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

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

Postby RenegadeMonster » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:03 pm

There was overcrowding on my inbound train this morning.

It was impossible for the conductors to move through the orange line like sardine can to collect tickets from Salem on.

I know for a fact a lot of people "got a free ride" this morning because they never activated their tickets or had them punched. I think there is a lot more loss in situations like this than there is fare evasion. I bet almost all fare evasion is people reusing tickets that were not checked.

Gates or all the ticket agents at the entry way to the platforms at the Boston stations are not going to solve the above issue.

What they need to work on is proper staffing levels on the trains to ensure the conductors have the time to check all tickets. We also need increased capacity so we don't have people standing in the aisle making it impossible for the conductors to walk through the train.

Things I see that are unacceptable
  1. Only 2 Conductors on a 6 or 7 car set.
  2. Even worse when it's only 1 conductor
  3. Wildly varying capacity of sets. You can have 6 cars which includes 2 double deckers and a 4 car set of all flats the next day.
  4. All to often delays or cancelations due to unreliability leading to overcrowding
  5. There should be enough capacity where if a train has to take on two trains worth of people from two stops (for example, a Newburyport Express train taking passengers from both Beverly and Salem from two trains because the Rockport train was delayed 40 minutes) without running out of room to fit people on to the train in Salem and and Standing room only for those that managed to get on in Salem.
  6. Off peak / weekend trains. Whenever I have been on them only 1/2 the time does a conductor every come by and check my monthly pass.
  7. Also, not to mention people start to stand blocking the aisle when there are 2 people in each 3 seater and 1 in each 2 seater.

I bet most lost fares are from inbound trains or inter zone passengers due to the crews inability to check all tickets.

We need to work on that, not the "Ring of Steel" in Boston.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby StefanW » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:47 pm

If you're against the gates / checking, it looks like bad news. Apparently the predictions by Keolis are coming true.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/fare-verification-spurs-electronic-ticket-sales/

Bruce Mohl, editor of CommonWealth magazine wrote: According to Keolis, system-wide sales of M-Tickets increased fairly significantly over 16 days in September compared to the average for the same days of the week over an eight-month period from October 2016 through June 2017. The increases ranged from a low of 12.1 percent on Wednesday Sept. 20 to a high of 36.2 percent on Monday Sept. 25.


For more (from the FMCB meeting Monday), see page 8 and 9:
https://d3044s2alrsxog.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/fmcb-meeting-docs/2017/october/2017-10-02-fmcb-keolis-commuter-rail.pdf

In case that link changes, refer to "Commuter Rail Update by Keolis" on https://www.mbta.com/events/1154
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:29 pm

I think they are still getting scammed by people with mTickets and possible single ride and 10 ride as well.

Today, and once last week I had someone sit beside me who had a zone 3 mTicket. I get off at Salem, the last zone 3 stop. Next stop Beverly, zone 4.

These people with the Zone 3 mTicket did not get off at Salem. I had to request for them to let me out of the Seat after parked at Salem. And they just scooted back into the seat after I got out. I was one of the last off the train at Salem tonight and they were still sitting in that seat when the train pulled out.

I think people are buying lower zone tickets Outbound than they are actually using.

Edit: Pretty sure someone had a zone 2 pass mTicket too since the program started who stayed on passed Salem now that I think a bout it more.

Just sent a complaint into the MBTA about people doing this. Let's see if they respond.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby enterprise11 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:46 pm

RenegadeMonster wrote:I think they are still getting scammed by people with mTickets and possible single ride and 10 ride as well.

Today, and once last week I had someone sit beside me who had a zone 3 mTicket. I get off at Salem, the last zone 3 stop. Next stop Beverly, zone 4.

These people with the Zone 3 mTicket did not get off at Salem. I had to request for them to let me out of the Seat after parked at Salem. And they just scooted back into the seat after I got out. I was one of the last off the train at Salem tonight and they were still sitting in that seat when the train pulled out.

I think people are buying lower zone tickets Outbound than they are actually using.

Edit: Pretty sure someone had a zone 2 pass mTicket too since the program started who stayed on passed Salem now that I think a bout it more.

Just sent a complaint into the MBTA about people doing this. Let's see if they respond.


There are no easy ways to mitigate this form of fare evasion. The conductors and A/Cs, in theory, could seat-check every single passenger, and make sweeps after every stop to ensure that each passenger got off at the zone that they purchased their fare for. This is, however, near impossible to do due to the short times between stops, overcrowding, etc. If the CR moved to a proof-of-payment system, I suppose they could do "punch days" where they randomly check everybody in between certain zones during the ride, and anybody caught over-riding their fare would have to pay the extra inter-zone fare, a fine, or both. Another solution, though much more costly and technologically sophisticated, would be exit faregates at all station stops, where passengers must swipe through to get out of the station. Anybody who over-rode their stop would then have to purchase the difference from a ticket-vending machine or via the app in order to get through the exit gate.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby dbperry » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:51 am

enterprise11 wrote:If the CR moved to a proof-of-payment system....<snip>


MBTA IS implementing POP with AFC 2.0. Which makes this 'interim' ring of steel even more maddening to me.

See page 8 of this presentation:
https://d3044s2alrsxog.cloudfront.net/s ... pdate.pptx

MBTA is going in the right direction on fare collection. Keolis is being allowed to implement a backwards interim system that isn't integrated with or helpful in the context of AFC 2.0.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby saulblum » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:48 pm

Last night the 5:55 Fitchburg left North Station 10 minutes late, on track 7, and was not announced till around 6:02. The 6:15 Downeaster started boarding on track 8 around 6:00. Around six surplus Keolis employees (I mean ticket checkers) were standing around the platform doors, and did not do any checks of passengers once the Fitchburg train was announced.

This was my first time experiencing this nonsense, and of course the lack of checks was an acknowledgement that the platform checks slow down boarding, on a train already running 10 minutes late. And with the Downeaster boarding on the same platform, how could the checks have been done anyway?

To top it off, the conductors announced that we'd still have to show them our tickets, even though they were checked already (which they were not).

Utter incompetence.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:52 pm

The 6:05 Newburyport was also delayed 10 minutes last night. Also, love how they didn't announce there was going to be a delay until 6:05...

As you mentioned, it doesn't appear the ticket checkers check anything trains that have been delayed. They just waive everyone through.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:08 pm

If they are losing fares at the rate they claim, which I think they are, then Keolis/MBTA needs to do something before 2020. The ideal solution would be to implement Charlie Card 2.0 in 2018 on the commuter rail, debug it, then phase it in on the other modes.

Instead of the Ring of Steel, what are the alternatives for the next three years?
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:33 pm

I don't see them doing anything other than the Ring of Steel before 2020.

I voice my opinion to them they they need more staffing and more set capacity and this would make a worlds more difference being able to efficiently check every ticket. The Ring Of Steel is only a small bandaid on a much larger problem, and it shows that conductors are not able to collect all fares on the trains.

It seems like the current plan for 2018 is have Manual Gates at the 3 Boston stations, and have random checks on the outer stations inbound in the morning in the style they are doing the checks now at the Boston Stations.

I haven't been able to get any confirmation out of them if they plan to add additional crew members to trains. It doesn't sound like that is their approach for the time being.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby enterprise11 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:23 pm

dbperry wrote:
enterprise11 wrote:If the CR moved to a proof-of-payment system....<snip>


MBTA IS implementing POP with AFC 2.0. Which makes this 'interim' ring of steel even more maddening to me.

See page 8 of this presentation:
https://d3044s2alrsxog.cloudfront.net/s ... pdate.pptx

MBTA is going in the right direction on fare collection. Keolis is being allowed to implement a backwards interim system that isn't integrated with or helpful in the context of AFC 2.0.


That link is broken. Do you have a summary of what the plan is regarding AFC 2.0?
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby BandA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:48 pm

Link is working, (although the proprietary Powerpoint slides render poorly in Libreoffice.)

Text version of page 8:
--------------------------
Sample Trip: Commuter Rail
tap in > ride > get inspected (on-board?) > tap out

[allowed media]
Fare card
NFC phone (or wearable)
Contactless credit card

Fare Vending Machines (FVMs) will be located within the station or within close walking distance for cash top up.

[standards]
Station validators will be installed at all Commuter Rail stations to support tap in and tap out.
FVMs must be located at all Zone 1A stations and a point of sale (FVM or retail) must be located at stations that account for 50% of weekday inbound boardings.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:26 pm

Just spoke with Keolis supervisor / manager tonight.

I can confirm they have hired 18 more conductors who have just started training. We should see them on the trains by December. They wanted more to do the job right but that's all they could get hire for now. It's a start.


When I brought up people riding passed their zones he seemed surprised they weren't being caught by the conductors. He said the conductors have a tool, paper slips to check zones and should be making routine sweeps between stations. It came as a surprise to him when I said I have never seen them used on outbound trains, only in the morning inbound. Hope I didn't stir up a can of worms for the conductors.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby enterprise11 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:26 am

Was this a customer service manager or a transportation supervisor (trainmaster)?

If it was the former, I'm not surprised--they have no clue what actually goes on in the field. As I stated earlier, seat-checking each and every passenger on an outbound is a near impossible feat due to time between station stops, having to punch each seat-check individually to account for each passenger, and pulling seat-checks in between stops.
Last edited by CRail on Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby RenegadeMonster » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:08 am

I'm not sure.

I just know he had a white Keolis shirt as part of his uniform and was dressed more formal than standard conductors / keolis staff.
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Re: Ring of Steel: Fare Gates at BOS, BON, & BBY

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:26 pm

One rider was arrested at North Station after escalating a dispute over his faded pass.

The Boston Globe wrote:The MBTA’s new push to check tickets on commuter rail platforms has yielded its first arrest. Problem is, the passenger had a valid ticket — and a bit of an attitude.

Jim Yarin, a 58-year-old Acton resident and longtime commuter rail passenger, had already paid for an entire month of rides with an October pass. He was detained last week by Transit Police on a North Station platform and charged with trespassing after the ticket checkers said they could not verify that his paper ticket was valid.

Yarin concedes that he could have avoided arrest but says he escalated the situation out of principle.
Last edited by CRail on Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fair use quote added.
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