May 21, 2012

MBTA Advice

Here are some practical tips on using the Commuter Rail to/From Framingham via Back Bay station.With the upcoming increase in MBTA fares, this might be timely:

Starting July 1st, Framingham commuters will be paying $3.50 more round trip or $42 more a month to travel to/from Boston. It will now cost $16 to travel to/from Boston. If you purchase a monthly commuter pass, each trip will cost $12.60 in a 31 day month. (Assuming 20 business days.) This means it doesn't make sense to get a monthly pass if you only plan to travel to Boston less than 15 times. So if you are making some future vacation plans and can work from home, you may be better off to check to see if it makes sense to have a monthly pass that month.

MonthNumber of Business DaysCost Per Day
July21$12.00
August23$10.90
September19$13.26
October23$10.90
November20$12.60
December20$12.60

Get your MBTA monthly pass at work. Talk to your HR department about getting your passes via pre-tax and save a lot of money. You'll get the pass well in advance of the start of the month and will save a lot of money. Make sure to consult your tax consultant about this if you expense commuter passes on your tax forms.

Everything is more expensive at the Back Bay Station. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but everything is expensive at the MBTA station. For example, coffee is 10% cheaper at the Stuart Street Dunkin Donuts than it is at the Dunkin Donuts a the Back Bay train station. The only good thing about the shops at the station is that they are open early/later than most shops in the area.

If you pay $4 a day to park at the MBTA parking lot, look for alternative in the Framingham area. There's plenty of businesses that are willing to lease a space for you. Don't just rely on the signs, look around and see what business might be open to having you park in their lot for the day. It doesn't hurt to ask, if you don't ask, the answer will always be no.

Consider taking a the train in a different Zone. If you know someone who lives near a train station in Natick, Wellesley or Newton you may be able to park in their driveway and save money by taking a different zone. Note: Depending on which train you take, you may end up standing for the duration of you trip.

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