An end to “honor” payments at commuter rail lot

Above: Parking at the Southborough rail stop will no longer require a constant supply of ones. Just choose a pre-payment method if you don’t want to pay an extra 50¢ per day. (Photo by Beth Melo)

The MBTA announced this month that it is ending use of the “archaic” honor box payment system for parking. The system, still available until July 6th, required folding four dollar bills and stuffing them into the numbered slot assigned to your parking spot.

The “much-maligned” payment method was original to when the rail stop was first built. For many years, it was the only method by which commuters could pay to park.

Back in 2010, the MBTA began offering a pay-by-phone method, which eventually expanded to include internet and mobile apps for payment. Starting in 2011, commuters were able to purchase monthly parking permits at a discount of about $10/month.

Now the transit authority is looking to scrap the outdated cash boxes.

Beginning the first Monday in July, commuters using the Southborough rail stop will have three options for parking payments:

  • Monthly permit – $70 per month – click here for more info (As of August, permits will be good for any lot in the MBTA system with the same or lower parking fee)
  • PayByPhone – $4 per day – use the mobile app or call 866-234-7275
  • Monthly invoice – $4.50 per day

How are you invoiced? Apparently the MBTA will be accessing registry information on the license plates of anyone who parks in the lot.

On a monthly basis, parkers who didn’t pre-pay will receive an invoice in the mail. (Assuming the driver is the registered owner.) Anyone who ignores the invoices for more than 30 days will be fined.

For more details, read the MBTA’s press release here.

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8 years ago

Accessing the registry info sounds like the stuff of George Orwell, but makes me wonder why, if they have this technology and are legally allowed to share the database information, why we need transponders on the pike…

While sad to see a legacy go, it does seem more efficient.

Anyone know why there are reports of the owners of Fitzy’s giving drivers a hard time for pickups at night? Simply because they want their own pay lot? Seems to me they’re doing the community a service and if they want more business, they should consider putting soda/water/ice-cream on sale outside during the summer months. They clearly have the manpower to be outside – why not build bridges instead of burn them?

8 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

I know I’ve been there a few times to pick something up when the train is letting out, and it’s a huge pain to get in and out, especially since many of the people there think since they are still in their car, they don’t have to park properly. Makes the visit much more frustrating, especially knowing that at the time out of the 30 cars sitting around I’m the only actual customer of the store.

Think about it another way… How would you feel if multiple times a day your driveway at home was full of a bunch of strangers in their cars, who accused you of being a jerk if you ever asked them to leave.

8 years ago
Reply to  Southville

Park properly? In a mostly unpaved lot? Why not make lot improvements and pave it?

You’re the only paying customer with 30 cars in the lot? Therein lies the rub.

I’ll stand by my original statement. Rather than be a “jerk” (and BTW, I don’t park there, but heard my son’s girlfriend got a rather rude mouthful – she’s one of the sweetest – and shy – people I know! Thankfully, my son rarely uses that station – he was coming home for the weekend) how about embracing the fact that you’re next to the station and try to turn those 30 cars into business opportunities?

People don’t go to FItzy’s because it’s dirty and they treat people like trash. I went in there once and felt like I needed a shower after leaving.

8 years ago

“On a monthly basis, parkers who didn’t pre-pay will receive an invoice in the mail. (Assuming the driver is the registered owner.) Anyone who ignores the invoices for more than 30 days will be fined.”

I assume this is the method for people who do not own cell phones? Does this paper-based billing method impose a processing fee in addition to the $4 parking fee? If so, this is highly unfair. Thorough reporting needs to seek the answers.

Though it may be difficult to fathom, not everyone owns a cell phone or smart phone.

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