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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

T is for Terrible

Now let me get this straight. You're not allowed to take pictures on MBTA property. Unless you are employed by the T and are looking to nab fare evaders.

While there is some sense to the the T's decision to train their evil eye on fare evaders, here's a handy-dandy suggestion: you can accomplish almost as much by going back to the old system on the Green Line -- namely open only the front door on inbound trains and drop the outbound fare. Or, actually have "validators" present to check Charlie Cards in both directions and let people with pre-paid cards board through any door.

You don't need a camera to know there are a raft of fare evaders getting on at middle and back doors on the Green Line surface streets. All you need is a pair of eyes -- and the time the T requires you to spend while they try to board people on overcrowded sardine cans.

Ever try to get to be honest and get on an outbound train through the front door? You can't -- the narrow aisles of the Breda cars are too jammed to create any room. "Sneak in" the back or wait. And wait.

And while we are at it, here's a question for our revenue conscious T executives like Dan "Commuter Rail Isn't Convenient to My Schedule" Grabuaskas. How has the new fare system impacted MBTA revenues?

We are now almost eight months into the new fare structure -- has the T increased revenue, lost riders or both?

The Department of Revenue releases monthly reports on the state's tax collections. The MBTA relies on a chunk of those revenues (a penny on the sales tax) to fund the system. Why aren't they reporting monthly on the success (or failure) of the new fare structure?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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