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Salem Partners with MBTA to Increase Access to CharlieCards

Posted on August 22, 2019

CharlieCards now available at Mayor Jean A. Levesque Community Life Center, Salem Public Library, and Salem’s Parking Department

Tapping a CharlieCard on a bus

Today the MBTA announced an initiative with the City of Salem to increase the availability of CharlieCards to residents who rely on public transportation. 

Under the initiative, free no-balance CharlieCards are available at the following Salem locations: 

  • Mayor Jean A. Levesque Community Life Center: 401 Bridge Street, Salem, MA 01970
  • Salem Public Library: 370 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970
  • Salem Parking Department: Within the Downtown Parking Garage: 1 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA 01970.

Stored value and passes can be added to these CharlieCards at the Shaw’s Supermarket located at 11 Traders Way, Salem, MA 01970. Additional retail sales locations can be found at With a CharlieCard in hand, customers can also add stored value online, add a monthly pass online, and sign up for an online MyCharlie account

The City of Salem joins a growing list of Cities and Towns partnering with the MBTA to increase access to CharlieCards:

  • The City of Chelsea partnered with the MBTA in January 2019 with CharlieCards pre-loaded with $5 as well as free no-balance CharlieCards available in the Treasury Office of Chelsea City Hall.
  • The Town of Watertown partnered with the MBTA in July 2019 with free no-balance CharlieCards available in Watertown Town Hall and the Watertown Free Public Library.
  • CharlieCards available in the City of Lynn are also coming soon.

“I want to thank the City of Salem for partnering with the T to help expand access to CharlieCards,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “This initiative aims to increase the availability of CharlieCards throughout our system so MBTA customers can take advantage of lower fares available through the CharlieCard. We hope this allows the T to be even more accessible for our customers.” 

“The City of Salem is excited to partner with the MBTA to provide locations in our community where folks can get CharlieCards,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “We are committed to expanding our residents’ access to multiple modes of transit – from the commuter rail and bus to micro-mobility, and from water transportation to safer streets for bikes and pedestrians. As we prepare to launch the pilot phase of our own local shuttle service, broadening Salem residents’ ability to access commuter rail is a critical part of our ongoing effort to encourage people to consider alternatives to single-passenger vehicles. From a climate change perspective, a congestion perspective, and a wellness perspective, easy access to alternative modes of transportation is essential.”

Unlike CharlieTickets, CharlieCards are reusable plastic cards that can be routinely loaded with stored cash value or 1-day, 7-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. 

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 continues to acknowledge that access to cards needs to increase, especially in communities with a higher reliance on buses.  

The MBTA hopes 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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