BOSTON (CBS) – No more free rides. The company that operates the commuter rail system is planning to install fare gates at some stations to make sure your fare is collected.
For years they’ve been talking about the problem of some riders not paying and now they’re finally doing something about it.
It’s a multi-million dollar loss year after year. Keolis, the company that runs the commuter rail system, estimates that 15-20% of riders are not paying the correct fare. It’s mostly because tickets aren’t always checked.
Sometimes the trains are so crowded conductors can’t get down the aisles, and sometimes there just aren’t enough conductors. So they plan to put in a system like the one subway riders already use, fare gates, at North, South and Back Bay stations, which are the biggest on the line. In fact about 90% of riders pass through those three hubs.
Keolis says the fare gates could bring in up to $24-million each year, while the cost to install them would be about $10-million.
Riders who board at the three stations with gates would swipe to get on. Those who board everywhere else would swipe to get off when they arrive at the large stations.
Keolis also says the yearly cost to operate the new system will be about $7-million so it will easily pay for itself. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says construction could begin by the end of the year.