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Keolis could install fare gates for commuter rail at three stations

Wendy Maeda/Globe staff/file 2013

By Globe Staff 

Fare scofflaws, consider yourself fairly warned.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail provider plans to install fare gates at North, South, and Back Bay stations next winter, a proposal designed to cut down on ticket evasion.

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Keolis Commuter Services would kick in an estimated $10 million for construction costs, as well as $7 million in yearly operating expenses, to cut down on fare evasion that costs the MBTA as much as $35 million a year. Riders have complained for years about commuters who get free rides because conductors fail to check tickets consistently.

The plan would also allow Keolis to collect a portion of MBTA fare revenue. The company currently receives none, giving it little incentive to boost ridership or collect fares, MBTA officials say.

Under a proposal presented Monday, Keolis would receive about $9 million in fares collected over a certain threshold, which has yet to be determined. The MBTA would receive the $1 million collected after that, and additional revenue would be divided evenly.

The proposal “evolves the contract and brings us closer together,” said David Scorey, Keolis’s general manager. “And it does give us the opportunity to share in the extra revenue that’s generated.”

That would let Keolis spend more on marketing, staffing the gates, and better equipment to check tickets on board.

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“We think this can increase ridership,” said Evan Rowe, the MBTA’s director of revenue.

In 2014, Keolis won an eight-year contract with a low bid that helped lead to millions in losses. Last year, the MBTA’s board approved paying the French rail giant millions more each year to add more coaches and improve maintenance.


Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com
Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.