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MBTA, Chelsea Form Partnership to Increase Access to CharlieCards

Posted on January 24, 2019

CharlieCards now available at Chelsea City Hall

Today, the MBTA launched an initiative with the City of Chelsea to increase availability of CharlieCards to residents who rely on public transportation. Under the initiative, CharlieCards pre-loaded with $5 will be available for purchase in the Treasury Office, room 313, at Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway. The MBTA is also providing 500 additional cards with no balance that will be distributed free of charge.  

“By expanding access to CharlieCards, the MBTA can ensure that more customers can take advantage of the lower fares using re-loadable cards as well as the convenience of loading cards with stored value,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “I want to thank the City of Chelsea for partnering with us in this effort. By launching this initiative, we hope increasing availability of CharlieCards makes the T more accessible to all of our customers.” 

Unlike CharlieTickets, CharlieCards are reusable plastic cards that can be routinely loaded with stored cash value or one-day, seven-day, or monthly passes. As a way to encourage use of CharlieCards, cardholders pay lower single-ride fares on bus and subway services than customers who pay cash or hold a CharlieTicket. CharlieCards also offer enhanced options for transfers over tickets and cash. Through a directive issued by the MBTA, CharlieCard holders can also show their card to conductors to ride the Commuter Rail between North Station and Chelsea Station.  

“I’m very happy to see the collaborative approach the MBTA has taken to make CharlieCards more accessible, especially in communities such as Chelsea where residents rely so heavily on public transportation,” said City Council President Damali Vidot. “We are very happy to have CharlieCards at City Hall and to partner with the MBTA to make transit more affordable for our residents.”

CharlieCard availability has historically been concentrated around major rapid-transit hubs; similarly, fare vending machines are clustered around rapid-transit stations. Under this initiative, the MBTA is acknowledging access to cards needs to increase, especially in communities with a higher reliance on buses.  

“The City is pleased to partner with the MBTA in an effort to expand use of the CharlieCard in Chelsea,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “Our residents are heavily dependent on public transportation, and the CharlieCard saves money on this essential service. So, we are prepared to do whatever we can to expand access to this cost-saving measure.”

The MBTA is looking to partner with nonprofit organizations or cities and towns to provide residents with CharlieCards, either blank or pre-loaded with a dollar amount for purchase. By providing easier access to CharlieCards, the T hopes to incentivize riders to use CharlieCards and fare vending machines throughout their travels, resulting in a savings of both time and money. Organizations and communities seeking to partner in this effort should contact MBTA Chief Customer Officer Danny Levy at

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