MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

AUgust 5, 2021


Proposed Motion

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) votes to approve this work program.

Project Identification

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Classification

Agency and Other Client Transportation Planning Studies and Technical Analyses

Project Number 14376


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Client Supervisor: Robert Guptill

Project Supervisors

Principal: Paul Christner
Manager: Bradley Putnam

Funding Source

Future MBTA Contract

Schedule and Budget

Schedule: 48 months from notice to proceed

Budget: $31,342

Schedule and budget details are shown in Exhibits 1 and 2, respectively.

This budget was developed using a billing overhead rate of 109.09 percent as approved by the Boston Region MPO for state fiscal year (SFY) 2022. Beginning with July 1, 2022, and each July 1 thereafter, the overhead rate will be adjusted to reflect the SFY rate approved by the MPO.

Relationship to MPO Work

This studyis supported in full with non-MPO funding. Committing MPO staff to this project will not impinge on the quality or timeliness of MPO-funded work.


In 2003, the MBTA Board of Directors approved a systemwide fare increase to prevent reductions in transit service levels and to continue to fund projects included in the MBTA’s Capital Investment Program. However, in response to concerns raised by community activists regarding service reliability, customer communications, and the existing fare structure, among other issues, the board agreed to mitigate the fare increase through a number of measures, one of which was the creation of the Rider Oversight Committee (ROC). The ROC is made up of members of the public, and MBTA staff serve as a resource for the ROC members.

The ROC has considerable latitude when choosing the issues it wants to address. In recent years, the ROC has become interested in exploring the revival of late-night MBTA service, investigating the long-term health of the MBTA’s finances, ensuring that the MBTA successfully communicates with the public, and several other topics.

The Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) supports the MBTA by providing ongoing technical assistance to the ROC and its subcommittees. Over the past several years, the assistance provided by CTPS has included analyzing the revenue and ridership impacts of potential fare and service changes; providing ridership statistics of the MBTA’s transit services; providing insights into the MBTA’s planning processes; conducting data analyses; and attending committee meetings where staff respond directly to ROC members’ questions.


CTPS is expected to continue to support the MBTA by serving as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the ROC. As such, CTPS will participate in the ROC’s discussions, respond to technical questions posed by other members, and perform technical analyses that will assist the committee in developing recommendations and supporting its objectives.

Work Description

Since the support that CTPS provides to the ROC will be ongoing and new issues will likely be brought before the committee each month, many of the tasks described in this work program will be performed concurrently.

Task 1  Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee

The ROC holds meetings of its full membership on a monthly basis. The ROC’s two standing committees also hold monthly meetings, and there are meetings of ad hoc committees. CTPS will provide staff support for each of the monthly meetings and will also participate in standing and ad hoc committee meetings as necessary. During the course of these meetings, CTPS staff will respond to any technical questions that arise, especially those pertaining to ridership statistics, the current fare structure, adherence to the MBTA’s Service Delivery Policy standards, and the MBTA’s and the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s capital planning processes. CTPS will also provide support to the Finance and Capital Standing Subcommittee for discussions about potential fare increases.

Task 2  Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee

Depending on the agenda of each ROC meeting, CTPS staff may be called on to assemble summaries of pertinent MBTA user data or provide overviews of the MBTA’s planning processes. In other cases, the ROC may be interested in exploring peer transit agencies’ programs that have been instituted to promote a greater transit mode share for work, shopping, and other trips. Such requests will likely be made by one of the co-chairs of the ROC, a standing committee chair, or MBTA staff members who are scheduled to make presentations at the meetings. CTPS staff will work with appropriate MBTA staff to prepare these materials for ROC meetings, so as to facilitate discussions of planned agenda items.

In addition, during the course of each meeting, ROC members may determine that some technical analysis is necessary to inform their decision-making and assist ROC members in arriving at recommendations on service- or capital-related issues. For example, when developing recommendations for ways to increase transit ridership by area residents who currently make trips between their homes and workplaces in their automobiles, the ROC may request a technical review of mode share, by community, of commuters to central business districts in Boston and Cambridge. Similarly, when reviewing service quality standards and developing recommendations to improve the levels of service, the ROC may request summaries of passenger loads on selected bus, rail, or ferry routes, either in the aggregate or for selected periods of the day. CTPS staff will coordinate with appropriate MBTA staff members to complete these analyses and provide the necessary written, graphical, and oral summaries and interpretations of the analyses in advance of and at ROC meetings.

Products of Task 2


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116

By Telephone:
857.702.3702 (voice)

For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:

  • Relay Using TTY or Hearing Carry-over: 800.439.2370
  • Relay Using Voice Carry-over: 866.887.6619
  • Relay Using Text to Speech: 866.645.9870

For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit

Exhibit 1
MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee
From Quarter 1, Month 1 to Quarter 16, Month 3.
Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee
From Quarter 1, Month 1 to Quarter 16, Month 3.


Exhibit 2
MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

Direct Salary and Overhead


Person-Weeks Direct
P-5 Total
Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee
6.2 6.2 $10,933 $11,927 $22,861
Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee
2.3 2.3 $4,056 $4,425 $8,481
8.5 8.5 $14,989 $16,352 $31,342

Other Direct Costs



Future MBTA Contract