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Feasibility of Means-Tested Fares

customers on the orange line platform at ruggles T stop

The MBTA is studying the feasibility of a Means-Tested Fares (MTF) program. Through this process, we are investigating how much a program like this would cost (for the MBTA and any potential partners), how to enroll eligible riders, and the best mechanism for administering the program. 

We’ve already begun our research phase, to learn about different models for eligibility (for example, tying program participation to state/federal benefit programs like SNAP), and to determine what systems might be possible with our current technology infrastructure. However, we need help determining how to best enroll riders and partnership models to implement these processes.

That’s where you come in—we’re launching a Means-Tested Fares Challenge to invite ideas from local nonprofits and organizations to determine innovative ways to implement and administer a low-income fare.

Proposal Requirements

If your organization has experience and capability in implementing a similar program, please send us your solutions after reviewing our challenge document. Proposed solutions should include these elements:

  1. Client intake channels
  2. Income verification and eligibility determination
  3. Partner resources
  4. Enrollment and fulfillment mechanism
  5. Partner program management technology
  6. Fiscal implications
  7. Timeline and project schedule
  8. Monitoring and research
  9. Benefits and limitations of the service model

Suggestions beyond these elements that would enhance implementation are welcome.

We are seeking a partner who will help carry the program through planning, pilot phases, and full scale implementation.

Where and When to Submit Proposals

Send all questions, comments, and submissions to Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis through July 30, 2020.

More Information

In June, we hosted two informational webinars to answer questions and discuss challenges.

Past Events


For additional guidance, please refer to the presentations on MTF made to the Fiscal and Management Control Board: