The MBTA on July 1 will begin offering a five-day Flex Pass on the Commuter Rail as part of a pilot program to address changing travel patterns amid the state’s gradual reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said Tuesday.
In a statement, the T said the pass will be available on the mTicket app. It’s good for any five days of travel within a 30-day period; riders don’t have to use the pass on consecutive days.
The pass, the statement said, is being offered with “the understanding that travel patterns are changing,” as many employers consider options including staggered work schedules and telework policies.
The pass aims to “serve Commuter Rail riders whose commutes may change as they return to using the system during the Commonwealth’s reopening phases,” the T said.
The pilot program will run from July 1 through September 30, and the Flex Pass is only available on the mTicket app, officials said. The Flex Pass is available for all zones and inter-zones, the T said, and it’s 10-percent cheaper than buying five round-trip tickets on separate days.
"We understand our Commuter Rail riders need another fare option as travel patterns adjust and many previous daily commuters see their post-pandemic work schedules changing,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak in the statement. "Using mTicket, Commuter Rail customers can purchase a Flex Pass and use their five one-day passes any day within a thirty-day period, giving riders the flexibility to travel when they need to, using an option that’s cheaper than the traditional roundtrip ticket.”
Also as part of the pilot, the T said, Youth Pass holders starting July 1 will be able to purchase half-price fares for all Commuter Rail zones at ticket windows, onboard and via the mTicket app. The app wasn’t previously available to Youth Pass holders, officials said.
The T said the Youth Pass program is a partnership between the MBTA and participating cities and towns that offers low-income young adults roughly 50 percent reduced one-way fares or $30 monthly Link passes. The program was previously only available for young travelers using the bus and subway.
Also Tuesday, the T announced a one-time extension of its Commuter Rail ticket expiration policy, since many riders couldn’t use their tickets and passes while non-essential businesses were shuttered.
So on June 22, the T said, Commuter Rail customers will be permitted to use expired tickets for the next 90 days, provided they were valid on March 10.
“For expired mTickets, customers do not need to take any action – the MBTA will automatically push new mTickets to customers’ apps on June 22 for use over the next ninety days," the T said. "If customers do not use these tickets before they expire, the MBTA will push re-expired tickets at the end of the state of emergency. Customers also should note that the MBTA is unable to re-issue tickets earlier than June 22.”