About the MBTA

March 7, 2016

In a series of unanimous votes the Fiscal and Management Control Board voted for fare changes effective July 1, 2016 1. While the overall system-wide average increase is approximately 9.3%, some of the changes will reduce fares and costs for certain services. These changes should result in approximately $43 million in new revenue in FY17.

Creation of Lock box: Dedicating all fare increase funds to improve service

The Board voted to put all increased fare revenue into a lock box to fund investment in capital improvements that will deliver short term improvements to the riding public. This dedicated fund will be under the control of the FMCB. A two-thirds vote of the FMCB is required to use any funds for a purpose other than the original intent. Lock box funds will total approximately $43M in FY17 and $25 million from FY16 operating budget savings.

Fare Levels: Board votes to reduce existing cash fare for local bus riders, while approving modest increases or no increase for other services.

  • Bus ticket/cash fare at $2.00 (down from existing $2.10) and CharlieCard fare at $1.70
  • Bus Pass at $55
  • Student Pass at $30
  • Senior Pass at $30
  • Outer express bus pass and fares at existing prices
  • The RIDE at $3.15 ADA and $5.25 Premium

The remainder of fare and pass levels are those published as “Option 2”.

Student Pass: Pass now will be more widely available to all middle and high school students

The Board approved making the Student Pass 12 months instead of 10 months and providing access on the fare vending machines as a pilot for a year.

In addition, schools that purchase more than 1000 passes a month from the MBTA will receive a bulk discount of $1 for a price of $29 a month.

Transfer Policy: Reduction of double fares for multiple stage trips

The Board voted to expand the MBTA transfer policy to allow free transfers from bus to rail to bus with the CharlieCard Rapid Transit fare.

Timing of Fare Increases: New Fares will remain in effect for 2.5 years

In a unanimous “sense of the board” resolution the Board voted that the next fare increase be effective until January 1, 2019, not July 1, 2018 making this a 2.5 year fare increase.

Additional Staff Reports

In addition, the Board required staff to provide:

  • Report on means testing within 30 days in order to allow for means-testing before fares are increased again.
  • Report on steps to address fare evasion and enforcement within 45 days
  • A study on commuter rail zones and ensure that the cash surcharge is not improperly charged

Fares Effective July 1, 2016

Fare Type Current Fare Effective July 1, 2016
Rapid Transit fare on a CharlieCard $2.10 $2.25
Rapid Transit fare on a CharlieTicket or Cash $2.65 $2.75
Local Bus fare on a CharlieCard $1.60 $1.70
Local Bus fare on a CharlieTicket or Cash $2.10 $2.00
Local Bus Monthly Pass $50 $55
LinkPass Monthly $75 $84.50
7-Day Link Pass $19 $21.25
Senior/TAP Monthly Pass $29 $30
Student Monthly Pass $26 $30

See below for a full list of fares effective July 1, 2016.
Final Fare Change Table


1 Pending an equity analysis to reflect changes made by the Board to the proposal today. All previous proposals have passed required equity reviews.



The MBTA Fare Proposal

The MBTA conducted a public comment period from January 8, 2016 to February 12, 2016 about a possible fare increase that would take effect on July 1, 2016.

The MBTA solicited public input on two possible fare options: Option 1 proposed a system-wide average fare increase of 6.71 percent, with a projected increase in revenue of $33.2 million; Option 2 proposed a system-wide average fare increase of 9.77%, with a projected increase in revenue of $49.4 million.

A complete set of proposed Fare Charts for each of the MBTA Fare Proposal Options is available here.

Public Input Summary

More than 8,000 people participated in the public input process. Most participants (nearly 5,000) used the online fare comparison tool and about 2,500 people submitted verbal or written comments.

The vast majority of respondents opposed any fare increase. The main topics raised by respondents included:

  1. Issues of MBTA service quality
  2. Issues of MBTA employee compensation and related concerns
  3. Issues of budget management at the MBTA
  4. Proposal of other revenue alternatives
  5. Issues of personal affordability
  6. Concerns about low-income / equity populations
  7. Concerns about fare evasion
  8. Concerns about ridership, economic development & environmental impact

To learn more, download the complete summary of public comment.

We value your input and thank you for your participation!

Complete transcripts of each public meeting are available by clicking through the meeting’s location links below:

Lynn January 25, 6 - 8 pm
Brockton January 26, 6 - 8 pm
Malden January 27, 6 - 8 pm
Concord January 28, 6 - 8 pm
Boston February 1, 10 am - 12 pm
Worcester February 1, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Boston (public hearing) February 2, 5 - 7 pm
Newton February 4, 6 - 8 pm
Chelsea February 9, 6 - 8 pm
Roxbury February 10, 6 - 8 pm
Weymouth February 11, 6 - 8 pm


Additional Information

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the MBTA Fare Proposal.
Click here for a full analysis including equity impacts of Option 1.
Click here for a full analysis including equity impacts of Option 2.
Click here for the MBTA Fare Policy.
Click here for the MBTA Fare Proposal Overview 
Click here for the MBTA Fare Proposal Overview Accessible Version

To learn about two other important issues undergoing public review, click the links below:
Commuter Rail Schedule Changes
Late-Night Service

MBTA Leadership


Class Action Settlement

To get information on the proposed settlement of a class action against the MBTA, click here.


Fare Change Information 

Get the latest information on the MBTA fare changes here.


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