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Charlie and the MTA

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Danbury, Connecticut
posts: 5,555
reviews: 77
Charlie and the MTA

Okay, quick... What is the difference between a Charlie Card and a Charlie Ticket... and what does Stored Value mean??

If you don't know, you aren't alone... After all there aren't any explanations posted at the MBTA mass transit stations. Yet those are terms used for various subway pass concoctions.

Very, very confusing for visitors using the T. I was with a group of 12 and getting subway passes was one long dragged out experience. Especially after the hockey game, when one in our party didn't have quite enough on his ticket..or was that a card... and had to stand in a huge line while the rest of us were through the gates.

Yikes, what a recipe for disaster!

Also.... What the heck happened to cleanliness on the trolley cars???? They were disgusting and dirty, strewn with newspapers. It used to be that as we approached the last stop, like Cleveland Circle, drivers started cleaning the cars...now there is nothing but ambivalence...and debris.

Oh yes, and I miss the singing too. Every now and then you'd get a trolley conducting tenor that could entertain you the whole trip. Now it's all automated. And don't get me started on all the crappy construction underground...

Those were the days...

Destination Expert
for Boston
posts: 4,783
reviews: 30
11. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Hi Voyager,

Here is the answer to your question, from the MBTA website:

Can I still pay cash-on-board T vehicles?

Yes, but cash-on-board customers pay standard T fares plus a surcharge. (No surcharges apply when using a plastic CharlieCard or when storing a T-Pass on a paper CharlieTicket.) On-board fareboxes accept coins, old T tokens, $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills—all change greater than or equal to .50 cents will be provided as stored-value on a CharlieTicket for use toward fares at other fareboxes or in-station.

Can I buy a CharlieTicket on-board or do I need a ticket prior to boarding?

Customers can purchase CharlieTickets on board at fareboxes. To save time and keep boarding lines moving, purchase and store value on your ticket or card at in-station fare vending machines or at retail sales terminals or purchase a T-Pass for your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket—it's a savings over paying cash everyday.

If you plan on using the T again in the future, you can buy a Charlie Card from the T's website. You can get one loaded with only $5.00 on it. When you get to Boston, if you are near a T station, duck inside and use the fare machine to add more value if you want. OR, just pay the cash fare on the trolley.

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
posts: 11,959
reviews: 135
12. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Thanks, BeantownMan. Like Voy, I, too, wondered about that!

Danbury, Connecticut
posts: 5,555
reviews: 77
13. Re: Charlie and the MTA

That's good to know, thanks Beantownman. But although those policies make sense to some degree... (even though I object to some of them)... the policies are not spelled out where they need to be, that is, at every stop.

For new users or visitors the new system is tricky and extremely user-unfriendly.

Sorry Charlie.

Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Boston
posts: 16,446
reviews: 60
14. Re: Charlie and the MTA

I see more used Charlie tickets on the ground and on the "T'' than in the trash.

posts: 1,099
reviews: 31
15. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Hi All,

The bottom line in this argument is...the bottom line.

I've heard reports that each electronic kiosk in each and every T stop in the MBTA system costs $6,000. Not to mention the costs associated with maintenance and repair on the said kiosks. Not to mention the costs associated with a new electronic "star trek-ish" turnstiles. Not to mention the not-so eco-friendly paper tickets that do get recycled.

They replaced the human token dispenser to save money. Yet, where there was one person in the cage dispensing tokens there is now THREE MBTA employees explaining the new system. How does this make sense? I'm fed up. Bring back the token!

posts: 1,025
reviews: 3
16. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Beantownman-you have cleared up some of the mystery. We were there in the beginning of Jan, and I guess they had just rolled out the Charlie Card. Not knowing anything about it, I must say that there were plenty of people to help us out . Of course we didn't really know what we were doing, she just asked us where we were going and punched in all the info and out popped a card or ticket. But now I will get a card and have it at the ready. Thanks!

Destination Expert
for Boston
posts: 4,783
reviews: 30
17. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Hi Healy,

The new system makes sense in three ways:

First, the T has already seen a huge increase in revenue from fares, due to the huge reduction in fare evasion. Wheras before, the collector was stuck in the booth, and the turnstiles were easy to get around, people just walked through without paying fares all the time. Now, those turnstiles are more difficult to get around; they set off an alarm if someone tries to run one; AND, those three customer service agents who are standing around can now watch for evaders and have the T police write tickets on the spot for the offense (which is also a new thing).

Second, the T's counting room in Charlestown has been historically notorious for theft of money. Huge amounts of tokens and cash used to pour through it every day. Now, with Charlie, the cash flow has been substantially reduced, because many people pay iwth debit cards or credit cards at the machines, so the T gets the money right away, with no need to count or process it.

Third, believe it or not, it's MUCH more convenient for passengers, and once people here get over the "shock" of the change, they will see that it is. For example, I NEVER need to worry about getting a new monthly pass every month. My employer provides my pass, and with Charlie Cards, I keep the same card and it automatically renews each month. ALSO, if I lose my card in the middle of the month, I can get a replacement. Try doing THAT with the old monthly passes. Also, monthly passes are available at ALL stations now, and you can buy them from the 15th of the prior month, onwards. This means that there's no more lines the last day of the month, AND the T gets the float on that money now. Finally, I can pay with my debit or credit card, which you couldn't do before.

posts: 1,099
reviews: 31
18. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Beantown Man,

Well done. Your argument is a strong one, and i'm nearly convinced. i'll have to wait a year or two to see some numbers from the MBTA before i'm 100 percent on board (pun intended).

Good day, H'04

posts: 263
reviews: 42
19. Re: Charlie and the MTA

Just an observation. I drive down Commonwealth Avenue every day. The T has had people at each stop handing out cards and answering questions.

Dealing with hundreds of millions in coins is very expensive. At this stage there should not have been fraud in the coin counting rooms. This isn't Vegas in the 70's. There are ways to properly audit what goes in and what goes out. That includes surveilance cameras and surprise inspections.

If only the T could get rid of delays. I'm fortunate enough to drive to work. But for the people standing in 12 degree cold or rain, nothing is more frustrating than when the trains don't show. You wait 20 minutes and then the first three cars are all full.

20. Re: Charlie and the MTA

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