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Fare Evasion Citation Policies

Citation Appeal Policies

Appeal and Adjudication Timelines

Per MBTA Regulations, all appeals must be filed by individuals within 60 days of being issued a citation. The MBTA will issue a decision within 60 days of receiving a written appeal or conducting a hearing. It is the policy of the MBTA that, to the extent practicable, appeal adjudication shall be conducted expeditiously and will avoid unnecessary delay.


All written notices regarding citations, including past due notices, hearing dates, and appeal decisions shall be provided to individuals to whom a citation has been issued by mail to the home address provided to the Authority when the individual received the citation. Individuals may also receive copies of these notices by electronic means if a method of delivery is provided to the Authority. The Authority will make a good faith effort to contact individuals in the case of returned undeliverable notices, however, the Authority will not be held responsible for the expiration of appeal deadlines if individuals cannot be reached at the address provided.

Language Access

All written notices and forms are available upon request in Spanish, Portuguese and simplified Chinese. Request for translation into additional languages should be made by calling 1-617-222-3200.

The MBTA shall make all reasonable efforts to provide translation at hearings if a request is made in advance. If a request is not made within 7 business days of a scheduled hearing, the MBTA may require rescheduling to a date when the accommodation may be made available.

Reasonable Accommodations

The MBTA will provide reasonable accommodations free of charge, upon request, for individuals who may require assistance during the appeal process. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, interpreters in American Sign Language (ASL); material in alternate formats such as braille or large print; and/or assistance using online tools. To request an accommodation, please call 1-617-222-3200/TTY: 617-222-5146.

When a reasonable accommodation is required in order to file an appeal or request a hearing, the accommodation request should be made as early as possible prior to the appeal deadline. If the MBTA is unable to fulfill a reasonable accommodation request by the appeal deadline, the deadline shall be extended until the accommodation may be fulfilled.

When a reasonable accommodation is required in order to participate in a hearing, the accommodation request should be made as early as possible prior to the scheduled hearing date. If the accommodation request is not made at least 7 business days prior to a scheduled hearing, the MBTA may require that the hearing be rescheduled to a date when the accommodation may be made available.

Representation on Behalf of Cited Individuals

An individual may appear or appeal on his/her own behalf, or be represented by a duly authorized person, including, but not limited to a parent of a minor between 12-18 years of age. Express consent must be provided by the individual who was cited in order to be represented, and in the case of hearings, the individual who was cited must be present in addition to their representative.

Hearing Participation

Individuals participating in a virtual hearing shall not be required to appear on camera.

Hearing Conduct

Any individual who is abusive toward MBTA staff or representatives during a hearing, including use of profanity, threats and vulgarity may have their hearing terminated at the discretion of the hearing officer. The hearing officer will rule on the appeal request with the information provided prior to the termination of the hearing.


The MBTA reserves the right to record all hearings. Individuals shall be notified at the start of a hearing if it will be recorded.


Any appeal which contains a complaint regarding the conduct of an MBTA employee shall be investigated by the appropriate department and a response provided to the customer according to the MBTA’s policies on customer complaints.

Death of Individuals with Outstanding Citations

Upon receipt of proof that an individual to whom a citation has been issued is deceased, the MBTA shall vacate the citation and any outstanding fines.

Maintenance of Files

The MBTA shall maintain all files and documentation related to citation appeals in accordance with applicable retention policies.

Any requests for records related to citations or appeals, including subpoenas and public records requests pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 66, § 10 must be referred immediately to the Office of the General Counsel.

Requests for Evidence

Requests for video evidence should be made directly to MassDOT Security and Emergency Management Department. Copies of MBTA Transit Police Reports should be made directly to the MBTA Transit Police.

Adjudication Policies

Presumption of Honesty

The MBTA shall presume that the individual appealing their citation is honest in the information they provide with their appeal, unless specific facts are available to the MBTA which contradict the individual’s claims.

Failure to Appear

Failure to appear at the date, time, and place specified on the hearing notice without rescheduling will result in the denial of the appeal.

Failure to Provide Appeal Reason

Any appeal (written or a hearing) in which an individual fails to provide any relevant reasoning or explanation for why they are pursuing an appeal, will result in denial.

Financial Hardship

The MBTA shall grant or partially grant appeals based on inability to pay the fine associated with the citation should an individual state that payment of the fine will be a financial hardship. A person requesting a waiver, or partial waiver, of fare evasion fines due to financial hardship shall be required to state that paying the fines will pose a financial hardship to the individual or the individual’s family. As grounds for obtaining a financial hardship waiver, a person must attest to meeting one or more of the following criteria. Documentary proof is not required.

  1. Attestation that the individual receives public assistance under one of the following programs:
    • Massachusetts Transitional Aid to Families With Dependent Children
    • Massachusetts Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled & Children
    • Federal Supplemental Security Income
    • Massachusetts MassHealth (formerly Medicaid)
    • Massachusetts Veterans Benefits
  2. Attestation that the individual’s income, after taxes, does not exceed 125% of the current Federal Poverty Line. See Poverty Threshold Guidelines for a chart of income by family size.
  3. Attestation that the individual was appointed counsel or otherwise had their financial status verified after filing and affidavit of indigency in court
  4. Attestation that the individual cannot pay the outstanding fare evasion fines without depriving themselves or those who are dependent on them of the necessities of life, including food, shelter and clothing.