Article Highlights

Key Takeaway:

Boston’s MBTA has negotiated its 2.0 fare-system contract three times and appears to finally be getting the project rolling. What had gone wrong? The original contract structure and complex funding mechanism may be among the reasons.

Key Data:

Chart: Three iterations of a fare contract–budgets and full rollout dates

Presentation: MBTA board meeting, May 2024

Presentation: MBTA board meeting, April 2020

Organizations Mentioned:

• MBTA (Boston)
• MTA (New York)
• CTA (Chicago)
• Cubic
• Conduent
• Scheidt & Bachmann

When Phil Eng arrived in Boston to take over as general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in April 2023, he assumed control of a transit system beset with crumbling infrastructure, labor shortages, budget shortfalls and safety problems.

He also inherited a fare-system project that had seen years of delays and a budget that had ballooned to nearly a billion dollars.

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