By - 12/1/07 - 8:22 pm

Next March, Montreal will move its public transportation to a smartcard-based fare system. To see what it might be like, Christopher DeWolf drove down to Boston to take the CharlieCard out for a spin:

... What's most remarkable about the CharlieCard is that it's easy and secure. ...

By - 11/25/07 - 9:32 pm

Bill compiles quite a list of outstanding issues, from the T's continued inability to figure out how to get them to work on commuter rail to the amazing way they've made fare evasion so easy:

By - 8/30/07 - 9:09 am

Hondo reports on a fun little incident yesterday morning at Haymarket: A guy scoots through a CharlieGate without paying, under the watchful eye of a T employee, who refuses to call T police even when a paying customer asks him to:

... The other passenger basically lit into the T employee. All he had to do was call it in. But he openly said that he didn't care. ...

By - 8/7/07 - 8:56 am

It's morning rush hour on the first of the month at Green Street, people are lined up at the CharlieCard machines buying new passes and the machines suddenly stop taking credit cards. You're an MBTA customer service agent, so what do you do?

A. Tell people to use cash or wait the two hours until the machines come back online.
B. Refuse to wave anybody through who doesn't have cash.
C. Get angry at people who refuse to admit the problem is their own damn fault.
D. All of the above.

By - 7/20/07 - 8:20 pm

For a system represented by the visage of a man who couldn't afford to pay his fare, the advent of the CharlieCard and AFC presents an ironic victory. For if the subject of the classic song were to board today, he would find that his inability to pay would present no obstacle to getting on and off the T as he pleased.

Nearly eight months after Automated Fare Collection appeared, it's time to examine fare evasion. The problem that the MBTA claims isn't a problem.

By - 7/14/07 - 8:53 pm

Joshua Ledwell grumps:

... It's so bad that I've cynically begun to think it was built unintuitively on purpose, to preserve or expand the T workforce. ...

By - 6/11/07 - 10:22 pm

Break the CharlieCard machines but don't tell anybody, then station creepy plainclothes workers next to them to "help" people trying to refill their cards, which will so weird them out they'll give up and buy a more expensive CharlieTicket.

By - 6/10/07 - 11:05 am

Colleen, who brilliantly gave us these, is departing Boston for points south.

By - 4/2/07 - 1:56 pm

OK, maybe not. Still, Masukomi did cut into a busted CharlieCard and reports on her findings. She wanted to see if she could cut out all of the card except for the microchip so she could put it on her keyring; alas, there's a wire antenna wound around the outer edges of the card.

By - 3/5/07 - 12:16 pm

WBZ-TV reports:

An electrician who worked for the MBTA for 20 years has been charged with stealing more than $40,000 in coins and tokens. Police say he used some of the money for dozens of $100 CharlieCards. ...

By - 2/13/07 - 11:21 pm

Kids, you really don't want to do this: Spend two weeks' collecting old CharlieTickets, then have a ticket-redemption flash mob at Downtown Crossing. It's one thing for Ron Newman to do it; quite another for a whole gaggle of 20somethings to tempt the T fates:

... We will line up and wreck havoc. We might even trash the place in rock star fashion! ...

By - 2/9/07 - 9:06 am

Update: The T has pulled down the story/press release, but you can read the original here, the rather different slant in the Herald story and your basic dyspeptic BadTransit report on Mac Daniel here.

By - 1/31/07 - 1:12 pm

Long, long lines waiting for customer service. Wasn't fixing that at the Registry one of Dan Grabauskas's crowning achievements? Any chance he'll ever get around to replicating that on the T?

Also, Mr. G., as long as we have your attention, Lewis Forman has some issues, both in general and with the Blue Line in particular.

By - 1/30/07 - 5:24 pm

Moxilicious posts today's Can You Frickin' Believe It? CharlieCard horror story, this time involving the cold, a WageWorks faux-credit card and recalcitrant CharlieCard machines at Lechmere and Back Bay that kept her from getting a February Linkpass.

By - 1/24/07 - 7:13 pm

Charlie on the MBTA gets some e-mail from one of the T's "ambassadors" about problems with both the machines and the suits at T headquarters who bought them.

By - 1/24/07 - 4:59 pm

Charlie on the MBTA marvels at the courteous, professional driver on the 65 bus out of Kenmore Square who helped a passenger get through what seemed to be his first experience with a CharlieCard reader. All the more pity that at the end, the fare box ate the guy's $5 bill without recording it onto his card.

By - 1/22/07 - 11:38 pm

Tape watches as some guy follows the add-value instructions on the CharlieCard machine - by tapping his card repeatedly against the screen, displaying a picture of a card - instead of against the actual sensor a couple feed to the right of the screen.

By - 1/19/07 - 11:38 pm

So much going on on our humble public-transit system these days. Here's a round-up of the latest:

File this under: Can't let the terrorists know how many stars are on our flag: When JS pulls out a Polaroid (Yes, a Polaroid) to take a photo of an American flag under glass at the Airport stop on the Blue Line, a T employee immediately orders her to cease and desist:

By - 1/18/07 - 7:49 am

Mac Daniel reports in the Globe:

The cash-strapped MBTA lost more than an hour of fares on numerous bus routes yesterday morning when dozens of new automated-fare boxes failed on their first true Boston winter day. ...

By - 1/17/07 - 3:43 pm

This is brilliant. How long before someone starts producing them commercially?