoken as someone who has never ridden the bus. There are thousands of bus stops. You cant tell customers theyre out of luck because you dont want to accept dollar bills on board
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby The EGE » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:04 am

Being able to take cash is what makes on-board fareboxes so expensive. The tap hardware can be made cheaply and with a smaller profile - hence being able to have back-door targets - by not having the expensive mechanisms to deal with cash.

By using an open payment system, it will be easier for retailers to accept NewCharlieCards. Hand the clerk at the 7-11 near the bus stop your card, or get one from them. London lets you buy prefilled cards by mail; there's no reason Boston can't do that.

The number of people who will be boarding at a stop without a fare machine (and cheaper hardware = more fare machines at Green Line and busy bus stops), without a nearby retailer who can sell you a prefilled card or reload their existing card, without a credit or debit card, without a smartphone, who didn't know about their trip far enough ahead to buy by mail, is going to be vanishingly low. At that point, it would be vastly cheaper and faster for the MBTA to quietly let those few people board for free, than to spend literally tens of millions of dollars making buses and trolleys accept cash and millions more in increased operating costs.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:43 pm

Wow, page 189 of this thread! Ripping out and replacing seems smart. Hope it leads to fares being equalized between the different modes.

How much does the current system cost? How much will actually be saved after all the consultants get a bite?

Mass tap-out in the morning at South Station, North Station, Back Bay and perhaps Yawkey and Boston Landing are going to be horrendous.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:12 pm

BandA wrote:Wow, page 189 of this thread! Ripping out and replacing seems smart. Hope it leads to fares being equalized between the different modes.


No fare changes are planned at this time. The change only opens the T up to that possibility in the future.

Mass tap-out in the morning at South Station, North Station, Back Bay and perhaps Yawkey and Boston Landing are going to be horrendous.


I don't think it'll be that bad. It all depends on how they implement the readers at major stations. If they do end up gating the platforms, it might slow things down a little bit but I don't think it will be too bad, considering the limited doors and platform widths already regulate the rate of people getting off trains. The main time I foresee it being a problem is when you have an inbound unloading and an outbound loading at the same time on adjacent tracks. It's already hard enough to swim upstream down the platform.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby Echo33d » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:44 pm

BandA wrote:Mass tap-out in the morning at South Station, North Station, Back Bay and perhaps Yawkey and Boston Landing are going to be horrendous.


I saw a very similar setup at Waverley station in Edinburgh so it's not without precedent. Possibly other places too?
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby Diverging Route » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:18 pm

deathtopumpkins wrote:
BandA wrote:Wow, page 189 of this thread! Ripping out and replacing seems smart. Hope it leads to fares being equalized between the different modes.


No fare changes are planned at this time. The change only opens the T up to that possibility in the future.

Mass tap-out in the morning at South Station, North Station, Back Bay and perhaps Yawkey and Boston Landing are going to be horrendous.


I don't think it'll be that bad. It all depends on how they implement the readers at major stations. If they do end up gating the platforms, it might slow things down a little bit but I don't think it will be too bad, considering the limited doors and platform widths already regulate the rate of people getting off trains. The main time I foresee it being a problem is when you have an inbound unloading and an outbound loading at the same time on adjacent tracks. It's already hard enough to swim upstream down the platform.


The incentive to tap-out is that if you don't, you're charged the max zone fare (i.e. Zone 10) rather than the zone you boarded. This system works very well in Europe.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby BandA » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:22 pm

when you tap in at a CR station, will you get a reciept that you put in front of you as POP?
Last edited by BandA on Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby dbperry » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:23 pm

BandA wrote:Mass tap-out in the morning at South Station, North Station, Back Bay and perhaps Yawkey and Boston Landing are going to be horrendous.


Since those would all (at least South Station, North Station, and Back Bay) be terminal destinations with the 'highest' fare possible, you could design a system where you only need to tap on and NOT tap off on the inbound trip. The system could be designed to default to the highest fare for the zone where you tapped in (which you were going to pay anyway) in the case of no tap-out. Those passengers transferring to subway or other modes also wouldn't need to tap off of the commuter rail - the system could be designed to treat the tap on for the subway as also the tap off of the commuter rail.

And if you have a monthly pass on your tap card, then theoretically you wouldn't have to tap at all - for example tap once at the beginning of the month to 'activate' the pass and then ride the entire month on the commuter rail without needing to tap-on or tap-off. That negates passenger counts and data collection, so they might not want to implement it that way, but it could work.

My point is there are lots of options to program the system to overcome most challenges we can come up with. And I don't think eliminating cash is a problem. If you can get a tap card at every corner store and put cash on your tap card at those locations, then problem solved. Tack the tap card system onto the lottery terminal infrastructure - you'd have millions of locations in an instant (I'm only half joking).

The biggest challenge will be shifting people's habits and also getting people to accept that fare inspectors will patrol the commuter rail to check for fare evaders.

The 'myki' fare card system in Melbourne Australia is a perfect example of a tap-on, tap-off fare payment system integrated across rail, subway, and streetcars.
https://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/
And yes, I'm aware that it had a rough roll-out and startup.

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Re: CharlieCard / Ticket discussion

Postby dbperry » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:26 pm

BandA wrote:when you tap in at a CR station, do you get a reciept that you put in front of you as POP?


No. Tap in and you're 'in the system.' A fare inspector (or conductor) comes by with his handheld device and reads your tap card. They can tell if you tapped in. If you didn't, you're a fare evader - either charged a fine or the highest zone fare or highest zone fare plus surcharge.

That's the most common implementation, I think, but there could be others. But printing a ticket for every tap wouldn't be efficient.
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