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What is Easy Way?

Easy Way, the name given to fully introduce the many benefits of our upcoming service enhancements, will transform how you use the T. State-of-the-art fare collection equipment will be introduced on the buses, trackless trolleys, and subway system. This convenient, flexible and easy to use service includes smart cards, magnetic stripe tickets, fare vending machines and fareboxes. This system-wide service will lead to the elimination of tokens, replacement of antiquated turnstiles and improvement of customer service.

New safety measures will be implemented as the MBTA installs and operates new state-of-the-art Hub Stations within six subway stations. These Hubs will provide monitoring of alarms across the transit system to increase safety for both customers and employees.

These improvements will be implemented over the next couple of years. We're calling this complete enhancement Easy Way.

New and flexible ways to pay your fare

New Ways to Pay Fares

Easy Way will introduce two new types of fare payment, magnetically encoded tickets and smart cards, which will eventually replace the token. You will be able to use these tickets and smart cards for "stored value" transactions as well as "time-based" passes. Stored value is an amount of money that is put on the card and then deducted from the card each time it is used, much like a phone card. "Time based" passes are identical to our existing weekly and monthly passes.

Flexible Ways to Buy Tickets and Passes

In addition to using cash and coin, you will be able to purchase tickets and passes using credit and debit cards. Full-service vending machines will accept cash and cards, while other vending machines will accept only credit and debit cards.

Charlie's back!! (Who is Charlie?)

We're pleased to announce the "CharlieCard" and the "CharlieTicket"; a new and exciting way to pay your fare, soon to be previewed on the Silver Line.

The CharlieCard is a smart card that will provide an even greater level of convenience and faster service. CharlieCards can be reused over time and you will be able to "add" stored value and passes to your cards at vending machines, fareboxes, MBTA ticket offices and on-line. You will eventually be able to automatically "update" your CharlieCard with new passes and value, using a credit or debit card.

The CharlieTicket is a magnetically encoded ticket that will contain either stored value or a T pass. A stored value CharlieTicket will have your fare deducted from it each time you ride the T, allowing you to pay as you go on the subway and bus. A CharlieTicket encoded with a pass will function the way your passes do today.

New fare equipment

New equipment will be installed throughout the bus and subway system. Vending machines will sell CharlieTickets, allow for updates to the CharlieCard and accept both cash and credit/debit cards as forms of payment. New gates will automatically read CharlieTickets and CharlieCards. Buses and Green Line vehicles will receive new fareboxes that will process CharlieTickets and CharlieCards and also accept cash.

New customer service and safety measures

A key component of Easy Way will be Customer Service Agents (CSAs) who will provide guidance in the stations. CSAs will provide a new level of service to assist customers with equipment, provide information, and monitor the station to improve safety and service.

In addition, we will activate six state-of-the-art Hub Stations within our existing subway stations, improving service and safety for both customers and employees. Personnel monitoring the Hub Stations will be able to direct customer service agents to customers, and will interact with customers via call boxes located throughout the system. By monitoring various signal and alarm systems, including Closed Circuit TV (CCTV), the Hub Station employees will be able to deploy personnel and/or other resources as needed to respond efficiently to service or safety matters.

Farebox preview

In Winter 2004-05, we will begin testing a preliminary version of the new fareboxes on the Washington Street branch of the Silver Line in order to determine how well it works and identify any necessary modifications. During this farebox preview, Silver Line customers will be the first to interact with new fare equipment that will accept dollar bills and coins, existing MBTA monthly passes, CharlieTickets and the CharlieCard. The riders on the Washington Street branch of the Silver Line will be experiencing this preview and several hundred customers will be using the CharlieCard and providing valuable feedback in order to improve the service system-wide.

We will evaluate these "test" fareboxes and introduce a final version on buses and Green Line vehicles beginning in Winter 2005-06.

From MBTA.com

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Fare trade

MBTA tests its new card-based system to mixed reviews

By Glen Johnson, Globe Staff | February 1, 2005

The MBTA took its first steps toward 21st-century fare collection yesterday, but not without some stumbles.

The T allowed a select group of roughly 300 Silver Line bus riders to try out the new computerized CharlieCards, which will eventually replace the venerable token. The swipe-and-go technology should ultimately make it faster to board trains and buses and result in more accurate fare collection.

But some passengers who don't yet have the new card complained that the new fare boxes repeatedly spit back dollar bills or required that coins be fed one by one. That greatly increased commuting time.

"One of the beauties of the Silver Line is . . . you get on, you drop five or six coins, you continue on your way," said Tony Piccolo, a banker in downtown Boston.

"Now I have to stand there, and I have to put in one coin at a time, and I have to do that for four quarters," he said. "And a couple of them got rejected and the driver had to fish them out and hand them back to us."

Tim Sharpe, a state employee who works in Downtown Crossing, said: "Usually you stop and people get on bang, bang, and you're off in 30 seconds, but we were stopped each time three or four minutes, just processing people."

In the past, riders simply threw cash in the fare collection boxes before sitting down. Riders with monthly passes also used to be able to slide them through readers atop the fare box. Yesterday they had to stop and insert them into the fare box for validation.

Officials of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority anticipated problems, which is why they limited the number of CharlieCards they distributed. They also tried to help riders by placing posters at each stop to explain the new fare boxes and by deploying customer service agents along the line to answer questions.

"The [pilot] program is designed to test the technology and solicit comments and reactions from customers," said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo."It's clear from this morning that we've started to accomplish that."

Yesterday on the Silver Line, the first CharlieCard holders waved their cards over the new fare boxes, installed over the weekend on all 17 of the bus line's 60-foot buses. The other roughly 14,000 daily riders continued to pay with cash or tokens, but were given their change in CharlieTickets.

While the new machines slowed boardings, in some cases they allowed riders to get back change that previously went to the T. For example, commuters depositing four quarters or a dollar bill for the 90-cent fare were issued a CharlieTicket with a 10-cent balance. People who paid with tokens, which have a cash value of $1.25, were issued CharlieTickets with a 35-cent balance.

The Silver Line test will continue through May. In late April or early May, when automated fare collection starts at the Blue Line's Aquarium and Airport stations, the T will also add fare vending machines that dispense CharlieTickets.

After any tweaks, the T then plans to install the system simultaneously along the Green, Red, and Orange Lines. If all goes as planned, the system will be in use on all buses and trolleys starting next January, and the T will begin to hand out the more permanent CharlieCards soon afterward.

T riders will continue to pay 90 cents for a bus ride and $1.25 for subway service.

Regular users will be able to use the CharlieCard, which looks like a credit card. They can add money to the cards with cash, credit, or debit cards, and their bus or subway fare will be deducted each ride. T officials have yet to decide if they will give away the cards or charge riders for their initial purchase.

Tourists or more sporadic riders will be able to use the CharlieTicket, a paper card with a magnetic strip. Unlike the current monthly passes, the cards will not expire at the end of a month. Bus transfers will also be given via the card or ticket, freeing drivers who now have to issue and monitor paper transfers.

From The Boston Globe

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this is definitely a step in the right direction. the paris metro in france already has this type of system. they could make those new charlie cards smaller though. the magnetized ticket i used in paris is only about 2 inches long and an inch wide. at the gates, you slip the tickets in one end, the gate opens and the ticket is spit out on the other side of the gate for you to grab on your way through. it made for a very speedy entry onto the platform.

when i was in boston, i got a 7 day visitor pass which was just a "scratch off the days you intend on using it" card that you had to show to the mbta employee working in the booth.

here's a comparrison:

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1116410003_0102.jpg1116410395_0850.jpg

(LEFT) Bupendra Sharma purchased a CharlieTicket as customer-service agent Matthew Powers aided him yesterday at Airport Station. (RIGHT) A Blue Line passenger inserted a CharlieTicket before boarding a subway train yesterday at Airport Station. (Globe Staff Photos / John Tlumacki)

T starts easing out tokens in favor of CharlieTicket

By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff  |  May 18, 2005

A hush fell over Airport Station as Khalida Smalls, an activist with the T Riders Union, approached one of the shining stainless-steel fare gates.

After court battles, price increases on the automated fare system, and endless product testing, when she pushed her ticket into the slot and the gate successfully opened, one T official exclaimed, ''Thank God!"

So it went yesterday, as the nation's oldest subway system launched its biggest change in decades, a $170 million automated fare collection system that replaces the familiar brass T token with paper cards.

MBTA officials and new customer-service agents outnumbered commuters in the first two hours as the new system brought both celebration and confusion at the Blue Line's Airport Station.

Silent commuters held tokens up to new customer service agents wearing burgundy sport coats.

The agents, mostly former T fare collectors, then guided them toward new fare card vending machines, where tokens were turned into CharlieTickets, Boston's new transit currency.

But almost two hours after the new machines debuted, the first one broke down, after it had been fed a damp bill.

The T expects such breakdowns, one of the main reasons the new fare card system is being rolled out over two years, starting at eight stations along the Blue Line, before expanding to other subway and trolley lines later this year.

...

Grabauskas said he plans to meet with Silver Line officials later this week to discuss problems with automated fare collection on the bus rapid transit line. He also said he would like to add commuter rail passengers to the new system earlier than scheduled.

For commuters using the new CharlieTickets yesterday, the biggest challenge appeared to be how to properly place the tickets in the new fare gates. Almost every time, customer service agents had to remind commuters to turn their tickets around and slide the end with the arrow into the slot.

There is also a five-second time limit for riders to go through the fare gates once they slide their tickets in the slot. T officials said customers have about 30 seconds to get through the gates while in motion. If motionless, the gates close earlier. Officials said those times can be adjusted if they cause problems.

Many customers said they liked the new system and the new technology. But one of the biggest complaints yesterday was not about the change in automated fare collection, but of change itself. The fare card vending machines spit out dollar coins for change.

...

Continue reading at: Boston.com

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this is definitely a step in the right direction. the paris metro in france already has this type of system. they could make those new charlie cards smaller though. the magnetized ticket i used in paris is only about 2 inches long and an inch wide. at the gates, you slip the tickets in one end, the gate opens and the ticket is spit out on the other side of the gate for you to grab on your way through. it made for a very speedy entry onto the platform.

when i was in boston, i got a 7 day visitor pass which was just a "scratch off the days you intend on using it" card that you had to show to the mbta employee working in the booth.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've never used the vistor pass on my trips to boston, but it does bear a striking resemblence to that of the montreal metro's vistor pass (another system that needs a fare system overhaul). However, the paris metro ticket i thought were to small, i always thought i was gonna lose it. i prefer the charlie card ticket size, it the about the same size as a metrocard in NYC, and it fits in your wallet easily, plus these cards you can just slide through, which i would consider taking even less time. Perhaps a system like the oyster card in london would be even more efficent were you can just wave your card over a sensors and your done.

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i think that a lot of people would probably complain that the paris tickets are too small. wallet size is a good size and i agree that either sliding the card or placing it near a sensor would be faster than having to insert and then retrieve it.

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i agree that either sliding the card or placing it near a sensor would be faster than having to insert and then retrieve it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I believe that is where the Charlie Card is heading. I think what is out now is just the Charlie Ticket, which is to be used for small amounts (like single rides) by visitors and casual users. Eventually the Charlie Card will be like a credit card that you keep pretty much for ever and continue to recharge or tie into your credit card or bank account (like an EZ-Pass for the subway). Eventually it will also allow you to pay for parking at T garages, and perhaps even downtown parking meters, as well as use at coffee shops and other stores near transit stations.

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it would be awesome if they did eventually put these cards to more widespread use. being able to pay for parking with the cards would really come in handy.

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Seriously, that's ridiculous. It's easy enough to cheat any mass transit system, between lazy drivers and overcrowded trains. How's the Charlie Card working out overall? I've yet to use it.

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Is the Boston system flat rate or do they charge by distance traveled?

Subway's are flat rate, except for the end of the red line down near Quincy and Mattapan, where it's more. Commuter Rail is multi-rate with an 8-zone system on all the lines. Buses I'm not sure about.

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Subway's are flat rate, except for the end of the red line down near Quincy and Mattapan, where it's more. Commuter Rail is multi-rate with an 8-zone system on all the lines. Buses I'm not sure about.

The Charlie Card will allow the MBTA to charge for distance traveled if they choose to do that, and there has been talk of it. It will also allow for fares to be more easily raised, people say. But I don't understand the idea behind that. They could raise the cost of tokens and passes easily too. I also don't understand why the current card readers at the turnstiles and on buses are not compatible with the Charlie Card. It would have been cool if we could be using the Charlie Card while the new fare gates are being installed.

Buses are $.90 with a few excpetions. From mbta.com:

'Local routes, Crosstown (CT) routes and the Silver Line Washington Street are just 90

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Yes, the subway is mostly a flat rate system, with several exceptions. There is a double-fare to board at the 3 last stations on southern end of the red line, and an exit fare at the last stop. The D branch of the Green Line has 2 zones further out. Both of these areas allow for a local fare option for people travelling within the higher fare zone.

Local buses are a flat rate with higher fares for express routes. Express routes allow for local fares as well. I used to ride one of the Pike buses from Waltham to Watertown, which was a local fare, the express fare kicks in when you are going all the way downtown.

There are several bus routes that allow for the use of the current subway pass, the crosstown routes and route 1 from Dudley to Harvard among them. This allows these buses to supplement the subway system.

The Charlie Card does make it easier to raise fares, with the token system people hoard tokens in advance of a fare increase, with the Charlie Card, the T only has to change the amount deducted, there's no way to hoard.

The Charlie Card allows the commuter rail to eventually utilize fare readers. The conductors would be able to scan the Charlie Cards to deduct the fare with a hand held reader. I don't know if there are any plans for that in the near future though.

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OKK.....so I ride the Green Line Daily....and I buy monthly passes at the beginning of every month....

Am I getting a Charlie Card? Or the old T pass..

If charlie, I just show n go on the Green Line?

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^^^

I was wondering this too and asked at south station the other day, if you are on the Commuter Rail Zones 2-8 it will be the same monthly fair card but for Bus, Subway, Combo, Combo Plus, and Zones 1 and 1.5 you will get Charlie Cards for the same price as a monthly pass. However I am still confused as to if when I buy my Charlie Pass on the thirty-first if it will still be unlimited rides on bus, subway and zones 1 and 1.5 or if I am only going to be limited to as many rides as the MBTA sees fit...

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You will have a new monthly Charlie Pass that will work for the month just like the old T pass. Unlimited for the purchased service.

^^^

I was wondering this too and asked at south station the other day, if you are on the Commuter Rail Zones 2-8 it will be the same monthly fair card but for Bus, Subway, Combo, Combo Plus, and Zones 1 and 1.5 you will get Charlie Cards for the same price as a monthly pass. However I am still confused as to if when I buy my Charlie Pass on the thirty-first if it will still be unlimited rides on bus, subway and zones 1 and 1.5 or if I am only going to be limited to as many rides as the MBTA sees fit...

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You will have a new monthly Charlie Pass that will work for the month just like the old T pass. Unlimited for the purchased service.

Right, but theyre saying the Charlie system wont be on the green line until late 2k6 early 2k7...

So I wont be able to swipe my pass on the green line turnstiles, say at Kenmore.

Will I have to show my pass to the guy in the booth and go thru the swinging gate?

what a pain

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Right, but theyre saying the Charlie system wont be on the green line until late 2k6 early 2k7...

So I wont be able to swipe my pass on the green line turnstiles, say at Kenmore.

Will I have to show my pass to the guy in the booth and go thru the swinging gate?

what a pain

you will be able to use that at any of the turnstiles its just on the above ground stops after Kenmore on the B, C and D lines and past Copley on the E line you will just hae to show the card to the conductor and move on but in all of the underground stations in the city should work just fine with the Charlie Cards...

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Couple of months in, I like the CharlieCard just fine. Haven't noticed any difference, whatsoever, with the obvious exception of different turnstiles. The new ones on the Blue Line took a little getting used to, but I can't find fault with them at this point.

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