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The MBTA Is Welcoming Commuters Back

Posted on August 26, 2021

5-Day Flex Pass extended six months to March 15, 2022, to encourage riders back to taking the T.

Today, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak joined MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green, A Better City President and CEO Richard Dimino, and others at Back Bay Station for an event highlighting MBTA services and keeping people safe as commuters return to the office and students return to school. With more people returning to transit after Labor Day, the MBTA is encouraging the use of public transportation while reminding riders that face coverings are required.

With workers and students returning to the Boston area and traffic already at near pre-pandemic levels, the T announced today that it is extending its popular 5-day Flex Pass pilot program for Commuter Rail riders to March 15, 2022. 

“We’re pleased to be able to extend this fare pilot an additional six months in order to encourage riders back to the system in a way that best works for them,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Our Commuter Rail riders continue to need more flexible ways of riding the system due to the impacts of the pandemic and this includes how they’re able to pay their fare. Commuter Rail customers can purchase a Flex Pass on mTicket and use their five one-day passes any day within a 30-day period, giving them the flexibility to travel when needed at a cost lower than the traditional round-trip ticket.”

The T has been adding back service and increasing frequency across the transit system to meet growing demand. The T is adapting to new post-pandemic travel patterns in order for riders to have more transit options for their new or hybrid schedules. The MBTA generates significant benefits to Metropolitan Boston residents and businesses through time savings, travel cost savings, and reduced vehicular emissions.  

“Keolis teams continue to work in partnership with the MBTA to keep travel by rail a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for our passengers,” said Keolis Boston Acting CEO John Killeen. “Frequent, convenient, and more reliable than ever, rail travel is a competitive alternative to driving. Whether they’re traveling for work, errands, or leisure, passengers can avoid the stress of traffic and parking and feel good about reducing their carbon footprint.”

Per federal requirements, the MBTA also reminds riders that face coverings are required while on any MBTA vehicle and on MBTA property. With the safety of riders and employees of paramount importance, the MBTA will have masks available at more than a dozen key locations after Labor Day. 

Working in partnership with A Better City, the T produced toolkits for new riders and people who have been away from public transportation during the pandemic. One toolkit is tailored for employers and employees and includes a Monthly Pass Break-Even Calculator. The second toolkit is for college and university students who may be unfamiliar with the T.  

“We hope this calculator and the Flex Pass entice people to choose public transit over other modes like driving, which has broader negative implications like increasing congestion on our roads and pollution in our communities,” said A Better City President and CEO Richard Dimino. “Even with reduced days in the office, it is important to demonstrate the value proposition of public transit through hard numbers. As we seek to build back better, the pre-tax benefits and employer subsidies offered through the Perq program can make the ‘break-even’ number of transit trips to recover the cost of a monthly T pass less than one might think. ABC continues to work in partnership with stakeholders to further opportunities that make the T more affordable and fare equitable as they look to induce more riders into the system.”

More Information about The 5-Day Flex Pass Extension

Though previously scheduled to end on September 15, 2021, the MBTA announced today that the 5-Day Flex Pass is now available through March 15, 2022, on mTicket. The 5-Day Flex Pass is a bundled fare good for any five days of travel within a 30-day period. With the understanding that travel patterns continue to change and many employers are deploying new ways of working like staggered schedules and telework policies, the 5-day Flex Pass is a pilot focused on serving Commuter Rail riders whose commutes are changing during the pandemic. This fare product pilot also comes as part of the MBTA’s Fare Transformation program, which aims to make paying for transit easier and more convenient.

The 5-day Flex Pass is available within the mTicket app only. Once activated within mTicket, the Flex Pass provides five 24-hour passes that can be used at any time in a 30-day period. Available for all zones and interzones, the price of a 5-day Flex Pass is a 10% discount when compared to five round-trip tickets. 

More Information about Face Covering Requirements on the T

The MBTA reminds customers that face coverings are required while onboard vehicles, in stations and facilities, on platforms and bus stops, and anywhere within the MBTA system for all riders, including those who have been fully vaccinated. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to update its guidance regarding face coverings for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals. This guidance notes that fully vaccinated individuals are still required to wear a mask on buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. MBTA riders are reminded that federal regulations also continue to require face coverings while riding MBTA vehicles and within the MBTA system, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. This includes outdoor bus stops and all outdoor platforms for the Commuter Rail, subway, and trolley systems. 

Those who refuse to comply with the MBTA’s face covering requirement may be denied boarding of or be removed from MBTA vehicles and the system. 

There continue to be exemptions to the face covering requirement for individuals with certain medical conditions and those who are so exempt do not need to produce documentation of their condition.

More Information about A Better City’s New Rider Toolkits

The employer toolkit provides information on what the T is doing to make transit safer and reminds riders to wear a face covering on T vehicles, stations, platforms, and bus stops. The toolkit also includes an interactive map providing information on vaccination rates in the T’s service area and the Monthly Pass Break-Even Calculator, both designed by A Better City. The calculator determines how many commuter rail trips a rider would take in a month to make purchasing a monthly pass cost-effective. Together, the calculator, Flex Pass, and new schedules offer T riders options to plan their new commutes.

The college student toolkit is similar to the employer toolkit, providing Ride Safer tips, requirements to wear a face covering on all MBTA vehicles and stations, and links to the T’s Trip Planner tool and a Student Guide for taking the T.

A Better City represents a multi-sector group of nearly 130 business leaders united around a common goal: to enhance the Greater Boston region’s economic health, competitiveness, equitable growth, sustainability, and quality of life for all communities. By amplifying the voice of the business community through collaboration and consensus-building, A Better City develops solutions and influences policy in three critical areas: 1. transportation and infrastructure, 2. land use and development, and 3. energy and the environment. A Better City is committed to building an equitable and inclusive future for the region that benefits and uplifts residents, workers, and businesses in Greater Boston. 

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