MBTA planning to drop fares on Friday as a goodwill gesture

MBTA riders will be able to travel free without hopping a turn style for one day.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is offering free fares. It's a goodwill gesture for riders who struggled with service delays and shutdowns during the winter's unprecedented snowfalls.

The free fares apply to all modes of transportation including trolleys, buses and commuter rail trains. The T has also called for a 15 percent discount on monthly MBTA passes purchased for the month of May. The total cost to the agency was estimated at $5 million in lost revenue.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is proposing major changes to Boston's public transit system after pounding snowstorms this winter slowed the nation's oldest subway system to a crawl, frustrating hundreds of thousands of riders.

Baker filed a bill Wednesday that would create a new Fiscal Management and Control Board to oversee operations and finances of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority through 2018.

The board would consist of five members — three appointed by Baker, a Republican, and one each referred by the senate president and speaker of the house, who are both Democrats.

The chairman and members of the board of directors of the Massachusetts transportation department, which currently oversees the MBTA, have agreed to step down.

The bill would also introduce reporting and audit requirements and lift MBTA procurement restrictions.

A push to exempt the MBTA from the state's anti-privatization law is meeting with skepticism from top Senate lawmakers who say they aren't convinced the law has contributed to the transit system's troubles.

Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg said Thursday the law has become a political lightning rod, but he said any decision to exempt the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from the law should be driven by data, not ideology.

The House Ways and Means Committee included a 5-year reprieve for the MBTA from the so-called Pacheco Law in its proposed state budget. A special MBTA review panel named by Gov. Charlie Baker has also called for relief from the law.

Rosenberg also said he hasn't seen any reports showing how often the T has tried to use the so-called Pacheco Law and failed.