MBTA Fare System (Charlie, AFC 2.0, Zone, Discounts)

shmessy

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What a confusing system. Just arrived at South Station and realized I couldn’t find my Charlie Card with 3 minutes before the Alewife train I needed would arrive. So, I bought a Charlie Ticket from one of the new kiosks. Approaching the fare gates, the left half were the traditional gates, and the right half were the new gates, adorned with loud signage saying “Charlie Card Only”. Thinking I couldn’t use the new ones, I tried three of the old gates with no success. Luckily, an attendant yelled at me that I need to use my Charlie Ticket on one of the new “Charlie Card Only” gates. I guess this is because it’s one of the new tappable Charlie Tickets? Somehow still made my train.

Edit: Just exited at Harvard and the signage here is much clearer that the new gates are for both Charlie Cards and Tickets

Edit 2: And then the Charlie Ticket failed to apply the transfer when switching to the bus 😑
Thank you!

You were merely using the English language correctly - - a "ticket" is not a "card". The attendant who yelled at you needs to humanize.

I find the Boston fare system infinitely more confusing and chaotic than any other urban transpo system I've traveled upon. The signange and explanations (not to mention some of the attitudes of the "facilitators") leaves much to improve upon.
 

BeyondRevenue

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What a confusing system. Just arrived at South Station and realized I couldn’t find my Charlie Card with 3 minutes before the Alewife train I needed would arrive. So, I bought a Charlie Ticket from one of the new kiosks. Approaching the fare gates, the left half were the traditional gates, and the right half were the new gates, adorned with loud signage saying “Charlie Card Only”. Thinking I couldn’t use the new ones, I tried three of the old gates with no success. Luckily, an attendant yelled at me that I need to use my Charlie Ticket on one of the new “Charlie Card Only” gates. I guess this is because it’s one of the new tappable Charlie Tickets? Somehow still made my train.

Edit: Just exited at Harvard and the signage here is much clearer that the new gates are for both Charlie Cards and Tickets

Edit 2: And then the Charlie Ticket failed to apply the transfer when switching to the bus 😑
If we want ease of use, I have a very easy solution but it would have to acknowledge our stupidity and our wasteful ways.

We should sell our machines to another transit authority and eliminate all fares.

Which means we get to eliminate...
  • the future purchases of fare machines
  • the fare machine repair shops, repair specialists and their future pensions,
  • the armored trucks driving revenue from fare collectors and all truck maintenance expenses,
  • the drivers and mechanics of those armored trucks and their future pensions,
  • the old counting rooms at various spots around the MBTA system reserved for counting fare revenue (for reuse)
  • the accounting positions counting the counters of the revenue from the fares, and their future pensions,
  • the attorneys who the MBTA keeps on staff to cover revenue and finance scandals and their future pensions,
  • the baffling systemwide fare signage,
  • the red shirts at the gates and the fare machines (who should have brooms and trash bags if the T wants to do something right),
  • the superfluous, specialized cops for the revenue domain (fare jumpers? please)... oh and their future pensions,
  • the specialized contractors who write the contracts for the fare machine makers, and their future pensions,
  • the second set of elevators to get to the platform instead of a taking a straight shot from the street. Samesies for escalators, ADA ramps, etc.
  • the fences, gates, turnstiles, and one way crash doors that prevent you from walking up to the train without paying a fare
  • the repair people who fix the fences, gates, turnstiles, and one way crash doors that prevent you from walking up to the train without paying a fare and their future pensions,
  • the constant loss of station dwell time while the driver waits to onboard fares
  • the extra design and build expenses in every new station designed to divide revenue world from free world, including
  • the need for fare gate mezzanines that keep riders from going direct to the platform.
  • the peril drivers face when irate customers don't have enough money
  • the transfer pass, the transfer paper machines, the contractor who sells them, the person who fixes them, and their future pensions
  • the lack of possible new hires like drivers, (since there will be a bunch of freshly available people)
  • the drama every time there's a fare hike,
  • the invariable duplicity of punishing MBTA users while rewarding single drivers,
  • the shame of not having done it already to encourage public transportation while the earth burns,
  • the person at your company who has your T pass at the front desk (some companies who have that perk YMMV)
  • the (biggie here) superfluous pensions and paychecks for each employee associated with all that fare and revenue garbage, followed by...
  • the head scratching as to how MBTA revenue only covers ~20 percent of the budget and the rest comes directly from the Commonwealth in one form or another,

....a bunch of other expensive stuff I haven't thought of yet. Please add to the list.

I'm sure if someone did the math, we'd make up that 20 percent quickly. Just sayin'.
 
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HelloBostonHi

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What a confusing system. Just arrived at South Station and realized I couldn’t find my Charlie Card with 3 minutes before the Alewife train I needed would arrive. So, I bought a Charlie Ticket from one of the new kiosks. Approaching the fare gates, the left half were the traditional gates, and the right half were the new gates, adorned with loud signage saying “Charlie Card Only”. Thinking I couldn’t use the new ones, I tried three of the old gates with no success. Luckily, an attendant yelled at me that I need to use my Charlie Ticket on one of the new “Charlie Card Only” gates. I guess this is because it’s one of the new tappable Charlie Tickets? Somehow still made my train.

Edit: Just exited at Harvard and the signage here is much clearer that the new gates are for both Charlie Cards and Tickets

Edit 2: And then the Charlie Ticket failed to apply the transfer when switching to the bus 😑
This transition phase is rough. The signage is inconsistent and the communication has been pretty poor. On the plus side by about February all the old machines should be gone and they can fully phase out magswipe tickets and move all the gates to the new system and that will greatly lessen confusion.
 

JeffDowntown

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This transition phase is rough. The signage is inconsistent and the communication has been pretty poor. On the plus side by about February all the old machines should be gone and they can fully phase out magswipe tickets and move all the gates to the new system and that will greatly lessen confusion.
Does February include conversion of all buses and trolley cars to the new system?
 

HelloBostonHi

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Noticed a new listing on the MBTA construction bidding website:

AFC 2.0 Transformation Phase 1, Adv Date: 02/02/2022, Bid Date: 03/10/2022, Estimate: $15,000,000

Looks like we'll finally see actual movement in 2022. Don't ask how we need another contract for what I thought was already a $1 billion design build contract, or how this is "Phase 1" of an already many phased project.

 

Jahvon09

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They started replacing some of their old Charlie machines, but there are STILL some train staions that don't have the newer ones yet. And some of them STILL don't work right!! Ridculouds!! o_O
 

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