CharlieCards Accepted for the First Time on Winthrop Bus Routes 712 and 713 Beginning March 12
“This has been a long time coming,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramírez. “We’re excited to bring the CharlieCard to our valued Winthrop customers, making paying their fares easier and more convenient.”
“With this important step, Winthrop now benefits from a completely revamped and modernized bus system, fully integrated into the MBTA for the first time,” said Chairman of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Joseph Aiello. “The hard work of the Winthrop Transportation Committee and the T staff over the past few years has produced these terrific gains.”
“I was excited to work with MassDOT on the installation of electronic fare boxes on Winthrop buses,” said Senator Joseph Boncore. “These upgrades will ensure Winthrop commuters have access to the most updated transportation technology and provide riders with a seamless transition from bus to rail.”
“Given the unique geography of Winthrop, this bus service is a lifeline for its residents,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “I’m pleased that the service will be enhanced and made more convenient through these updates.”
Bus Routes 712 and 713 have been operated by private contractor Paul Revere Transportation’s own fleet of private buses since 1991. Even when CharlieCards were first introduced to the MBTA system in 2006, Paul Revere’s private bus fleet was not capable of including standard MBTA fareboxes. This caused Winthrop customers using Routes 712 and 713 to only be able to use fares with a valid zone/date printed directly on the card/ticket so that bus operators could visually inspect the fare even after the introduction of the MBTA CharlieCard.
Mirroring national best-practice models, the MBTA provided Paul Revere with six brand new New Flyer hybrid buses to operate Routes 712 and 713 in June 2017. With Service Level Agreements governing performance and maintenance, Paul Revere operates and maintains these new buses under a four-year, fixed-price operating contract (with up to two option years) that caps costs at 2-percent annual growth over the contract period. This provides the MBTA with cost stability and a model that allows the MBTA to own the buses while Paul Revere maintains them.
However, the 6 brand new MBTA buses introduced to Routes 712 and 713 in Winthrop in June 2017 continued to lack the capability of accepting tap-only CharlieCard fares. Fitted with older-style, cash-only fareboxes, Winthrop customers continued to be forced to use only fares with a valid zone/date printed directly on the card/ticket, causing confusion and frustration for both customers and bus operators.
Through the diligent efforts of various MBTA departments, these new buses have now been updated with each bus including a retrofitted, modern farebox that accepts fares and passes stored on a CharlieCard beginning March 12 while also continuing to accept cash and CharlieTickets.
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