The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's fare hike hits next month.
With it comes a new system for collecting fares on the commuter rail that, by definition, will hit Cape Ann riders harder than those boarding at other stations.
Under the new collection system, if riders buy their tickets at a ticket booth or machine before getting on the train, they'll pay $3 less than if they buy them on board.
But, for Gloucester and Rockport riders, said Rockport resident and regular commuter June Hayes, that's a problem. Neither those stations nor those in West Gloucester or Manchester have ticket booths or machines. So, unless commuters have a pass, she said, they'll pay the full price and have no chance to utilize the MBTA's advance ticket deal.
"I don't know how they can charge more money to buy something (in advance) at a location where you can't buy it," Hayes said.
Hayes, who works at Fidelity Investments in Boston and commutes in daily, said there aren't ticket machines or booths at any station on the Rockport line, except in Lynn and at Boston's North Station.
The change, she said, will hurt people who use the train regularly, without a pass, and tourists who wouldn't purchase a pass just to come to and from Gloucester for a weekend.
"For those who do not purchase in advance, online, or via mobile ticketing this fall, they will be charged the on-board fare," MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo confirmed Tuesday.
The MBTA will raise fares by 23 percent on July 1, and plans to implement a smart phone-based payment system in the fall that would allow riders to pay in advance. That program, said Pesaturo, allows customers to purchase the fares at a discounted rate.
According to an email from Pesaturo, the new fare structure will make it easier for people to get on and off trains. Conductors on board, he said, are spending too much time handling a growing number of cash transactions. Those transaction take time away from checking passes and closing doors, he said.
The MBTA will list both prices on schedules, said Pesaturo.
"Because we do not have ticket vending machines at every location, we have chosen to retain a cash option for our customers," Pesaturo said. "Some transit agencies do not allow any cash transactions on board, reducing their administrative costs."
But effectively placing a surcharge on cash transactions, said Hayes, hurts people on fixed incomes who travel into Boston, and don't pick up a pass. She said she's not against the tiered system, but Gloucester and Rockport riders will be hard-pressed to take advantage of it.
"There isn't (a machine) here and there probably won't be one," she said.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.