Thursday, December 21, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly (especially on the Green Line)

With the fare increase that goes into effect January 1st approaching there are going to be some changes that the T really hasn't spread the word about. Now the good news is that riders getting on the D line inbound beyond Reservoir Station will no longer have to pay $3 to board the train. The fare will be $1.70 on a CharlieCard or $2.00 cash or CharlieTicket. Riders on the Red Line will no longer have to pay the exit fares in Quincy and Braintree. The cost of the combo pass now named LinkPass drops to $59. That is good.

Now comes the bad and ugly. Green Line riders have for years enjoyed free outbound travel at stops beyond the subway. Under the new plan the freebie rides are gone, you will have to pay the same $1.70/$2.00 to return. This is going to cause delays especially on the B line on Commonwealth. Right now all the doors open and people can exit and board swiftly. However since the T now plans to charge for the ride outbound does this mean they will not open all the doors? Perhaps this is another use for the Validator.

Perhaps the T is planning to follow in the steps of the San Francisco Muni that has what is called a "proof of payment" plan.

The Muni plans works like this (MuniMetro is very similar to our Green Line)

Proof of Payment (POP) is in effect on all Muni Metro lines.
Always ask for a transfer on all Muni lines except Cable Cars.
Don't board a bus without paying your fare or showing a pass/transfer/fare receipt.
"Proof of Payment" is physical proof that you have already paid your Muni fare for a particular trip.
You must have valid Proof of Payment when riding on a POP line or while within the paid area of Muni stations.
Your Proof of Payment must be valid for the duration of your entire trip within the Muni Metro System, including time spent within the paid area of stations or waiting at station platforms.

Failure to produce Proof of Payment when asked by a Muni Fare Inspector will result in a large fine.
If you have Proof of Payment, you may board a Metro streetcar by any door.
You must board buses and historic streetcars by the front door, whether or not you have Proof of Payment.
To obtain Proof of Payment, you can:
Buy a pass, passport, or ticket ahead of time, or
At surface stops, pay when entering the front door of a single vehicle or the front door of the first car of a train.
West Portal through Embarcadero Stations: At subway stations pay at a faregate before entering the gated area or platform. Fares cannot be paid on Metro streetcars in subway stations.
Don't get stuck entering with a transfer/fare receipt that will later expire while you are waiting on a platform or riding in a vehicle. If you are not sure your transfer/fare receipt will last, then pay for a fresh transfer/fare receipt on the surface or at a faregate in the subway.


My hunch is this is where the Validator is coming into play. Riders on the Green Line are going to need to show a receipt when asked. Otherwise you can expect major delays on the Green Line especially the "B" line when BU is holding classes.

3 comments:

Gary McGath said...

Proof-of-payment systems are widely used in Europe. In fact, the odds that a "Schwarzfahrer" (as they're known in Germany) will be caught on any given ride are quite low, but apparently most people don't take the risk.

Charles Kendall said...

To be fair about the Green Line, a lot of the existing outbound aboveground delays, especially on the B Line, come from college kids hopping on for freebie rides up Comm. Ave for like one stop because they're too damn lazy or drunk to accurately walk a few blocks.

I'll miss the outbound freebies as much as anyone, as it was always a nice feature. But it may actually help work to reduce some of the delays, even if only on the weekends.

Auron said...

LA uses POP, and they have the "validator" machines described in all of its subway stations (they use the same Charlie equipment, but for markedly different purposes)... the likelihood of being caught is low, but for a $1.35 subway fare in LA, the $250 fine you get issued is extraordinarily steep and quite a deterrent. But they make you show valid ID and if not, the people checking are from the LA County Sheriff's office, so they can and will arrest you on the spot if you refuse to show valid ID.