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Fares FAQ

General

Currently, the only way to check the balance on your CharlieTicket or CharlieCard is at fare vending machines located in subway stations.

Additionally, when you tap your CharlieCard at a fare gate or fare box, the LED screen will show your remaining balance.

You cannot check your balance online.

Unfortunately, the MBTA does not refund any fare products.

Yes. There are fare vending machines located inside/outside of all terminals at Logan Airport, which sell all MBTA tickets and passes other than Interzone and Zone 9-10.

Visit our Pass Programs website to learn how you can purchase CharlieCards in bulk as a corporation, university, or school. Anyone can also make online purchases of more than $25 through our Group Sales department.

No. All fares are the same no matter what time of day or day of the week you ride.

Parking fees and rules vary by station. Visit our parking area for more information on parking fees and rules.

Bus and Subway Fares

CharlieTicket fares include 1 transfer within 2 hours of the initial fare payment in the following directions:

  • Subway and SL 1 or 2 to SL 4 or 5
  • Local Bus to/from Local Bus
  • Local Bus to/from SL 4 or 5
  • Blue Line to/from SL 3 at Airport Station
  • Red Line to/from Mattapan Trolley at Ashmont Station

There are no other transfers on stored value CharlieTickets. 

Cash fares do not include any transfers.

Stored value CharlieTickets expire 18 months from the purchase date.

Yes, if you use stored value (pay as you go) on a CharlieCard. You can pay for up to 4 one-way fares at once using a single CharlieCard at the same station. You can also store 1 pass of any type on the same card.

This feature is not available with CharlieTickets.

Currently, there is no mobile app to pay your fare on the bus and subway. But you will be able to pay with your phone soon! We’re overhauling how you pay your fare on the T, launching in 2020. Check out Automated Fare Collection (AFC) 2.0 for more information.

No. We encourage you to use exact change if you pay in cash on the bus or trolley. If you insert less than $0.25 over the fare, you won’t receive any change at all. If you insert more than $0.25 over the fare, you will receive a stored value CharlieTicket with the balance.

Local Buses only travel within Boston and the communities in the immediate area.

There are 2 types of Express Buses: Inner and Outer. Inner Express Buses make stops in nearby suburbs and then drive directly to downtown Boston. Outer Express Buses do the same, but for communities farther away from the city. Outer Express Bus fares are the most expensive.

Inner Express Bus passes include travel on all Local Buses, subway, Commuter Rail Zone 1A, and the Charlestown ferry when printed on a CharlieTicket. The CharlieCard version is only valid on bus and subway. 

Outer Express Bus passes include travel on all Inner Express Buses, Local Buses, subway, Commuter Rail Zone 1A, and the Charlestown ferry when printed on a CharlieTicket. The CharlieCard version is only valid on bus and subway.

Commuter Rail Fares

No. CharlieCards can only be used to pay bus and subway fares. (The one exception is that some monthly Commuter Rail pass holders do receive their passes on CharlieCards. These cards are printed with the month and zone of the pass and can be used to pay for both bus/subway and Commuter Rail.)

Yes, unless your pass is on mTicket. mTicket passes are only valid for travel on the Commuter Rail. All Commuter Rail passes above Zone 1A can be used on Express Buses as well.

Yes, up to your designated zone. For example, if you have a Zone 6 pass and and your regular commute is from Greenbush to South Station, you can use your pass to travel to stations on any line up to Zone 6, like Salem, Concord, and Mansfield. 

If you want to travel beyond the zone number on your pass, you’ll pay a one-way Interzone fare for the extra zones. For example, if you wanted to travel to a Zone 8 station on your Zone 6 pass, you’d pay an Interzone 2 fare.

You can request an upgrade to a higher Zone level at the ticket booths at North and South Station or at the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing. You’ll be charged for the difference in price between the passes. 

Refunds are not issued for downgrades to lower Zones.

One-way, round trip, and 10-ride Commuter Rail tickets expire 90 days from the purchase date, whether they were bought at a fare vending machine, ticket booth, or on mTicket.

Tickets purchased with cash onboard the train are only valid for travel on the day of purchase.

Fare is Fair events are not announced in advance. Random checks may be performed at various Commuter Rail stations on any given day.

We recommend using our Commuter Rail fare finder. Enter your origin station and destination station, and your zone and prices for all available tickets and passes will be automatically generated. You can also view maps displaying all stations by zone (at the bottom of the page).

No, unless you board the train at a station where you can pre-purchase your ticket (for example, stations with fare vending machines or ticket booths). In that case, there is a $3 surcharge for purchasing your ticket onboard.

Ferry Fares

If you have a Zone 6-10 pass printed on a CharlieTicket or CharlieCard, you can use it on any MBTA ferry.

If you have a Zone 1-5 pass on a CharlieTicket or CharlieCard, you can use it on the Charlestown ferry.

mTicket passes are only valid for travel on the mode for which they were purchased.

No. While there are no weekly passes, 10-ride ferry passes and monthly passes are available.

Passes

You can buy monthly passes at fare vending machines starting on the 15th of the month prior. For example, August passes may be purchased beginning on July 15.

Pass orders placed online work slightly differently:

  • Bus & subway (add pass to existing CharlieCard): From the 15th of the month prior
  • Commuter Rail & ferry (order pass to be shipped): Between the 15th and 22nd of the month prior
  • Commuter Rail & ferry mTicket: From the 15th of the month prior

You can buy a monthly pass up until the end of the day on the 14th of the month. For example, August passes may be purchased up until August 14. On August 15, all outlets would switch to selling September passes.

Keep in mind, MBTA passes are not pro-rated, so there is no discount for purchasing a pass after part of the month has passed. Weekly or 10-ride passes may be a more economical option in that circumstance.

All monthly passes for all modes other than Interzone and Commuter Rail Zone 9-10 are available at fare vending machines and retail sales locations around Greater Boston. You can purchase any Commuter Rail or ferry pass on mTicket, but keep in mind those passes aren’t valid for travel on any other mode. You can also purchase any Commuter Rail pass at the ticket booths at South Station and North Station.

You can sign up for our Auto-pay program, currently available for bus and subway monthly passes (coming soon for Commuter Rail). You will be billed on the 22nd of each month and your pass will renew automatically.

Unfortunately, no. The MBTA does not offer refunds on any fare products. If you are a member of our auto-pay program, you can cancel or pause your subscription free of charge up until the 22nd of the month prior. For example, you won’t be charged for an August pass if you pause your subscription before July 22.

No. The monthly LinkPass includes travel on the subway and Local Bus.

No, but you can sign up for automatic billing and renewal of your bus and subway pass through our Auto-pay program.

The only passes offered are:

  • Bus & subway: 1-day, 7-day, monthly
  • Commuter Rail & ferry: 10-ride, monthly

All 1-day passes are valid for 24 hours. Those purchased on CharlieTickets are valid from the purchase time, while those purchased on CharlieCards are valid from the first tap at a fare gate.

7-day passes on CharlieTickets activate from the purchase time and date, and are valid for 168 hours (7 24-hour periods) after that point.

7-day passes on CharlieCards activate at the first tap into a subway station, and are valid for 168 hours (7 24-hour periods) after that point.

Monthly passes are valid for 1 calendar month. For example, an August pass is valid from August 1-31. Passes expire at the end of service on the last day of the month.

CharlieCard Management and Troubleshooting

No. Currently there is no way to check your CharlieCard balance online. You can only check your balance at fare vending machines located in stations.

Once you’ve loaded it, your CharlieCard will activate automatically the first time you tap it at a fare gate. Please note, fare boxes will not activate your card.

CharlieCards last for years, but they do eventually expire. The expiration date of your card should be printed in the lower right-hand corner, across from the serial number. If no expiration date is printed on your card, you can look it up using a fare vending machine.

If you’re enrolled in Auto-pay, just visit your account home to pause or cancel your subscription.

If you’re enrolled in automatic billing through MyCharlie, log in to your MyCharlie account to stop payments.

If you’re an Auto-pay customer, you will be emailed a receipt automatically each month. You can also download copies of your receipts from the billing area.

If you’re a MyCharlie customer, you can find receipts in the account area.

Visit the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing to have any remaining balance or passes transferred to a new CharlieCard.

We sell CharlieCards online through our Group Sales department. Orders must be valued at more than $25. You can select CharlieCards loaded with stored value or 1-day, 7-day, or a monthly LinkPass. Please note that the card will not come with gift wrapping.

Alternatively, you can visit a station where blank CharlieCards are available and load one with stored value or the pass of your choice at a fare vending machine.

The serial number is located in the bottom left corner of the front of your card. It should be formatted like this: X - XXXXXXXXXX (1 digit followed by a hyphen and 10 digits).

There is a processing delay. Your stored value will be available starting at 5 AM the next day, once you tap your card at a fare gate. (Fare boxes on buses and trolleys will not work.)

You can load stored value onto your CharlieCard online on the MyCharlie site.

If you have a MyCharlie account:

Phone

  • Call 888-844-0355 for CharlieCard Support. Hours are 7 AM – 8 PM Monday – Friday and 9 AM – 5 PM Saturday – Sunday.

Email

If you’re an Auto-pay customer, you can reset your password from the billing portal login area.

If you have a MyCharlie account:

Phone

  • Call 888-844-0355 for CharlieCard Support. Hours are 7 AM – 8 PM Monday – Friday and 9 AM – 5 PM Saturday – Sunday.

Email

If you’re an Auto-pay customer, you can change your email address from the billing portal.

You may need to get a new CharlieCard. You can get your balance transferred from your old card to a new one at the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or at fare vending machines.

Visit the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing to get a new CharlieCard and have any balance or passes transferred to it.

Standard Fare CharlieCards

  • If your card is registered with MyCharlie or Auto-pay, call 888-844-0355.
  • If your card isn’t registered, unfortunately the MBTA cannot replace it.

Reduced Fare Cards

  • Visit the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or call Customer Support at 617-222-3200.

Corporate, Semester, and Student CharlieCards

  • Contact your program administrator at your company or school. 

There is no lost and found for CharlieCards. You can give any found cards to an MBTA employee, T Ambassador, or station attendant. If the card has been reported lost, our staff can take action.

CharlieCards are not recyclable due to the chip contained in them.

mTicket

You can download mTicket on your Apple or Android smartphone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Download on the App Store   Get it on Google Play

Yes, for one-way and round trip tickets. You should purchase a separate ticket for each passenger 12 and older in your group, and activate each ticket when you board the Commuter Rail or ferry. You can’t load more than 1 monthly pass on the same mTicket app or device.

Most tickets are valid for 90 minutes after being activated.

Unfortunately, once you activate a ticket, you cannot deactivate it.

Email mticketing@mbta.com with your account details and wallet number. A customer service representative will respond to you. Please note that there are limits to the number of device transfers accounts may have over time.

You can add or change your credit card information in the Account Settings area from within the mTicket app.

Email mticketing@mbta.com with your request. A customer service representative will respond to you.

Yes. First, you must submit your reduced fare card’s serial number on the Reduced Fares page of the Account Details area in your mTicket app.

Reduced Fares

Active duty military members ride all MBTA services for free. If you’re in uniform, no identification is needed. If you’re in plainclothes, just show your military ID to the conductor or driver.

There are no reduced fares for veterans.

Children under 12 ride the MBTA for free when accompanied by a paying adult (2 children per adult). Unaccompanied children must pay a fare, though discounts for students are available.

Low-income teenagers and young adults in participating communities may be eligible for the Youth Pass

Middle and high school students at participating schools benefit from reduced fares on the MBTA. Check with your school to find out about eligibility and participation.

College students at participating universities can join the MBTA’s Semester Pass Program but do not benefit from the same reduced fares as middle and high school students. Check with your school to find out more information.

No, there are no reduced fares for visitors.

No. Reduced fare monthly passes can only be purchased at fare vending machines.

Yes. First, you must submit your reduced fare card’s serial number on the Reduced Fares page of the Account Details area in your mTicket app.

You can renew your Transportation Access Pass (TAP card) by visiting the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or calling 617-222-3200.

You can get a replacement pass by visiting the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or calling 617-222-3200.

Yes, you can add stored value to your Transportation Access Pass on the MyCharlie website. You cannot, however, add reduced-price monthly passes online.

You can renew your Senior CharlieCard by visiting the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or calling 617-222-3200.

You can get a replacement pass by visiting the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or calling 617-222-3200.

Yes, you can add stored value to your Senior CharlieCard on the MyCharlie website. You cannot, however, add reduced-price monthly passes online.

No discounts are available for monthly Commuter Rail passes. However, seniors can purchase discounted 10-ride passes for the Commuter Rail.

Visit the CharlieCard Store in Downtown Crossing or call 617-222-3200 for assistance with your pass.

The Department of System-wide Accessibility offers a comprehensive guide to The RIDE online, including information about how to apply, adding funds to your account, and what to expect.

The MBTA is also running a pilot with Uber and Lyft to provide subsidized on-demand transportation to RIDE customers.

Question not answered here?

The MBTA Tariff and Statement of Fare and Transfer Rules contains the complete listing of all fares, transfer rules, payment options, and more.

View the MBTA Tariff