Several fare changes were approved by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board that aim to improve equity by closing gaps in existing fare structures for reduced fare riders, minimize pandemic-related revenue implications and budget uncertainties while increasing ridership where possible, and simplify fare tariff rules as the MBTA’s Fare Transformation moves forward.
These fare changes go into effect on July 1, 2022, except for the 5-Day Flex Pass being made permanent, which goes into effect immediately.
“We’re grateful to the board for approving these fare changes, which prepare us for technology updates to come through Fare Transformation, increase equity through improvements to LinkPasses, especially for our reduced fare riders and make the 5-Day FlexPass permanent for commuter rail riders,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “These fare updates allow us to continue to meet the needs of riders while minimizing revenue implications in this time of continued uncertainty.”
Permanent 5-Day FlexPass on mTicket for commuter rail
First introduced as a pandemic fare pilot in June 2020, the 5-Day FlexPass available on mTicket for the commuter rail is a bundled fare valid for any five days of travel within a 30-day period. Good for unlimited travel within a 24-hour period, these five passes are available for 10 percent off the cost of 10 one-way trips. An attractive option for riders whose travel patterns have changed due to hybrid work schedules and the availability of remote-work options, the 5-Day FlexPass on mTicket is now permanent effective immediately.
Reducing price of the 1-Day LinkPass
Effective July 1, 2022, and to help increase ridership by encouraging more riders to buy passes and increase equity for low-income and minority riders who often purchase this fare product, the cost of the 1-Day LinkPass will be lowered from $12.75 to $11. An $11 LinkPass pays for itself with five subway rides taken in 24 hours.
Expanding second transfers on buses, express bus routes and/or subway
Currently, the MBTA only allows one transfer between bus and/or subway with one recent addition – CharlieCard riders may transfer from bus to subway to bus. To simplify complexities in the T’s transfer policy, the transfer process will be standardized to allow all combinations of second transfers involving buses, express bus routes and/or subway, including bus-bus-subway, subway-bus-bus and express bus-express bus. This second transfer on subway and buses and transfers between express routes goes into effect on July 1, 2022.
Changes for reduced fare riders
Some riders are eligible for reduced fares, including people with disabilities and Medicare cardholders, people 65 and older, some middle and high school students and people 18 to 25 with low income. Three fare changes that aim to improve equity by closing gaps in existing fare structures for reduced fare riders will go into effect on July 1, 2022:
- The 7-Day LinkPass: Aiming to increase equity by increasing the benefits of purchasing fares in bulk for reduced fare riders, a 7-Day LinkPass will be available for $10, which breaks even after nine subway rides. This product is designed to meet the needs of individuals who might not have enough cash on-hand to afford a monthly pass, but who qualify for reduced fare programs.
- Monthly passes on commuter rail, ferry and express bus: To increase equity by closing gaps in the T’s offering of products for reduced fare riders, monthly passes on commuter rail, ferry and express bus for will be made available. This update offers a full set of monthly passes at approximately 50 percent of the full fare pass prices.
- LinkPass for commuter rail Zone 1A and Inner Harbor Ferry: Currently, a LinkPass for reduced fare riders is only available on CharlieCard fare media instead of a printed “flash pass” CharlieTicket that commuter rail conductors and ferry staff can see to visually validate a fare. In the future, as more updates take place as part of Fare Transformation, customers will be able to use tappable tickets as well as Charlie Cards to travel on the commuter rail and ferries. As such, and to increase access and equitable pricing on Reduced Fare passes, the LinkPass will be expanded to be valid for commuter rail travel in Zone 1A and on the Charlestown Ferry.