Skip to main content

Should I Get a CharlieCard?

More from CharlieCard

Learn about CharlieCards, the easiest way to pay your fare on the MBTA.

There are 2 main ways to pay your fare on the MBTA:

CharlieCard: Reusable plastic card for travel on the bus and subway

CharlieTicket: Reusable paper ticket

A CharlieCard is best for you if…

A monthly bus and subway pass loaded onto a CharlieCard offers unlimited travel on Local Bus and subway. It costs $84.50 and pays for itself if you take at least 37 trips a month.

A monthly Local Bus-only pass costs $55 and pays for itself after 32 trips.

Even if you don’t ride the T enough to purchase a monthly pass, loading cash value on a CharlieCard offers a lower single-trip fare and discounted transfers from the bus to the subway.

CharlieCards can be reloaded at any fare vending machine.

You can register your CharlieCard and reload cash value or monthly passes from your computer or smartphone. 

Registered cards are protected against loss, theft, or damage.

Learn about online CharlieCard services

A CharlieTicket is best for you if…

CharlieTickets are available at all fare vending machines located in subway stations. They can be loaded with 1-day and 7-day passes that are valid for unlimited travel* on the MBTA Local Bus, subway, Commuter Rail Zone 1A, and Charlestown Ferry. 

*Note that CharlieTicket passes are valid from the date and time of purchase.

If you only use the MBTA once in a while, you may want to purchase your exact fare on the days you travel. 

On the Commuter Rail or Ferry, you can pay your 1-way or round trip fare at ticket windows or on board. 

For the bus and subway, you can load cash value on a CharlieTicket at any fare vending machine.

Monthly Commuter Rail and ferry passes that are printed on CharlieTickets offer unlimited travel on all other MBTA modes.

You can also buy your monthly pass on the mTicket app. Those passes are $10 cheaper than CharlieTicket passes, but you can’t use them on any other mode. 

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

Please note that unless you are reloading a CharlieCard, fare vending machines always dispense CharlieTickets. CharlieCards are only available from MBTA service agents at select stations.