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There’s another reason ridership lags on the Fairmount Line

The story about low ridership on the Fairmount Line misses an issue that illuminates the inability of MBTA authorities to think like a business (“Rapid ride, but slow acceptance,” Page A1, May 17).

A few years ago, the parking charge at Readville station was $2 per day, and the lot was often close to full. Then the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority decided that it could get more revenue by doubling the parking fee at all commuter lots.

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That might not be much of an issue at the Franklin station, which is many miles outside of the city limits. Those folks had little choice but to pay up. But at Readville, a mere 6 miles from downtown Boston, most folks apparently decided that, at $80 a month to park, on top of the $12-a-day round-trip fare, they would take their chances on driving in and finding a cheap or free parking spot. Now the parking lot might have a dozen cars a day.

The MBTA not only loses the parking revenue, but also the fare revenue. The solution would be clear to any business person interested in maximizing revenue: Make the parking free, fill up the lot, and reap the sales benefits of higher ridership.

Donald McCaffrey


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