MBTA redesigns its new ticketing system ‘to adapt to future needs’

Woman using MBTA transit ticketing system
BIGGER BUDGET: The MBTA aims to future proof its new transit ticketing system by adding extra features

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is to spend an additional US$212.1m on its new transit ticketing infrastructure, to enable support for a range of new options including the ability to integrate ferry and local rail services and to charge riders different fares depending on the time of day they travel.

The increase in the budget for the fare transformation project brings the total to be spent to $935.4m “including both the full capital cost of the system and a 10-year stream of operations and maintenance payments”.

“This amendment, which strengthens the original 2018 AFC 2.0 contract, enables the MBTA to achieve all the original goals of the project under a new approach,” the MBTA says.

“Based on feedback from customers, advocates and policy makers, the new approach will result in customer-focused upgrades to the existing and future systems.

“In addition, this board action reestablishes key milestones, includes new provisions that reduce the T’s construction risks, and allows the system to account for future changes within the payment industry.”

“Under this programme reset, we’ll be able to deliver one system that can be used across all modes that meets the needs of our customers today, and has the ability to adapt to future needs,” MBTA general manager Steve Poftak says.

“Especially in light of recent changes to daily life caused by Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to move toward a dynamic system with contactless options that can withstand major changes to conditions that would otherwise undermine a legacy system of fare collection.”

Among the improvements that the new ticketing system will now include are “flexibility to charge different fares based on time of day or other factors and integrate ferry and commuter rail fare transfers with the bus and subway systems,” according to The Boston Globe.