Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The CharlieCard problem on the Express Buses

Just got a e-mail from someone who works at the Harvard University News Office and they have had a very trying day with riders who found their pass didn't work this morning when taking the one of the express buses.

The problem is simple to explain but how the T (or the employer) plans to correct it remains to be seen.

This link is the information Harvard University sent to employees concerning the new system. (PDF). It states that anyone who had a SUBWAY, COMBO or COMBO PLUS pass in 2006 would be automatically converted to a LINK PASS in 2007.

Mass General Hospital did the same thing.

For the riders who simply used the Rapid Transit lines everything was fine but the express bus riders found that their passes were rejected by the new fareboxes. The problem stems from the fact that between 2004 and the end of 2006 the T's Combo pass was accepted for payment on the express buses. It was only supposed to offer a $2.20 discount on the express bus but that was never enforced.

Monthly Combo Pass – $71
The monthly Combo Pass entitles the holder to unlimited travel on almost all rapid transit service and all local bus service.
Unlimited travel on the Green, Orange, Blue and Silver lines
Unlimited boarding on the Red Line except Quincy Adams and Braintree. (Exit fare at Quincy Adams and Braintree still apply)
Unlimited travel on all regular local, zoned local and Crosstown (CT) bus routes
Unlimited travel within Commuter Rail zones 1A and 1B
$2.20 discount on express bus routes

Monthly Combo Plus Pass – $79
The monthly Combo Plus Pass entitles the holder to unlimited travel on all rapid transit service, all local bus service, and inner harbor ferry service.
Unlimited travel on the Blue, Orange, Red, Green and Silver lines
Unlimited travel on all local, zoned local and Crosstown (CT) bus routes Unlimited travel within Commuter Rail zones 1A and 1B
Unlimited travel on inner harbor ferries
$2.50 discount on express bus routes

Now under the 2007 fare schedule you have

Inner Express Bus
$89/month Unlimited travel on Inner Express Bus PLUS all Subway, Local Bus, Inner Harbor Ferry, and Commuter Rail Zone 1A.

Bus routes: 170, 325, 326, 351, 424, 426, 428, 434, 441, 442, 448, 449, 450, 455, 459, 501, 502, 503, 504, 553, 554, 555, 556, and 558.

Outer Express Bus
$129/month Unlimited travel on Outer Express Bus PLUS all Inner Express Bus, Local Bus, Subway, Inner Harbor Ferry, and Commuter Rail Zone 1A.

Bus routes: 352, 354, 355, 500, 505.

But unless you told your employer to change the plan you received a Link pass which is not valid on the express buses.

So it is easy to see how the mistake was made as it is clear the employers were not given clear and concise information on the pass changes. Now what remains to be seen is will the T decide to honor the passes that were issued for one month and make sure everybody has the right pass next month? Harvard and Partners are 2 of the biggest employers the T deals with and they can not be happy this evening.


Anonymous said...

I am a Partners employee. There was zero information provided by MBTA or Partners prior to the first of the year on what changes were coming and, of course, my January charlie card was not accepted on the 501 bus.

Now its the 1st of Feb. and I still have not received the correct charliecard.

Right now I am very annoyed and I really miss the BART out in the bay area.

MBTA you have not impressed me. Get your stuff together!

And for God sakes, someone teach the bus drivers about proper braking techniques and how to accelerate without passengers falling over or blowing out their knees while trying to keep their balance as drivers race through the streets of Boston.

Anonymous said...

To my fellow anonymous commenter above:

Your post is an unequivocal untruth. Ask your HR departmenr, or better yet, ask Partners financial or management folks if they met with the MBTA about "changes that were coming". As Charlie has already quoted above, seems like you were notified. Nevertheless, ask around, you'll be surprised at what you might learn.

Since your HR department orders your pass, I'd say your lack of "correct charliecard" is a problem with your HR department, not anyone else.