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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Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby danib62 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:37 pm

In boneheaded idea of the day: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/06/keolis-could-install-fare-gates-for-commuter-rail-three-major-stations/OP0KOM7kfdhY7zNyUXhJHN/story.html

Keolis Commuter Services would kick in an estimated $10 million for construction costs, as well as $7 million in yearly operating expenses, to cut down on fare evasion that costs the MBTA as much as $35 million a year.


I wonder how many assistant conductors you could hire with $7m a year? I'm guessing enough that you can properly collect fares on board every train and then some...
Last edited by danib62 on Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:08 pm

I wonder how they know that they lose as much as $35 million a year in uncollected fares? But if you add the first year's expense figures up, then subtract from 35 million in uncollected fares, you save lots of money. [Not bad for a French major, huh? :P }

I think Metro North has/had "gate trains" going to GCT in the AM rush. Dutch could verify that.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby rethcir » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:12 pm

How could these possibly cost 7 million a year once installed? It's a pretty simple piece of electronics, or should be. It's basically a gate, a SquareUp reader, a network connection, and a backend processing instance. I assume (perhaps wrongly) that it would be set up to interface with the existing CharlieCard backend too.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby edbear » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:29 pm

What happens if there's an Amtrak train, the terminal switcher or Mass. Bay RRE Special on the other side of the gate?
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby EdSchweppe » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:44 pm

I wonder what magic technology will support automatically reading Charlie Cards, Charlie Tickets, mTickets and paper ticket receipts (from onboard sales) without slowing foot traffic at BOS/BON/BBY?
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:04 pm

Yeah, where are they going to fit these in at BOS & BON, without messing up passenger flow? I can see them finding room at BBY.

Yeah, why $7M a year for "maintenance"? Assuming the money goes to some IT contractor....

And how will this work? Does the passenger tap their ticket/fare media & receive a timed, zoned seat check that displays VOID after 3 hours exposure to air? The readers will have to recognize Amtrak tickets or gate agents will have to wave them through.

I like the idea of reducing the workload of the conductors. They should be focused on safety & security, and less on making change or throwing traps.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby CRail » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:32 am

BandA wrote:I like the idea of reducing the workload of the conductors.

Nothing wrong with that in theory except that reducing their work load means reducing them.

What I want to know is, since this is in the interest of collecting every dollar of every fare, what's to stop me from entering with a 1A ticket and going to Fitchburg?
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:58 am

CRail wrote:
BandA wrote:I like the idea of reducing the workload of the conductors.

Nothing wrong with that in theory except that reducing their work load means reducing them.

What I want to know is, since this is in the interest of collecting every dollar of every fare, what's to stop me from entering with a 1A ticket and going to Fitchburg?


I believe the system checks tickets on trains arriving, not departing. The conductors would still do ticket checks on outbound rides.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:14 pm

CRail wrote:
BandA wrote:I like the idea of reducing the workload of the conductors.

What I want to know is, since this is in the interest of collecting every dollar of every fare, what's to stop me from entering with a 1A ticket and going to Fitchburg?


The ideas of gates is no different than a PoP systems or validation.

Gates are only installed at the terminal, so conductors still need to check tickets on the way. The idea is if the conductor is not able to check the ticket, due to overcrowding, a lack of time, etc, the gate acts as a backup and "collects" the ticket.

This is what London does.

So if you enter with a 1A ticket, more likely than not, the conductor will get to you before Fitchburg. If you're going to Wedgemere, well, maybe you don't get checked and get a cheaper ride. Thats still more than the current system where your ride would be free.


What I dont understand is how the machines will work with people who pay cash on board because their station does not have a ticket vendor...ie Wedgemere. The current receipts do not have anything that could be read by a charlie gate
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby CRail » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:35 pm

Gates aren't proof of payment. PoP is open entry, fare gates are fare gates. If conductors have to check tickets anyways then this is nothing but a huge waste of money. This seems like a ploy to make the FMCB look like they actually care about the revenue, and of course Keolis is on board because if they make a capital investment in the system they'll have some stake in the operation when contract time comes up.

This is just shady all around, and if you think it's going to increase fare revenue, stand outside the gates at Lechmere for 10 minutes and tell me how well you think that's working out.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:52 pm

CRail wrote:Gates aren't proof of payment. PoP is open entry, fare gates are fare gates. .


No, this system is identical to PoP, but instead of a validator with no gate, it is a validator with a gate. Because the gates are only installed at the terminals, human validation is required on the full line. The gate acts as a reminder for the customer to "validate." Or in reality, they're a message for the politicians that have never ridden a train in their life that something is being done.

Again, this is how London operates.

And I never said I am for this system. I am simply explaining how it works. I think it's a waste of money. The only entity which benefits is the company selling the gates. This is true of all gate-based systems.

If it were up to me:
-Train conductors would drive trains, lower door traps, and assist customers with info as needed
-Primary fare collection would be done by gateless validation machines, like most of the world
-Transit police would ride trains and enforce payment (like Los Angeles), and assist customers with info as needed

Instead we get the worst of all words

-Expensive gates that dont do much
-Overstaffed trains
-Transit police who sit in idling SUVs
-Uncollected fares

American exceptionalism!
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby danib62 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:27 pm

Again though how is having gates a better option then just taking $7m/yr and hiring a bunch of asst conductors to assist with fare collection? Or even dedicated fare collectors who theoretically could be paid less than asst conductors? Both of these have other ancillary benefits in terms of safety and operations. I can't believe for once I'm in total agreement with Corey. This is a half-baked boneheaded boondoggle of a plan. If this thing goes to a hearing or public meeting I'm gonna make an attempt at going (funderemployment has it's benefits).
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:33 pm

What I don't understand is how the machines will work with people who pay cash on board because their station does not have a ticket vendor...ie Wedgemere. The current receipts do not have anything that could be read by a charlie gate.


This is not applicable unless fares for inbound trips are collected upon exit (at Back Bay, South Station, North Station). Or do they plan to collect fares upon exit?

Outbound during busy periods, passengers without tickets would be required to go to the ticket window (BBY, BOS, BON). For better or worse they may have to plan better to buy tickets in advance.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby saulblum » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:35 pm

Disney Guy wrote:Outbound during busy periods, passengers without tickets would be required to go to the ticket window (BBY, BOS, BON). For better or worse they may have to plan better to buy tickets in advance.


I believe you can pay cash on board inbound and buy a round trip fare on the punched paper ticket, which obviously wouldn't work in a fare gate.
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Re: MBTA/Keolis considering fare gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:43 am

My "magic" fare gate would dispense a seat check coded for zone and time. Conductor could tell at a glance that it is correkt. Perhaps you can even buy the fare at the gate.

Haven't been on CR in a while, but conductors seemed overwhelmed due to overcrowding & close spacing of stations with different platform heights (Worcester Line at least), so I don't think conductors have to worry about getting laid off anytime soon (unless there is some big budget cut or Google partners with train manufacturers)

You can hire 20 assistant conductors, if they can't walk the aisle how can they collect fares?

The Mt Auburn trackless trolley line, inbound they seem to collect on entry, outbound they collect on exit due to the huge rush at the Harvard busway.
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