The US Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) has approved a pilot programme for increased train frequency on the Fairmount Commuter rail line.

Developed with the City of Boston, the pilot programme will commence in May this year.

The programme will also permit passengers to pay the train fares using CharlieCards in stations inside Zone 1A.

The pilot programme will commence with the twice-yearly schedule change for the Commuter Rail.

The 12-month programme will add eight weekday trips to the existing timetable. Four of these will be inbound leaving Readville Station and four outbound leaving South Station on the Fairmount line.

MBTA projects that this service will increase the number of daily riders by around 400. It expects customers to shift to rail from the local bus.

City of Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh said: “Boston’s relationship with the MBTA is one of the most important we have, and I will always advocate for the best possible service. It has been a top priority for me to bring better service to the Fairmount line; this is an issue of transit equity.”

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MBTA will analyse and collect the ridership data from Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs), ridership counts, and passenger surveys.

It expects the programme to incur a cost of $1.2m annually, which includes transportation, mechanical, management, and marketing costs.

It will install new CharlieCard validators on all station platforms on the Fairmount Line in Zone 1A. This will occur as part of phase one of the Fare Transformation project of the MBTA pilot project.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak added: “I’m pleased that we are able to deliver on improvements to the Fairmount line that will result in meaningful improvements to service, including new technology that will allow for the use of CharlieCards for fare payment for the first time ever on Commuter Rail.”

Last month, the safety review panel of MBTA provided 34 recommendations with 61 corrective actions to increase the safety of travellers and staff.