In 2015, A Better City completed research on a unified payment system for the MBTA in order to help guide their migration to a fully-automated fare collection process across all MBTA transit modes (bus, subway and commuter rail.) With a fully automated and unified system, the MBTA can potentially include other transit options such as RTAs (Regional Transportation Authority), bike share and more.
Excitingly, the MBTA is now in the process of rolling out this new fare program titled Automated Fare Collection 2.0 (AFC 2.0.) This new system will allow the agency to better integrate payment on commuter rail and all of the other modes riders may utilize to make their commute (bus, subway, ferry). The agency expects to have the technology fully implemented in 2021. At that time, they are looking to adjust fare structures, taking advantage of this technology's more dynamic pricing capabilities.
With AFC 2.0, you'll be able to tap and board at any door with a fare card, smartphone, or contactless credit card. Reload using cash or credit card at vending machines at all stations and some bus stops, or go online to manage your account 24 hours a day.
It is early days in the implementation process and A Better City is happy to represent our membership on the implementation policy working groups and advisory committees. Initial consumer-facing rollout will begin in May 2020 with system-wide implementation expected by May 2021. Please let us know if you have any question or would like more information on this project.
By: Kathryn Carlson