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MBTA looking to hire fare verifiers for its new fare system

CommonWealth talks to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, who says the T will likely hire 80 to 120 new employees to roam bus lines and above-ground trolleys to make sure they're paying their fares. The new system could speed up buses and trolleys by allowing people to board through both front and rear doors, but will mean a level of trust that people are boarding in the back with actual CharlieCards. The new workers will make random spot checks to make sure people are doing that.

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This is bad idea and all it will only affect poor people negatively.

Whats the point of this?

Like the CSAs that can't do anything? Will these be outsourced contractors too?

These folks to monitor if people are paying fares are great.. something other subways have done with TRANSIT POLICE for decades.

So no, instead of getting some of these transit police out of their cars and into subway cars, we're going to hire MORE PEOPLE to do the job that transit police should have been doing all along.

And then course, what happens when they see someone. Hand them a ticket? Without being a transit officer, that ticket is worthless. These people would get punched instantly.

OK no ticket, so we have a bunch of rats watching people & taking names... which has its own set of issues in itself. That won't go over well once these people have been outed. Please we have bus drivers who get bleach thrown at them for asking people to pay.

I really fail to see how this will work other than giving people jobs who wouldnt have had them already.

Also would LOVE to see the "cost savings". Once again, here in MA, we throw money at a social problem.. meaning, its a "win win" with the court of public opinion but in reality does nothing to fix the problem.

Just saying...

120 people @ 16/hr @ 40hrs = 3.9 MILLION dollars PER YEAR

Does this exceed the amount of 2 dollar fares that were not collected?

We need to get away from "Transit must produce revenue" GOP crappola that keeps being pushed. It never will..

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Yes. Make the MBTA free already!! It's so frustrating seeing them pour billions of dollars down the drain on a fare collection system and hires, when it's absolutely not worth the time, effort, and money. It would not only be potentially cheaper to get rid of fares, but also a net good to society.

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Thats pretty much where I was going with this. It really should be free.

All this money wasted on different things to get people to pay is useless. New Fare System, hiring people to see if people pay, administration costs, etc etc.

Plus we have programs for the disabled and poor for reduced or free fares. Why not just make it free for everyone? Remove all the barriers and administrative costs to these programs.

I think once this was done, it still may not close in on the fare revenue lost, the social outcomes.. which cannot have a price tag put on them.. would be fantastic. It would be worth to raise the gas tax a penny or find some way to kick in the difference.

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"All this money wasted on different things to get people to pay is useless" is correct. It's like trying to clear clutter from your house by buying more things to put the clutter in/on. It just compounds the problem and adds to the flotsam and jetsam.

At least the MBTA lowered the fare evasion fines.

I hate proof of payment because it incentivizes fare evasion for low-income riders and then punishes them for making the rational choice and not paying the fare. It also makes everyone a suspected fare evader until proven otherwise, which is not okay.

The T should be free for everyone. If collecting a fare is too time consuming, that's not the riders problem.

You think saving $3M in fare collection officers is somehow going to offset $700M a year? That’s how much revenue the MBTA makes in fares a year. Where does the additional $697M come from? I love the people that say make it free, but have no idea how to make up the shortfall of doing so.

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Corporate taxes. End the sweetheart deals for luxury condo developers. End state welfare for big business. See? Easy money!

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Is saving the additional spending we're already doing on fare gates, ticketing machines, etc to collect those fares. How much is the revenue once you subtract how much it costs to collect those fares?

When road repairs get delayed or roads are closed or we've put toll gantries on every high entrance and exit because we need to 'make up the shortfall' on revenue on roads.... I'll stand by your argument. Until then, not so much.

Again, we need to stop this "transit must make revenue" . IT DOESN'T. IT NEVER WILL. So stop trying to think it can. Once we do, there will be no "shortfall" on cash. We don't do it for roads.. why do we do it for transit.

Oh sweet summer child! Try $30/hour to start with 80 hours/week self-approved timecards and full pension at 45.

Charlie Baker would rather die on statue made from Deval Patrick's head than to ever see another person become a MBTA full time employee.

The past 8 or so years have show that the only thing Baker will allow is... OUTSOURCE. And this is where this 'hiring' will come from. It will be a contractor, not employees.

PS - You clearly using 1998 era arguments. MassDOT (and the MBTA) have moved to digital bioinformatics time cards for at least 10 years now. No more "self signed" cards or unauthorized "80 hour work weeks".

No not anymore. So all employees stand there at 4:55pm waiting at the digital timeclock until 4:57pm so they can clock out without being docked or written up. I've been working in an office and as a contractor for decades, I've never been asked to sign my timecard in basically blood (a digital finger print is pretty much that). How degrading is that? (Save your argument, I don't care, its degrading)

All because of people like you, who continually push this notion that T and MassDOT employee are lazy and lie. Perhaps some do, but that happens EVERYWHERE. not just the T. But no since the T is a 'public' thing, they automatically become the punch bag for boston.

But old as New England Superstitions, so are the incorrect, and ill informed general public's opinion of the T.

If the fine for fare evasion is relatively small. If it's, say, $50, but you can only expect to get hit once a month (riding at least 2x daily), there's no point in paying the fare or buying a pass. Just consider the occasional fine, if you bother to pay it, the cost of your monthly pass. In practice I think the habitual fare-dodgers are going to ignore these fines, too, and the job of being a verifier is going to be hazardous on some routes.

Unless they've got some sort of power to detain offenders (like the Transit Police) I don't see how this scheme works.

Eliminating fares on everything but Commuter Rail blows a hole of over half a billion dollars in the budget; that's basically what Covid has done but for a couple of federal bailouts. You could probably pay for that with 2 additional cents of sales tax in the communities with MBTA bus & subway service. That'd be awesome for me, but maybe not for retailers in the service area.

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Is it really a lose for retailers in the MBTA service area? Making it easier for customers to get to their stores doesn't seem all that bad.

is this a joke? We already have people underground to act as a deterrent for fare evasion, and yet I see it every time I jump on the T.

Can we invest in the transport of people and not the further policing of poor folk?

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Sign Magoo up. Said in gangster voice: There’s a new boss in town see. Magoo’s the name see. Magoo’s gonna make sure yoos people been payin the fare see. If not, ratta tat tat and out the back see. Magoo.

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Magoo can train other Magoos. Magoo can only be on one bus or train at a time.

Having discussed this previously with CSA’s and MBTA police, only T police can do anything about fare evasion. No other employees can even refuse to let someone on the bus, train or trolley if they don’t pay. Is that changing??

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See Magoo's comment.

Bouncers needed. Must be willing to be spat at, or worse.

Being interrogated for my papers makes me nervous. In places where they do this,I always worry that I’ll lose my ticket, it won’t have been validated properly, it will get soaked in the rain, etc.

I hope if they do this, that we actually see the benefits: reduced overall fare collection costs for the T, easier payment procedures for passengers, and faster service on buses and trolleys.

But then I hear about what’s actually happening. Hugely expensive costs for the new system. Bus stops where you’ll be expected to walk half a mile to a convenience store or another stop with a machine to pay since you can’t pay on the bus. Making everyone swipe on the platform when they get on AND OFF the Commuter Rail. And still making everyone swipe when getting on the bus or trolley, even though everyone will be required to have bought a ticket in advance.

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While I don't intend to help anyone evade fares, I'm not going to snitch on them either. The Transit Police have bigger fish to fry.

As for the new system, I hope it is, indeed, going to put a CharlieCard tap device on every door on every vehicle so that every door can, indeed, be used. Last time I checked, that was the plan. And later on, other interfaces could also use the taps like certain apps from phones, etc.