Charlie Card Question

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Re: Charlie Card

Postby efin98 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 7:05 pm

GP40MC 1116 wrote:I had some questions about this new fare system. Is it going to be like you buy the card and say put 20 or so bucks on it. Everytime u use the system it will automatically get reduced for the fare's u used.


It'll be like that, sort of a Boston version of what New York currently has. You swipe and it takes out money, sort of like a debit card.
Also I wouldn't be surprised if the T just renovated the current turnstyles to allow the use of the one time only, daily, weekly, and monthly passes.

Or another thought was it going to be like Washington DC's subway's Metro Fare Cards. U buy for as much as ur ride costs then your card gets sucked in my the turnstyle. Also when is this "Charlie Card' going into service


I wouldn't be surprised if the T did something like that for zoned buses since the bus network has a different fare structure- that is unless the T doesn't get rid of the zoned bus system in favor of a universal fare...
efin98
 

Postby Pete » Thu Dec 09, 2004 7:21 pm

I asked the T how they would handle their "On-Time Service Guarantee" once tokens were eliminated. I was told my card would be credited with the fare. I told them I've had a monthly pass without interruption for years, and asked what good crediting a couple of extra fares to my card is going to do -- how does one add two to infinity, I asked? Not surprisingly, I got no response.

This came out of my request that my refund come in cash or check, since tokens are again kind of useless to me -- unless I take the time to try to sell them, I get no refund at all. They insisted I could still use tokens if I forgot my pass, and that tokens, after all never expire.

Following this logic, I asked how that reasoning applies to a card, which would be what I was forgetting, in the event I forgot it, and which expires after 14 months. Again, no response.

I don't think the T means "refund" or "guarantee" in the way most people understand either of those terms.
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Postby efin98 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 7:47 pm

Pete wrote:I don't think the T means "refund" or "guarantee" in the way most people understand either of those terms.


It holds true for a large percentage of the population who don't use a pass.
efin98
 

Postby Pete » Fri Dec 10, 2004 9:05 am

Kind of like "guarantee" means "we promise that most of the time we'll nearly be on time, which means within a half hour of when we say we'll be there."

I don't want to go against the institutional dislike for anything difficult, but maybe next time they can consider including the large percentage of people who put their money where their mouth is and commit to riding daily. If it's not too much trouble.
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Postby The Collector at Court St » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:19 am

When the new "Charlie" program starts, you will be still either using the Charlie ticket or the current pass..... both being a paper/cardboard type ticket. Returning fares will be the same as it is now..... pretty useless.
As the program progresses, the Charlie Card will come into play. This card can either be set up for individual rides or a monthly (maybe weekly) type pass. If you are willing to give the necessary information to set up a payment acct.,personal info, CC payment, or payment through your bank, the T will be able put your returned fare for that late trip right into your (Charlie) account where you can utilize it the next time you "Cash Up." They will also be able to look to see if you really were in the station or on the system at the time of the delay. Another advatage of giving your personal info, if you lose your card, you will be able to get it deactivated and the balance put on a new card.
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Postby NealG » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:35 am

How is this going to effect fare collection on the Commuter Rail? Will there be some sort of upgrade to the woefully inefficient ticketing system they employ now?
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Postby Pete » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:19 pm

The Collector at Court St wrote:If you are willing to give the necessary information to set up a payment acct.,personal info, CC payment, or payment through your bank, the T will be able put your returned fare for that late trip right into your (Charlie) account where you can utilize it the next time you "Cash Up."


Right, but I'll still have "infinity plus two" fares on my card, which is
the same as it is now..... pretty useless.
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Re: Charlie Card

Postby Cotuit » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:30 pm

efin98 wrote:
GP40MC 1116 wrote:I had some questions about this new fare system. Is it going to be like you buy the card and say put 20 or so bucks on it. Everytime u use the system it will automatically get reduced for the fare's u used.


It'll be like that, sort of a Boston version of what New York currently has. You swipe and it takes out money, sort of like a debit card.
Also I wouldn't be surprised if the T just renovated the current turnstyles to allow the use of the one time only, daily, weekly, and monthly passes.


They don't need to have a special system for one time fare cards. In NYC you can buy a single ride MetroCard. This can use the same technology as the standard multi-fare card, but can be made of a less durable (hopefully recyclable) material. The user would simply be responsible for disposing of the used card (which usually takes the form of a platform or sidewalk littered with used cards). In NYC there is a collection bin that you can slide expired cards into on the side of the machine that reads how much you have in your card.

efin98 wrote:
Or another thought was it going to be like Washington DC's subway's Metro Fare Cards. U buy for as much as ur ride costs then your card gets sucked in my the turnstyle. Also when is this "Charlie Card' going into service


I wouldn't be surprised if the T did something like that for zoned buses since the bus network has a different fare structure- that is unless the T doesn't get rid of the zoned bus system in favor of a universal fare...


There will be a problem with buses that have different zones depending on how much of the route you ride (for example Pike buses from Waltham to Newton Corner are local, but from Newton Corner to Copley/Downtown are express). I wonder what the T will do to account for that. It's basically an honour system currently.

They could make the inbound fare local, but boost the price of the outbound fare. Or they could have a dreaded pay as you leave system. Riders exiting before Newton Corner would pay local, then the driver would switch the farebox somehow to collect express fares afterward. I seriously hope they don't do that though!

If you're boarding in Braintree or Quincy where there is a double fare, the cards should be smart enough to calculate that. NYC MetroCards deduct the proper higher fare when riding an express bus for example.
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Postby Cotuit » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:35 pm

NealG wrote:How is this going to effect fare collection on the Commuter Rail? Will there be some sort of upgrade to the woefully inefficient ticketing system they employ now?


I believe there are no plans to do anything to commuter rail fare collection right now. But it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult in the future to equip conductors with some sort of hand-held reader to process smart cards.

I do wonder however how they will handle passes. Current monthly passes have a unique look each month allowing the conductor to easily dicern if the passes are current. If the Charlie Card is to follow the New York model, than the calendar month no longer matters. Riders can buy cards for any 30 day period. How will conductors be able to tell that the passes are current without some sort of reader. Will they be issuing 2 cards to monthly commuter rail card holders, a unique one for the commuter rail and a Charlie Card for the buses/subways?
Cotuit
 

Postby Pete » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:43 pm

The Collector at Court St wrote:They will also be able to look to see if you really were in the station or on the system at the time of the delay.


I've had many instances of waiting more than the required half-hour then giving up and finding another way home, sometimes more than an hour. If my refund depended upon me waiting there until the bus finally came so I could prove I was at that stop, I'd be pretty angry by the time that bus got there.
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Postby The Collector at Court St » Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:11 am

Pete,

I know you're honest. But, what's to stop someone coming up to you at abus stop and saying "How long you been waiting?" and get free fare out of it? I'm sure once the system is in place, you will have to board or enter the system to get credit.

And regarding your infinity plus 2 statement.... Don't you or your employer pay some amount for a pass for the next month? That's where your credit of $2.50 for 2 rides on the subway comes in. Likely $1.80 for 2 bus rides, likely more for a commuter rail. I'm sure it will get complicated and no one will be completely happy!
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Postby Pete » Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:29 am

The Collector at Court St wrote:Pete,

I know you're honest. But, what's to stop someone coming up to you at abus stop and saying "How long you been waiting?" and get free fare out of it? I'm sure once the system is in place, you will have to board or enter the system to get credit.

And regarding your infinity plus 2 statement.... Don't you or your employer pay some amount for a pass for the next month? That's where your credit of $2.50 for 2 rides on the subway comes in. Likely $1.80 for 2 bus rides, likely more for a commuter rail. I'm sure it will get complicated and no one will be completely happy!


That's a more reasonable idea than what was explained to me, which was the "infinity plus two" concept. We'll have to see what it ends up being.

As for the first point, about waiting until the bus comes, that just waters down a weak policy even further. It just goes to show that the "guarantee" was part of a short-term publicity blitz used to mollify people upset about fare increases. You'll remember it came out around when the schedules on signposts did -- a program whose funding ran out far short of system-wide implementation, and which bus managers have told me there are no plans to re-fund.
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