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Commuter rail resuming $10 weekend fares in Boston region

Popular program will run for another six months across nearly all zones and lines

Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is resuming its $10 weekend fare program starting January 5.

The weekend fare will be available for six months from the first train on Saturdays to the last trains on Sundays, and the discount will apply across nearly all zones and all commuter rail lines, per an announcement from the MBTA and its commuter rail operating partner Keolis.

The MBTA originally piloted the program from June to December 2018, but had to stop it abruptly because of federal rules that require transit agencies to study whether such fare changes that last longer than six months are equitable. Federal regulators are now allowing the MBTA another six months before completing the required analysis.

“Resuming this pilot allows our customers to continue taking advantage of Commuter Rail as a travel option on weekends, while we study the potential for making this program permanent,” new MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement.

The $10 fare program—which can mean several dollars, if not dozens of dollars, off some roundtrips—proved popular in its first go-round last year, according to the MBTA. Some 180,000 tickets were sold—or 23 percent of weekend sales for the six-month period. The sales also spurred a 4.6 percent increase in weekend revenues for commuter rail compared with the same period in 2017.

Passengers can access the $10 fare from the MBTA’s mTicket app, onboard, and at ticket windows at North, South, and Back Bay stations. The fare is for riders 12 and older. Adults buying the $10 fare can travel with two children under 12 at no extra cost.

The special fare does not apply to the CapeFlyer trains to Cape Cod nor to special event trains such as those to Gillette Stadium.