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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO COMMUTER RAIL FARE RATES.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for a study of the methods used to set commuter rail fare rates, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation shall complete a comprehensive review and study of the current methods utilized to set fare rates on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail. The study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of: (i) the fairness and equity of the current distance based fare system that utilizes fare zones; (ii) pricing based on track distance from the terminal station; (iii) the impacts of commuter rail fare price on passengers’ transportation choices, considering frequency of service, travel time and parking costs, between commuter rail, motor vehicle transportation, public bus and subway service; (iv) the potential for lower interzone fares to encourage ridership outside core central stations; (v) the potential for discounted fares for riders in gateway cities or similarly situated municipalities; and (vi) the potential for utilizing a variable pricing system based on the time of day; and (vii) the impact on any of these changes on fare revenue.

To complete the study, the department shall utilize, to the extent possible, updated passenger counts at all commuter rail stations for the most recent calendar year, including data collected using an automated passenger count system from all commuter rail cars. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall use the outcome of the study and the data collection to inform fare policy decisions. The department shall submit a written report of its findings, including recommendations, with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the senate and house committees on ways and means and the joint committee on transportation not later than March 15, 2020.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2018.

Approved, August 9, 2018.