Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Charlie Ticket Complainers: Buy a Monthly Pass and Shut Up! But Wait... I Must Blame the T too...

I don't know why, but this is starting to get to me. Oh wait, I do know why... because people are driving me crazy with this: "the Charlie Ticket only works at some subway stations; at others I need to buy a token." Now, agreed, the new "super-gated" machines are sloooowly being implemented across the system (the ones at Sullivan Sq have been sitting for over two weeks now; maybe they'll have them in by Thanksgiving), but I haven't had a single problem no matter which stop I get on at. Know why? Monthly Pass.
Question #1: If you ride the T daily, or at least Monday-Friday why are you, after decades of having the flat-rate Monthly Pass Program, buying a single ride whether it's a token or a Charlie Ticket?
Question #2: Do you know that it's costing you more?
Question #3: Do you? Seriously.
Question #4: Do you?
Question #5: Are you that cash-strapped that you can't fork over one major $20-$80 expense (rapid transit) that, by the end of the month, will save you money?
I mean, I just don't get it. At Sullivan Sq I swipe; at North Station I swipe; at Lechmere I put my same card in the overpriced machines which take forever to open the magic gates. But still I get through (eventually) just the same. Why even mess around with the one-ride crap?
But let me back up a minute: the T is forcing those who choose to buy single-rides for the (let's-put-in-speed-restrictions-every-quarter-mile) subway to arm themselves with tokens and buy Charlie Tickets at other stations because administration decided it didn't want to include a token slot on the machines. New York City Transit did. You can't buy the famous Y-cuts in the Big Apple anymore. But at least administration there had enough sense to realize, "Hey, maybe we should build token slots into the new machines for people so that, if they have a bunch of tokens from subway stops with the old machines, they can just use up there tokens." Boston just flatly said adapt or get "Charlie-d"; New York had common sense. But that's why New York City Transit runs 24 hours whereas the MBTA rapid transit still stops at 12:30, with administration still bellyaching that "it's the oldest subway in the country (a whopping seven years older than NYCT) and needs down time for maintenance" (in a system 1/4 as large). Boston has always been a haphazard, shortsighted city (Big Dig, anyone?). Not putting token slots in the new magic gated machines to ease the transition to "Charlie" is just another example.

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