Not all CharlieTickets created equal

Boblothrope reports trying to convert some CharlieTickets into CharlieCards only to be told he couldn't because they were already marked as discounted or something (he got them as not-on-time reimbursements). But he discovered a quick workaround involving adding all of five cents to the tickets, then trading in the new ones you get:

... Maybe if I really want to waste the T's money I'll put each 5 cent transaction on a credit card. ...

Meanwhile, in the "You're kidding, right?" department, state Rep. Denis Guyer wants a law forcing the T to return dollar bills rather than coins to people who put cash in CharlieMachines. Guyer, D-Boonies, could care less that $18 worth of Sacageweas are annnoying - he's looking out after the interests of Crane & Co., a company in his district that makes the paper used to print dollar bills.


Free tagging: 


Unequal CharlieTickets, part 2

Also, some CharlieTickets say "Farebox StoredValue CharlieTicket" on them, and they are special. They are printed by a bus or streetcar farebox to make change if you insert more cash than the required fare.

If you put one of these into a Charlie vending machine, it will offer you the option to combine its value with a second CharlieTicket.

Regular CharlieTickets don't offer this option. I don't know why not.

makes a lot of sense, actually

By on

Regular CharlieTickets don't offer this option. I don't know why not.

Simple- it's to accommodate people who didn't have a charlieticket on them and ended up with, say, 20 cents on a second ticket. A better question is: why won't the machine let you transfer the money to a charliecard? (or will it?)

The MBTA is all about (supposedly) discouraging use of the Charlietickets. Yet all sorts of passes are still distributed (only) as Charlietickets, and there is no way to get a charliecard out of an automated dispenser, for some unknown reason.

They should make 7-day passes and the like slightly more expensive if you use a charlieticket, and regular price if you load it on a charliecard...

CharlieCard dispenser

They'd need a whole different kind of machine to dispense hard plastic CharlieCards. I don't think the existing machines have any mechanism to do that.

If the T ever does install such machines, they should charge a fee for the blank cards, to discourage people from taking them and throwing them away after one or two uses.

I don't know why the T doesn't offer 1-day, 7-day, or express bus passes on CharlieCards. They don't offer commuter rail and boat passes yet on CharlieCards because they don't seem to have figured out yet how to make that work.

Yep. Whole new machine.

By on

I mean, its not like they just installed the machines to distribute CharlieTickets and could have just as easily distributed CharlieCards.

The baffling thing here is that the MBTA wants us using CharlieCards, but encourages this not by making them easy to get by by making the tickets cost more. If they did both, I could understand that, but they didn't. They made the Cards a hassle to get (virtually impossible for visitors who wouldn't know) while punishing people for not getting them.

But hey, I'm still wondering why I'm stuck with all these useless refund CharlieTickets when I'm a monthly pass buyer.

Charlie Ticket/Charlie Card

By on

Charlie Ticket/Charlie Card can some explain how they're different?

CharlieTicket vs CharlieCard

CharlieCards & Tickets, from the official MBTA website.


A CharlieTicket is made of paper, with a magnetic strip. You insert the ticket into a gate or farebox, and it spits the ticket out and returns it to you.

A CharlieCard is plastic, and contains a small RFID chip. You touch it to the gate or farebox. Since it uses radio waves, you can even put it inside a wallet or a glove and touch that to the gate or farebox instead.

If you're going to ride the T at all regularly, you want to use the CharlieCard, as it's both more convenient and charges you a lower fare.

Why 2 products?

By on

Are both the ticket and the card sold in t station on the orange line?

Why does anybody buy a charlie ticket and pay surcharges on top on normal t fares?


You can buy a CharlieTicket from machines at any T station.

You can update a CharlieCard at those machines -- that is, add stored value or a monthly pass -- but you can't get a new blank card from the machine. You have to get that from a T customer service agent, or from a ticket counter (such as the one at Back Bay station), or online.

CharlieCards cost a significant amount of money to manufacture, and you're supposed to keep them for years, so the T doesn't want to just hand them out like candy.

is charlie card stalking you?

By on

I'm trying to understand why they charge a surcharge for c-ticket paid fares. do you think it's to cover the cost of the disposable paper and magnet strip? But surely the c-card is more expensive. So its really an incentive to buy the c-card. why do they want people to buy the c-card instead of the c-ticket?

When you buy a c-ticket, it doesn't record your name. it can be used by anybody who has possession of it.

When you buy a c-card, do they record your name?

They want people to use the CharlieCard

The T wants anyone who uses the T frequently to use the CharlieCard, because it's faster, more convenient, and doesn't involve printing out and discarding tickets. So they give you an incentive to use the card, in the form of lower fares and transfer privileges.

The CharlieCard is more expensive to produce than a ticket, but you only need one of them, and you keep it for years, adding more money (or passes) to it as needed.

The CharlieCard is not associated with your name, except to the extent that they have to know what account to charge if you use a credit or debit card to fill it. The T has promised to offer card registration (so you can fill it online, or get a replacement if it's lost), but they have yet to do so.

Then why do I have this plastic 1A thing in my pocket?

If they want us to use the charlie cards, why don't the print stickers to put on them each month for those of us who use the commuter rail and boats?

Meanwhile, I'd love to have registered ones for my two sons. That way I could load up enough value to get them out of trouble and replace it if they lost it (like my April pass that chewed its way out of older son's pocket ... fortunately it was very late April, but still ...)

Zone 1A passes

By on

They're not available on Charlie cards because the MBCR (the computer rail people) don't want to convert to having their employees use portable Charlie card readers. Therefore, the passes that are valid on the computer rail have to be a type of pass that the conductor can tell is a valid pass just by looking. Lame, huh?

NYC Metrocard machines

I didn't know that. But if so, this page is wrong:

Large MetroCard Vending Machines accept cash and can only return up to $6 in change. The change given includes dollar coins, not bills.


By on

Technically not a vending machine, but there's a changemaker at the always amazingly crowded Rojo gas station/carwash in Norwood that will take a twenty and spit out the equivalent number of fives and ones (I think you even have a choice of just which bills to get back). Used it this past Saturday so I could vacuum out the car (since I don't have a RojoCard).

The parking pay machines at

By on

The parking pay machines at Logan return bills as change, not coins. So do the Shaws self-service lanes.

The law isnt going anywhere. The Federal law requiring transit authorities to give coins as change isnt going anywhere.

Paper Bills last less, cost more and are harder to manage (by commerce).

Anyone complaining about getting 18$ in change should either:

a) Add more value to the card or ticket
b) Use a smaller bill
c) Deal with it.

Transferring Ticket Cash

By on

There is no way to move the cash from a ticket to a card, but if you take them to the Downtown Crossing service center, they will refund the ticket balance and put it on your charlie card, essentially achieving the desired effect. But the fact they have to do it in this awkward way I think explains why the machines can't do it... though why in the world that wasn't designed in we'll probably never know...

DC Metro machines can transfer value from ticket to RFID card

See Adding value to SmarTrip is as easy as using it

1. Touch your SmarTrip card to the circular target and follow the prompts.

2. Insert a) money, b) a used farecard or Metrochek or c) an unused Metrochek or farecard of any value. Each one requires a separate transaction. You may also use your Visa, MasterCard, Discover or ATM card to add value to your SmarTrip card at any Passes/Farecards machine.

If WMATA can do this, I don't know why MBTA can't.

On the other hand, I would not want WMATA's fare system here -- different fares by distance and by time of day, requiring you to use your farecard at both entry and exit.

vending machine

By on

More and more vending instead of shop, not only save labour,money and save space.The important is that it offer 24 hours service one day. except applying in food, it's also applied in selling calling cards, SIM cards, prepaid phone cards, any cards can do.We can pay by cash or by credit card. and return your balance by coin or by bill, beacuse balance return is expensive, so may be most vending machine balance return the coin.

Can you say that in English?

I haven't a clue what you're trying to say. It reads like you wrote it in some other language and then fed it to the Google translator.

A better idea

Why don't we get rid of dollar bills.

I somehow suspect that the authors and supporters of that legislation do not own a passport.