"Operation Fare is Fair"

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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Fri May 06, 2016 10:35 am

nomis wrote:And if they stayed there until 5:55, you would complain that they made people miss their trains and trains were delayed because of "Fair is Fair".


Well then, that seems to be a pretty flawed implementation of fare enforcement if passengers running to catch the train before the doors close don't get checked. I guess any fare cheats can just wait till the last minute and avoid being hassled by Keolis staff.

Watch the video clip. Those passengers wouldn't have missed the train had the crew checked their tickets on the platform. Instead the crew was just eager to get a head start on taking down their set-up.

And yet the T and Keolis want us to believe that these operations are about fare enforcement.

What a joke. The folks at Keolis who schemed up these operations clearly never ride the trains, though maybe they catch a glimpse of one as they drive to their garages near Atlantic Avenue and High Street.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Tue May 10, 2016 2:55 pm

https://twitter.com/MBTA_CR/status/730094678406746116

Hello! The goal of these events is to ensure every passenger boarding the train has a valid fare/pass to ride. The checks stop 2 minutes prior to departure and should not delay the train. Fares will be checked as normal on board, too.


Keolis and the T have confirmed that "Fare is Fair" is designed to only catch fare evaders who want to get their preferred seat, and that anyone boarding at the last-minute is free to cheat on paying their fare.

Oh, but wait: conductors will be checking tickets anyway on board even if you've been hassled by the platform checkers.

Again, I see little evidence that the Keolis staff who gave us these operations actually ever ride the rails.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue May 10, 2016 7:37 pm

I guess my question at this point would be: why is this such a big problem in Beantown and not in the other major commuter rail systems in the country?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby octr202 » Wed May 11, 2016 7:10 am

It's a consequence of the state of the political and public discourse over the MBTA and commuter rail. There are probably far better ways to actually check fare cheats (random spot checks in outer zones to check for "overrides," periodic on-board TPD checks, just to name two possibilities), but they don't generate as much noise as setting up one of these events downtown. A lot of this has to do with showing Beacon Hill and the press critics that they're "doing something about" the problem, as real or imagined as it might be.

It's a response to all those (usually not riders) who pile on about the T being a profligate waste of money - many of the same camp that espouse things like "cut their funding until they learn to live within their budget." Unfortunately, it's hard to explain the laws of diminishing returns with regard to fare collection in most of these debates.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby dbperry » Wed May 11, 2016 7:41 pm

Also, the "Fare is Fare" program is an invention by Keolis. Certainly the MBTA must have had to agree with it, but it's clear they didn't invent it and are not driving it. So there is a client-subcontractor dynamic at work here - "look what we're doing to help you get your revenue!"

And the "ring of steel" proposal (by Keolis) brings it full circle - "we'll invest some money to help you get revenue, but we want a cut." [And we can argue about the validity of the proposal or the idea that it would recover any revenue, but that is clearly Keolis' point with their proposal.]

The aspect of these actions and proposals in the context of the well publicized financial troubles Keolis is having with the contract can't be ignored.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby Diverging Route » Wed May 11, 2016 11:53 pm

On the LIRR, seat checks are used on all trains, in both directions. Granted that the LIRR has a higher volume of non-terminal ridership, but from what I've seen, Keolis uses seat checks only inbound. This means that passengers who get on after city center stops (BON, BOS, BBY, RUG) often do not have fares collected.

Probably the most flagrant example is RTE. When I get off a train at RTE during afternoon rush hour, I see many passengers who get on for outbound service to PVD. As all doors open at RTE and the trains are very crowded, these new passengers can blend in and not pay.

Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby saulblum » Thu May 12, 2016 8:46 am

Diverging Route wrote:Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?


At Porter, conductors check fares of passengers on the platform, since those boarding at Porter have to wait anyway for everyone getting off.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby leviramsey » Thu May 12, 2016 8:48 am

saulblum wrote:
Diverging Route wrote:Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?


At Porter, conductors check fares of passengers on the platform, since those boarding at Porter have to wait anyway for everyone getting off.


There's that much BON-Porter ridership?
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby Diverging Route » Thu May 12, 2016 8:49 am

leviramsey wrote:
saulblum wrote:
Diverging Route wrote:Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?


At Porter, conductors check fares of passengers on the platform, since those boarding at Porter have to wait anyway for everyone getting off.


There's that much BON-Porter ridership?


The reply refers to my question about outbound riders from Porter.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby diburning » Thu May 12, 2016 9:02 am

Yes, there is quite a bit of ridership BON-Porter and vice versa. It's the quickest way between those two points.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby The EGE » Thu May 12, 2016 11:01 am

By a 2013 count, inbound boardings at Porter were 275 daily.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby leviramsey » Thu May 12, 2016 11:32 am

Diverging Route wrote:
leviramsey wrote:
saulblum wrote:
Diverging Route wrote:Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?


At Porter, conductors check fares of passengers on the platform, since those boarding at Porter have to wait anyway for everyone getting off.


There's that much BON-Porter ridership?


The reply refers to my question about outbound riders from Porter.


Right, but it's only feasible for conductors to check fares of outbound boarding passengers at Porter if there's enough (probably a factor of 2 or 3 more considering how much faster it is to get off a train than it is to check a fare (and give change, punch a ticket etc.)) people from BON getting off to make the delay meaningful.

All that said, my experience has generally been that outbound fare checking (at least on the Fitchburg or Worcester lines) doesn't start until after the last Zone 1A station (i.e. Yawkey or Porter).
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu May 12, 2016 1:48 pm

Diverging Route wrote:On the LIRR, seat checks are used on all trains, in both directions. Granted that the LIRR has a higher volume of non-terminal ridership, but from what I've seen, Keolis uses seat checks only inbound. This means that passengers who get on after city center stops (BON, BOS, BBY, RUG) often do not have fares collected.

Probably the most flagrant example is RTE. When I get off a train at RTE during afternoon rush hour, I see many passengers who get on for outbound service to PVD. As all doors open at RTE and the trains are very crowded, these new passengers can blend in and not pay.

Since I don't ride the Old Colony lines -- how is this handled at Quincy Center and Braintree, where I assume many passengers transfer from the RL to the CR? Same with Porter on the Western Route -- since the volume is high there, are seat checks used outbound from BON and BOS on these lines?


DR:

On the LIRR seatchecks are primarily used in ONE direction: WESTBOUND towards Penn Station and are lifted
before trains reach Jamaica. The Port Washington Branch (not running through Jamaica) uses seatchecks until the
Zone 3-City Zone One boundary (west of Flushing Main Street to Mets-Willets Point and Woodside) and get lifted.
On Mets game days or during special events tickets are collected at the gate at Mets-Willets Point Station.
On trains operating through and stopping at Jamaica all tickets are collected after this stop towards Penn Station.

Seatchecks are RARELY used eastbound - I have seen them used on the Port Washington Branch leaving New York
and at times some crew members lift and collect tickets before Jamaica - which is not the norm because of the
large amount of transferring between trains there. All tickets are collected east of Jamaica; only trains with many
local short riders have crew members using seatchecks eastbound - they use them at their discretion.

LIRR one way and round trip tickets use a "punch system" that crews use to determine direction and cancel tickets.
On the current ticket types there is a line of blocks numbered 1 to 7. 1-2-3 is East; 7-6-5 is West. 4 is not used.
Punching 3 cancels an eastbound ticket and punching 5 cancels a westbound ticket.

Perhaps you were thinking of NJ Transit - which uses seatchecks for nearly everyone on most trains.
The only exception is heavily used peak hour trains in which crews have the option to use or not use seatchecks.
In those cases they would more then likely be more of a problem for crews then they are worth.

I have read through this topic over time and was thinking about how the MBTA collects fares from riders boarding
at intermediate stations and how they keep passengers from "overriding" on tickets. In some cases - like zones 1A
to Zone 1 - there is a large price differential in a small segment between stations and over riding is tempting there.

At MBTA stations that have TVMs is there any penalty charge for local riders not having tickets before boarding?
The LIRR charges between $5.75 and $6.50 more when there is an open ticket office or TVM available before
boarding. There are only a small number of "exception" stations that have neither and station fare is charged on
board from those locations. NJ Transit levies a $5 penalty in a similar manner when tickets are available at
TVMs or from agents in advance at stations.

Do crews have any discretion to "waive" the penalty when there are problems before boarding MBTA trains?
On the LIRR they do not and have to charge the higher on board fare. Passengers then must contact the LIRR
and then apply for a refund of the price difference upon approval. On NJ Transit crews DO have this option and
one sometimes hears "Waive the penalty from (station)" over the PA system announced or something similar.

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Last edited by MACTRAXX on Fri May 13, 2016 12:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby BandA » Thu May 12, 2016 3:04 pm

First thing they need is accurate passenger counts. This can be done with automated equipment on the platforms or on the doors. Second is figuring out how much fare "shrinkage" is occurring - for that they need to add RFID chips to the monthly passes. Passholders + tickets + people not paying = total passengers.

For CR. They can require everyone boarding at the terminal or major stations to generate a timed seat check from a kiosk, which would also allow transfer from subway to CR and allow payment by charlie card. Commuters will hate it.

Full tap-in tap-out would require smart card readers or RFID at every door on every CR coach / trolley. No seat checks required. Buzzer sound if someone boards but doesn't pay, conductors would have to chase them down with the help of other passengers.
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Re: "Operation Fare is Fair"

Postby jamesinclair » Fri May 13, 2016 11:24 am

MACTRAXX wrote:Perhaps you were thinking of NJ Transit - which uses seatchecks for nearly everyone on most trains.
The only exception is heavily used peak hour trains in which crews have the option to use or not use seatchecks.
In those cases they would more then likely be more of a problem for crews then they are worth.


Disagree with this. I ride NJT frequently. if youre going suburb to suburb on an off-peak trip or direction you can ride on the same ticket many, many times. I only ever buy one way for those trips because 90% of the time it wont be lifted and I can use it to come back. NJT is almost exclusively focused on NYP trips and that culture extends to staff on trains. If youre not going to NYP you dont exist.

If I worked in Trenton I wouldnt even get a monthly pass.

As for seat checks, I rarely see them off peak. Conductors usually remember people if theyre collecting.
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