Sunday, November 11, 2007

The T is Insanely Stupid

Warning: personal rant.

With these new Charley Tickets that people have to buy, there are several default options for purchasing prepaid ticketed amounts: $5, $10, I think $20 and a "choose other," which I'm not going to pick when I'm in a rush, with 15 other people standing in line. A month or two ago, I picked the $5 amount because I almost never use the T. So, a few fortnights later, I'm in Brookline at my friend's house and we decide to go to the movies, at the Commons. We hop on the Green Line, I put my months-old pass in and now have a dollar left. I get out of the movie, buy another pass to get back to Brookline, but first put the old ticket into the machine to wipe off that dollar, only to find out you can't do that. That dollar is now completely useless, yet the $5 dollar prepaid amount exists (as opposed to one that makes sense for two rides, like $4). Talk about putting a sour taste in my mouth!

I'm not one to squabble over a dollar. I've never been the extremely-frugal type. However, if the T says something cost two dollars, then it shouldn't secretly make sure people spend more than that for the same, crappy service, especially people who aren't regular riders and don't like to be hoodwinked (that's not a good way to recruit more riders, after all). There's absolutely no wonder why I choose not to take the T into town when I visit my friends: if I'm not being cheated out of more money for the same service, then I'm waiting forever for my train to get there. Or I'm waiting for the train to start moving again. Or standing in those crappy, new Green Line trams that make absolutely, positively no sense at all - with fewer seats and less real-time room, because people always congregate toward the doors in the T, so all that extra space that they supposedly have is completely useless.

Furthermore, when it costs $4 to ride round trip, more for parking (since I'd have to drive to Wonderland) and takes way longer, driving unfortunately makes too much sense. It's cheaper, quicker and more convenient, especially when I'm driving to places with plenty of parking. Believe me, I'd rather save the environment and skip the drive into the city when there should be adequate public transportation, but it's a sad fact that the state legislature and Team Charley are just complete idiots when it comes to public transportation, doing everything they possibly can to make sure as few people use it as possible.

We need cheap, reliable and comfortable public transportation. To get people to abandon their cars, public transportation has to be a better option than driving. That means the state is going to have to chip more in to make it happen - even if it requires demanding a little bit more out of the businesses that reap all the benefits of public trans, yet pay almost none of its costs. I'm also leaning toward 'fire the lot' in charge of the T and hire people that actually give a crap about public transportation to oversee the MBTA, would anyone disagree? Screw Charley.


Laurel said...

i thought that those tickets were rechargeable. so, you should be able to load another buck onto that paper ticket at a charlie card station to bring it up to full fare.

Ryan Adams said...

They have Charley cards that are rechargable, but I don't think the tickets are. I'll definately look into that, though. It's still a stupid policy - they should just do it so you charge for a certain amount of rides, instead of dollars. Or at least make dollars coincide with rides, likely making ticket prices be in multiples of 4.

Joel Patterson said...

I feel your pain, Ryan.

A bus driver explained to me the deal with the tickets. Take your ticket with $1 on it, put it in a machine, add whatever value you want to it, and you are in business again. A new card will be extruded with the $1 plus any added value.

The tickets are rechargeable. But I recommend picking up a stored value card--just ask a T employee for one.

BTW, I don't think you can transfer money from one ticket to a card, and I definitely know you can't combine leftover value on two different tickets to one ticket.

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