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Reporter sets MBTA hardships to rhyme

No, not this reporter, who hasn't actually been on the T in like 15 months now (shocking, we know), but WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti, who limns her family's travails getting a CharlieCard to ride the rails.

No place on the Green Line above ground to replace it
So we travel to Gov't Center, let's face it
And there? A smiling ambassador says
"I don't have any cards, try Park Street"
We retreat

Note: Although the UHub Mobile Action News Reporter has not been on the T in 15 months, the UHub Mobile Action News Kidlet has, and she ran into the same problem that Chakrabarti did, only it's worse, because we live in the farthest reaches of remotest Roslindale (the nearest store is nearly a mile away and it's uphill both ways). She finally found a store in Hyde Park that had a supply of CharlieCards - but they wanted $5 for one.

Free tagging: 


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No one enforces the fares anyway so only honest passengers get punished.

Voting closed 16

$5 for the card, or a $5 minimum loaded onto it? I don't see why they should give away one of their limited supply of cards without making some money from the reload, but they aren't supposed to charge for the card itself.

Voting closed 16

So not something she could use until she added value to it.

Voting closed 15

Sometimes when Magoo is in the tubby Magoo sings that oldie but goodie Charlie and the MTA but Magoo replaces Charlie’s name with Magoo’s name. Magoo.

Voting closed 34

Scroll down THIS page to see where you can get a CharlieCard. I got mine at the Watertown Library.


Voting closed 22

Pittsburgh uses the exact same machines and gates. But there, the machine dispenses a card on request. Forget if there was a $1 fee or not, but the point is, no additional machine or hoops were needed with the same exact fare company.

Voting closed 25

I'll bet that making the cards hard to get is a de-facto two tier pricing structure, by which tourists, most of whom aren't willing to run all over town to get the card, pay the higher price.

Voting closed 7

some time last year.

Voting closed 22

Giving CharlieCards to tourists is like the gift card scam. They'll always be left over money on the card that will never be spent. Heck, I have a Metrocard from New York with probably a ride's worth of funds on it that has an expiration date on it.

That said, I've never understood two things. First, why don't they charge for the cards? Second, if they charged, why don't they have vending machines? And before people get into the economic cost of charging for the cards, in Philly and Chicago, when you register your card, you get the price of the card added to your account.

Voting closed 17

After an “ambassador” told me that sometimes they had cards to give out and sometimes the didn’t, but that nobody at any central office tracked when they ran out or otherwise managed resupply, I went to the “Charlie card store”

It took me three visits to to get a card. First visit they were closed (although fully staffed; there was an employee at each clerk position.) second time I showed up during what the prominently posted sign said were operating hours, only to be pointed to a smaller, less prominent sign that gave the “temporary COVID” hours. I asked a manager why, given that we were a year into this, they hadn’t had the courtesy, for the price of a sheet of office paper and a piece of masking tape, to cover the very prominent but incorrect operating hours sign. He looked at the sign as though he had never seen it before, shrugged, and mumbled. Third visit I checked in, was directed to window number 4, and got a half dozen cards. I didn’t have the nerve to ask for 50 and then leave them in a stack at the turnstiles at DTX.

My takeaway is that management’s attitude goes well beyond indifferently not giving a shit, and rises to the level of “the T would be so much easier to run if it weren’t for the damn passengers” hostility

Voting closed 23