‘A surprisingly good idea’ from the T
New, flat weekend fare offers lots of opportunities
THE MBTA may finally be starting to get it.
After years and years of running weekend commuter rail trains that very few people ride, the T this week decided to do something about it. The Fiscal and Management Control Board voted to offer a special fare this summer that allows passengers to take as many weekend rides on the commuter rail system as they want for the flat price of $10. Up to two children 11 or under can ride for free with a paying adult. The new fare starts June 9 and runs through September 2.
An editorial that appeared in the jointly owned Eagle-Tribune, Salem News, and Gloucester Times on Friday hailed the new fare as “a surprisingly good idea” from the MBTA. “That’s roughly half the price of a regular round-trip from Boston to Gloucester for a ticket that can be used multiple times on a weekend,” the editorial said.
What’s great about the fare is that it gets people thinking about ways to travel around the region without using a car. The editorial pointed out one option on the North Shore. Instead of fighting the traffic headed to Good Harbor and Wingaersheek beaches in Gloucester, people can take the train to the city and then hop on the hourly trolley that deposits them right at the beach. The train trip and the trolley would cost $13, so a family of two adults and two children under 11 could spend the day at the beach for less than it costs ($30) to park one car there.
The new fare is a baby step toward rethinking the way public transit is marketed in Massachusetts. For far too long the T has viewed its job as getting people to and from work. Now it has a chance to think about transit more broadly, as a way for people to explore the region and enjoy life.