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MBTA Fare Collection, Front Door Service to Resume Monday

While new safety measures will be in place on buses and trains, some critics say they aren't enough

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The MBTA is set to resume regular fare collection this week with new measures aimed at minimizing contact between drivers and riders.

Buses and trolleys will once again board passengers from the front doors, at which new plexiglass barriers have been installed to separate boarding riders from MBTA drivers. At the height of the pandemic, riders could only board from the rear.

“We’re glad to be able to return to the normal boarding process,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said. “It is important that customers and employees remain vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Some critics say these measures don't go far enough, however. Stacy Thompson, the executive director of “LivableStreets” Alliance ⁠— a transportation advocacy group in Metro Boston ⁠— says she is calling for all-door boarding to minimize traffic at a particular entrance.

“I was on the bus just this past Friday,” Thompson said. “People cue up, they crowd to get to that door, especially if they’re concerned that the bus will leave without them.”

Social distancing is hard to do on a bus full of people.

The MBTA says all-door boarding is part of its long-term plan to improve its fare collection system.

Customers riding buses, trolleys and trains must still wear face coverings on-board, and bus drivers may still bypass stops if they have reached capacity. Thirty percent of buses will be reserved for areas with greater demand.

Buses, trains and trolleys will also undergo disinfecting every night, the MBTA says.

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