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Officials: T loses up to $42 million a year from fare evasion

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- 03/28/2012 -- The MBTA announced a fare increase and cuts that it will be making to Boston's public transportation system. Brian Feulner for the Boston Globe Brian Feulner for The Boston Globe

BOSTON (AP) — Fare evaders are costing the Boston-area transit system up to $42 million a year, and officials are trying to figure out what to do about it.

A two-day survey in March by Keolis, which operates commuter rail for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, found between 15 and 20 percent of customers weren’t paying the correct fare.

Keolis officials told the MBTA control board Monday that fare evasion could cost the system $35 million this year. The company suggests building what it calls a ‘‘ring of steel,’’ or automatic ticket gates, around three major Boston train stations.

The T estimates the Green Line loses up to $4.5 million per year when passengers board above-ground trains through rear doors at rush hour. Fare evasion on buses costs up to $2.5 million annually.

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