Friday, December 01, 2006

God help the Green Line

So the much-ballyhooed MBTA "CharlieCard" is due for a head-on collision with us starting next Monday. This is the RFID-based "smartcard" for fare collection...the final stage of the process that killed off the not-quite-beloved "T Tokens".

I dig the idea of smartcards, but I gotta say the entire process has been a giant fiasco. Two glaring issues bubble up the I dealt with this morning. The first is that the automated gates are way too easy to fool; you can squeeze three or four people through in one opening of the gate and the gate has no idea. Prevent fare-loss my ass.

Second is this morning's Green Line trolley had one of those new fareboxes that are complete crap because you have to carefully feed in the coins one at a time. No easy task when there's a queue of a dozen angry commuters behind you, and you're wearing winter gloves. The dollar bill accepter is very similar to a vending machines' and you all know how well those damn things work. It's basically saying "if you want to pay cash, go take a taxi and get the f**k off the subway".

Fortunately I possess a monthly pass which is a pretty quick swipe-n-go. But the poor bastard in front of me was still trying to put his coins in after he'd gotten on at the stop before mine! Finally the T driver shooed him away saying "Let's get a move on - it's Friday!" Prevent fare loss my ass, again!

Sigh I'd like to think the MBTA is at least trying to make things better. Between the fare increases and this crap, I somehow doubt that's the case. :-(

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