CharlieCard holders held hostage, Day 2

The line at the CharlieCard store in Downtown Crossing

Around noontime, Kerry Tubbs photographed the line at the CharlieCard store in Downtown Crossing, where dreams go to die all the people whose CharlieCards expired on Friday have to go to get their remaining value transferred to fresh new cards that don't expire until 2021.

Meanwhile, Red Line riders are queuing up in novel places at South Station this afternoon because the traditional stairway down to the subway is shut for repairs. But, Jesse Tokarz reminds us, at least there's still five different coffee shops inside. At least there's a bar now.



Free tagging: 


Uglification of South Station

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Are the stairs closed for the construction of the CVS in mid-air? There are 3 CVS stores within a 5 block radius but we absolutely need another!?! I have not qualms with another CVS store; they are serviceable for urban use. But the open space above and around the steps was part of the beauty of South Station interior architecture. Enclosing the larger space was a brilliant idea when it happened. Closing the smaller space is just a greedy idea.

Relax. The construction is

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Relax. The construction is for a new escalator that will bring you up to the second floor. It will still be open when construction is done. Calm yourselves

But part of the open space is gone forever, no?

OK stairway blocked is temporary, understood.

But disregarding the stairway itself for a moment:

In the prior thread about the CVS construction, it was stated that the internal walls being put up were permanent. Is this no longer the case? The walls themselves obstruct one's view of the open space upon entering the station. That is idiotic. If the walls are temporary after all, hooray. If they're permanent...whoever approved that is a moron.

I'm surprised....

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There is not a guy outside the line selling flowers, or popcorn.

Other Ⓣ Pee Locations

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If you like that, then you'd love the fragrance of the Scollay Under Blue Line platform at Government Center. The scent hits your nose all of a sudden when you reach the bottom of the stairs. In the summertime it's so intense, it must make a vivid impression on tourists visiting Boston!

I wonder if after Government Center Station is shut down for a few years and renovated it will smell any better. Urine has been accumulating there for the past 98 years, so I'll be surprised if the odor is missing when the station reopens.

A similar olfactory experience can be had by walking through the long corridor that connects the Blue Line at State with the Orange Line Forest Hills platform. It's right on the Freedom Trail too! Undoubtedly, there are other notable Ⓣ pee locations, but Scollay Under is #1.

Ⓣ pee

Ⓣ pee hotspots:

State Street, Orange Line, Northbound, Super Secret Cornhill Exit (all parts, from bottom of stairs up to upper mezzanine)

Chinatown, Southbound, Emergency Exit Gate

Also, I've witnesses people pee go down into the southbound tunnel at State St southbound, behind the false wall along the walkway tunnel, to pee. They've also ducked around the false wall at the other end, where there's a little perch over the diving northbound tracks.

They're #2

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Scollay Under is #1, but the elevators (systemwide) are #2.

So why exactly arent the

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So why exactly arent the machines programmed to let you transfer your own value?

Even the ancient Metrocard machines take but a second to move your cash from an expired card to a new one.

Software Patch

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But the vendor who sold the T its CharlieCard System has gone bankrupt, and without a software patch (since these machines are really just Windows XP Embedded) it probably can't do that. (like the same reason why you can't use the new 10's on the buses, it needs a software patch to do so)

If only the Boston area had

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If only the Boston area had access to people who could "break into" a fare machine in about 30 seconds and program it to do so.


I'm sure lots of people want to be liable for what happens when they try to patch someone else's shitty code.


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Thats the problem, someone tries to 'fix' this and doesn't understand the "hooks" it has into the system and really can foul something up. Do you want to do that and realize you could break an entire transit agencys AFC and cause it never to work again? Yeah I didn't think so...

Nope. Scheidt and Bachmann is

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Nope. Scheidt and Bachmann is not bankrupt.

But they own the source code. So the T can't make any changes themselves, nor can they get competitive bids from other companies.

You have to leave the system

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If you come on train you have to leave the system to get to the booth.
So it will cost most people an extra $2 just to resolve the problem

downtown crossing

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does anyone remember when the corridor at the station was filled with shops from shoe repair to a deli/

Mines fine

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After all this talk I stopped at a machine to check my card today. I got it in the first few months that they existed, but mine is good until 2016. My lucky day I guess!

I fail to understand.

A Charlie card is not a credit card and should not arbitrarily expire. There's simply no reason.. just to create this headache? If it has money on it, it should be good.


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I have a SmarTrip Card from Washington DC that I got in 2000 and it still works when I go back. I might even be in debt on it (that's right - if you don't have enough for the full fare they just let you go in debt - of course that's probably so that they can charge commuter-rail-level prices, but I digress).