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MBTA: T Riders Take to CharlieCard

This story, written by Mac Daniel, appeared in the Boston Globe on February 8, 2007.

Numbers for the first month of CharlieCard usage show that despite fare increases the T's new automated system is being quickly adapted by riders, with 575,000 of the plastic cards in circulation after the program's first 30 days.

By comparison, the Chicago Transit Authority's ChicagoCard had 372,000 in circulation as of December, nearly four years after its introduction for bus and subway service.

The use of the CharlieCards has also seemed to change the way people pay to ride on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subways, buses, and trolleys. For the first time in the authority's history, the new fare card has made credit and debit card transactions account for more than 40 percent of the T's revenue.

"We have exceeded our expectations for the first 30 days," MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas said today in a telephone interview.

In January, 86 percent of T riders used CharlieCards and paid the lowest amount under the new fare structure. About 14 percent of riders paid a new surcharge by using CharlieTickets or paying cash, a number Grabauskas said he want to lower in the next several months.

In addition, 87 percent of all bus passengers used the low-fare CharlieCards, while 13 percent of riders paid a surcharge. On Green Line surface stops, 96 percent paid with CharlieCards and 4 percent paid a surcharge.


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