Thursday, July 3, 2008

Buy Before You Board!!

Funny, I just got this email from MBCR regarding the "Buy Before You Board" program, which I just mentioned in my previous post:

Buy Before You Board!!

Beginning Monday July 7, 2008, all customers will be asked to present their pass, 12 ride or single ride tickets for inspection to a team of Conductors prior to boarding their train. Customers without tickets will be directed back to the ticket office to buy their ticket.

MBCR is continually striving toward customer satisfaction, and in an effort to respond to fare collection concerns received from you, our passengers, we will be working together with our Conductors and Assistant Conductors in identifying trains that need more resources. We are launching this campaign to encourage all customers to purchase tickets prior to boarding trains at South, North and Back Bay Stations.

What can you do to help!

1. Arrive in a timely manner at the Ticket Office to buy your ticket/pass prior to boarding your train.
2. Have your ticket/pass/12-Ride in hand to show the pre-boarding ticket team as you pass through the barrier to board your train.
3. Be prepared to also show your ticket to the train crew once on board.
4. We will strictly enforce the application of the surcharge if you do not buy before boarding.

We would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation during these pre-boarding checks.

“Buy Before you Board”
Tickets purchased on board are more expensive (surcharge will be applied)


AJ said...

While I think it's great they are stepping up efforts to collect all their fares, I think a pre-board inspection is going to be an absolute nightmare! I have enough trouble getting on the P523 train in the afternoon because I'm not a pushy person, and it seems 99.5% of the other people are. I can only imagine how rough it's going to get if they are now waiting to show a ticket and board the train at the same time. Guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Train Rider said...

I know what you mean AJ ... it's a nightmare as it is getting down the platform, imagine how it's going to be when we have to line up to flash a pass ...

Hmmm ... maybe they can institute some sort of Fast Lane for pass holders?? Just like at Disney World! "Fast Pass holders line up here!"

Keith said...

It's about time they stepped up their efforts in this area, but from what I just read in my email from MBCR, this is a PRE boarding check of tickets and we still have to show our tickets once we're on the train. So it is still conceivable the conductors may not collect tickets if the car is packed, right?

Also, could MBCR have planned this announcement any worse? Today is the day before a holiday weekend and a lot of people are not working today ... there are going to be plenty of commuters who will be completely surprised by this new policy come Monday. A little more advance notice should have been considered.

Anonymous said...

If Keith is right, and this is just a pre-boarding check, this is insanity! How can they say we must buy a ticket prior to boarding but still say in rule #4 that if you get on the train without a ticket, they're enforcing the surcharge? Are they going to have lax checking of tickets or do they imagine people are going to sneak on board?

If they're short on funds, then why bother with this pre-check? Just enforce the surcharge, make sure the conductors actually collect fares from all riders, and make some extra cash! Please, someone, tell me what the conductors are doing between stops that makes them unable to collect fares?

I predict massive pileups on the platforms, even more angrier, pushier people than usual, and surly conductors unhappy about this addition to their daily jobs.

Here are some other options they should look into:

1) Add clear signage to all schedules (print, the electronic boards at the stations, their website, for goodness sake, hang signs in the stairwells at Back Bay!) saying to buy tickets in advance.
2) Close the side entrances at South Station off from the platforms, so people are guided to the inner station first.
3) Put ticket kiosks ON the platforms.
4) Raise the tiny LCD screen at South Station so we can actually read the schedule when it's crowded (ok, that last one has nothing to do with the fares, it just drives me nuts!)
5) Put scanners on platforms or in the trains to read our Charlie Cards and tickets. Come on, with RFID chips, the conductors should be able to have a machine that just counts/deducts fares as they walk by our seats! Weren't we supposed to have something like this already, months ago?

Train Rider said...

I completely agree with the comments. I took the 4:05PM train tonight and the platform was a mob scene. I turned to my friend and said "geesh, can you imagine what this is going to be like when they enforce the buy before you board program?"

I really like the idea of having a scanner to scan passes/cards. I've been asking about this to MBCR for awhile. I would imagine it's much more efficient than the clicker and paper tickets.

Anonymous said...

We counted the clicks per paper ticket once - have you ever noticed? It's at least EIGHT clicks per ticket, and then the conductor either gives it to the rider (who, what, recycles it?) or if it's the commute home, just sticks it in his/her pocket. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Anonymous said...

hey, don't blame the conductors for lax fare collection. just look around. first off, does the train have enough conductors to actually collect the fares. MBCR has continually understaffed the trains and then blames the conductors for failing to collect the tickets. remember, these are, for the most part, the same conductors who worked there when Amtrak ran the service, and this was not a common complaint then.

secondly, MBCR has failed to maintain the rolling stock and therefore does not have enough coaches for most trains. when the aisles are filled with standing riders, the conductors cannot get though to collect tickets, without rubbing up against the riders. MBCR may try to say the rolling stock is in bad shape because of its age, but actually the reverse is true. almost all of the coaches are less than 20 yrs old (at least since major rebuilds). and MBCR was afforded the opportunity to examine the entire fleet before they submitted a bid. they are in bed with the T, and until the commuting public catches on to this, they will keep the scam going.

Anonymous said...

Rode the train home today, no pre-boarding ticket checks at South Station or Back Bay, at least on the P527 Worcester train - anyone else???

Train Rider said...

I wonder if they're only doing it on certain trains/lines first? I took the 5:35 train from South Station tonight and I heard an announcement for the 5:38 Kingston train. The announcer said that they would be performing a pre board check on that line.