T Official: uncollected fares costing MBTA “a lot of money”
By State House News Service | November 23, 2015, 7:16 EDT
Pressed to say whether the MBTA will pursue near-term fare hikes, the authority’s chief administrator said Sunday that “everything here is on the table” while also calling for better collection of existing fares.
During an interview on WCVB’s “On the Record,” Brian Shortsleeve said Green Line trains lack scanners to read fare cards if riders board through the back doors of trains and said a commuter rail rider from Belmont told him he only pays for about a third of his trips.
“We don’t do a very good job collecting our fares,” said Shortsleeve, adding that he’s also personally noticed fares not being collected while riding the system.
“It’s a lot of money. I don’t have a number for you. But I can tell you it’s a lot of money that we leave on the table,” he told hosts Janet Wu and Ed Harding.
Pressed about whether there will be a fare hike, Shortsleeve said he’s looking to boost MBTA advertising and real estate revenues, before adding, “Fare policy’s a big part of it. And you’re going to hear the control board talking about that in the coming weeks. I’d say nothing is inevitable. But everything here is on the table.”
The T is also weighing parking fee adjustments, with Shortsleeve saying fees could be lowered at some underutilized lots. The T is looking at “targeted” changes, said Shortsleeve, noting the T has 50,000 spaces and parking fees were last increased seven years ago.
The cost of repairing all MBTA equipment is about $7 billion and the transit authority also faces a $242 million operating budget gap in fiscal 2017, Shortsleeve said.
– Michael Norton/SHNS