It's the "Charlie Card" !

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Postby RailBus63 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:25 am

'Charlie' does nothing for me. I'd have just called it 'The T Pass'.

That said, it's about time the MBTA is entering the 21st century. As an occasional rider of both the T and the NYC subway, I really appreciate NY's MetroCard. A 'real' visitors pass that works in turnstiles and fareboxes will be a welcome addition to my trips back home.

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Postby Ron Newman » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:14 am

Besides the 1940s song, 'Charlie' also evokes the Charles River, which is an integral part of Boston.

You can't call it a "pass" because it isn't one -- it's also a stored-value card.
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Postby Cotuit » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:46 am

ST214 wrote:This just sounds like another waste to me. The tokens work fine, and when it's busy, they bring out a cardboard box, and everyone throws in the cash. Besides, are you going to have to swipe it before you can get off a LRV???


A cardboard box is hardly an effective means for a 21st century transit system to collect fare revenues.

You will not have to swipe on exit (except at Braintree). The card knows the fare to deduct dependent on the station or mode you are boarding. And it will remember that you boarded a subway before transfering to a bus, being able to automatically calculate the appropriate transfer.

In New York they have a free ride for buying a certain amount of fare (I'm not sure if they still do this since the fare increase). When I lived there it was a free ride for every $15. So when you loaded $15, it actually gave you $16.50. Boston should do something like this to encourage adoption.

Ron Newman wrote:You can't call it a "pass" because it isn't one -- it's also a stored-value card.


They will continue to be able to be used as time based passes as well. Though I agree, they are more than passes now. In New York the monthly passes are good from the date they are first used, not for the calendar month. Which is very convenient if there is a particular calendar month that you may not be using the T much, say you're going away for a long vacation, or working from home. You can buy a new monthly pass when you are ready to start riding regularly again.

I absolutely LOVED the MetroCard in New York, after living with Boston's T Passes for 8 years. Providence is introducing a smart card in 2005 as well, I can't wait.
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Postby vanshnookenraggen » Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:39 am

So are there going to be Subway-to-bus and bus-to-subway transfers now?
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Postby RailBus63 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 12:40 pm

Ron Newman wrote:Besides the 1940s song, 'Charlie' also evokes the Charles River, which is an integral part of Boston.

You can't call it a "pass" because it isn't one -- it's also a stored-value card.


Mere semantics. 90 percent of regular users are still going to call it 'the T pass', just as they have for 20-plus years. Renaming it 'Charlie' is just an excuse for the MBTA marketing types to go out and waste advertising dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.

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Why such an absurdly expensive/complicated system?

Postby stevefoley » Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:09 pm

Why couldn't they have picked a much simpler system? I like the Dutch "Strippenkarte" system - you buy cards with up to 15 "strips" on and timestamp it when you get on a bus/subway/train. Longer rides need stamps to be further down the strip. The equipment is much cheaper and simpler, and the system need much lower manning levels than the T - they just use inspectors that ride around and check - the 50 euro on the spot fine is enough to deter most non-payers .
I guess the issue for the MBTA and local politicians is "needs much lower manning levels". I still laugh at the number of ticket collectors I see on my morning commuter rail run.
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