They don't seem to have made up their minds whether we still have "Show and Go" at Newton Centre or not. Usually they open the back doors but then the driver howls at you to come up to the front to pay your fare -- whether you have a Charlie card, a Charlie ticket, a "validator" or anything else. Then, of course, you lose your seat ...Hmmmm The T had signs at all the D Line stations that "said" what the policy was supposed to be but they don't seem to be following it.
This will be fun when they interrupt D Line service during Red Sox season.
What's the official policy, if any?
Then this afternoon we got a long letter from Katie in Brighton who after a bad commuter morning last week decided to complain to the T and got a response back from them. It appears that the rules have changed once again.
I wanted to share a recent CharlieCard experience and pass on some information I received from the MBTA.
Last week, I witnessed a T driver shout at a passenger on the B line boarding at Long Ave. The passenger had a monthly pass on a CharlieTicket—the kind that still has the month clearly identified on the ticket. The passenger felt that this should allow him to enter at any door and "Show and Go", as did I. This is in agreement with both the signage on the B Line and with the internal driver-instruction memo posted on your blog a few weeks ago. The driver, however, disagreed, forcing the passenger to insert the CharlieTicket as well as responding to his comments that his pass "says JANUARY on it" and that "this is taking longer and people are cold" with by shouting "We don't do 'Show and Go' anymore. If you're cold, you should wear more clothes."
Since the new fare system was introduced, I've noticed that the drivers are terribly inconsistent about whether they open all doors (as someone who gets off above-ground on the B line both in- and outbound, this is a particular concern for me as I'm less willing to move all the way to the back when only the front door will be opened at my stop), however, this combined with the incredibly rude behavior and a bad morning was enough to inspire me to register a complaint with the T. (I've copied the letter and full response below.)
The most surprising thing about the response (other than that I received one at all) was that it states "Therefore, operators are opening all doors in stations and at stops where a fare monitor is present with a hand held validator. The Fare Monitor is able to verify payment on their hand held validators.
At station stops and locations where no fare monitor and or fare validator is present, Green Line operators are instructed to open front doors only and board passengers through the front door ensuring proper fare collection" (emphasis mine). This is in direct contradiction to everything else I've read and might answer some of the questions I've seen people raise about this policy. I think the T could really decrease problems with the system is there was a bit more transparency on these boarding and payment policies. And, in any case, the drivers should be trained to be as polite as possible to the customers.
Line: Green Line
Incident Date: 1/23/2007
Incident Time: 8:20 AM
Topic: Employee Complaint
Sub Topic: Rude/Abrasive
Route: Green Line
Additional Comments: This morning on a Green B train, I overheard the driver shout at a passenger. The passenger was carrying his T pass on a
CharlieTicket-- the kind that still has the month written on it in large letters. He attempted to board the train without inserting his pass into the fare box-- just holding it up in the "show & go" fashion. When the driver told him to go back, I believe he made a comment about the cold weather and slow boarding. She shouted that "We don''t do Show & Go anymore. If you''re cold, you should wear more clothes."
While I think it's inappropriate for her to shout under any circumstance (and really not what I want to hear during my already unpleasant early-morning commute), I believe that the passenger was in the right. Per all the signage adorning the B line that explains the "faster, easier boarding" policies (which I was unable to fund on the website to quote directly), the drivers are to open ALL doors at ALL stops on the Green Line, whether there's a validator at the stop or not. It also says that passengers with monthly passes (I assume this refers to the exact kind of pass the passenger was carrying and not to, for example, my Link Pass which is on a CharlieCard and thus indistinguishable from stored value) can board at any door as they could previously. It then says that other passengers can board ALL doors and come to the front to pay their fare.
If I am reading the signs incorrectly, please let me know. However, from all indications, drivers on the Green Line should now be opening ALL doors at ALL stops. As someone who gets off above-ground on the B line, this is a welcome change and overall I've found the change to the CharlieCard to be a good change. Though this is not the first time the drivers have refused to open all the doors-- perhaps they are not being adequately trained in the new procedure-- this is the first that I have heard a driver treat a (legitimately) confused passenger with such disrespect.
Thank you for your time.
From: Feedback [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: MBTA Customer Comment Form: #070123521
We apologize for the confusion with our new fare collection procedures
on the Green Line. We appreciate your taking the time to write and
request further clarification.
In order to make the transition to the new fare collection procedures
as easy as possible, we are installing new signage and training all
personnel and customers in the new methodology. All passengers are
required to pay a fare when traveling in both directions on the Green
Line. Therefore, operators are opening all doors in stations and at
stops where a fare monitor is present with a hand held validator. The
Fare Monitor is able to verify payment on their hand held validators.
At station stops and locations where no fare monitor and or fare
validator is present, Green Line operators are instructed to open front
doors only and board passengers through the front door ensuring proper
fare collection. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have
caused you and appreciate your patience while we implement these new
So now it appears that Show-n-Go will only be used where they have fare inspectors.
While many cities employ an honor system with POP (proof of payment) and a rider is subject to inspection it appears for now the T isn't doing that. If anybody at the T wants to challenge what the above information says the case number is included in the T's response. The only thing I have done is to delete Katie's last name.
If this indeed the policy I would hope the T installs some signs saying this.