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Old 12-19-2007, 11:24 AM   #8
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 31
Default Re: Charlie On The MTA.

The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) in Boston has been using the "Charlie Card" for a year, now! The card is a reusable (i.e., "refillable") plastic card which replaces the old transit cards that had to be purchased every month. Boston has been using plastic fare cards for a long time (about 30 years.) The cards offer not only a reduction in fare cost, but have a few other perks (such as allowing a second traveler on the same fare at certain times.) The Charlie Card is a new effort to get people to use public transportation by using a well-known "figure" to promote the card.

When the card was released, there was a great write-up in The Boston Globe about the name and interviews with the former band members...who were surprised at the attention they were getting as a result. Wish I had saved the article!

As a native of the area, I used the old transit cards (called a T-Pass) for many years. You could buy them directly at any MBTA station, from designated stores or from your employer. Much like using a debit card, you swipe it through a slot at the turnstile...or wave it near the sensor on the turnstile to allow you to rush to catch the subway car about to pull out of the station.

There's a woman in Boston who invented mittens with a pocket for the Charlie Card! Because the new card does not have to be swiped, all you have to do is wave your hand over the turnstile sensor to allow you to pass through! Here's the URL for her explanation about the concept:

"Charlie" is a revered concept in Boston, ever since the song "Charley on the MTA" came out. Bostonians have a quirky sense of humor, so it was no surprise to me that the reinvented T-Pass got such a "kewl" name!

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