One reader thinks he knows why there are problems at the faregates
William of Wilmington chimed in last week about how best to use a CharlieCard, and we think he might be on to something.
For most of this month, folks have complained about the new T fare gates not accepting their CharlieCards. The T has come back, saying the system reported few problems, and we were left with a conundrum.
Then William wrote. Maybe the problem's not with the technology, though there have been problems, but with the instructions.
The key word the T uses with its CharlieCards is "tap," which means "to strike lightly." But Williams says this doesn't work, and it never has with proximity cards.
"Never mind the marketing people," wrote William. "Can we get past the idea that CharlieCards are magic wands? It's a proximity card and reader system.
"I've been using proximity cards for 20 years -- they used to be about three times as thick as a credit card, didn't bend, and the readers were slower because computers didn't run as fast back then," added William, who appears to love his caps lock key.
"THE BEST WAY TO USE A PROXIMITY CARD IS TO HOLD IT IN PLACE OVER THE READER UNTIL THE GATE OPENS.
"If people weren't 'tapping' their cards, they wouldn't have to do it three times before the gate opened. They wouldn't be confused as to why the fare machine isn't telling them the card has been updated with new funds.
"Don't wave, don't tap, HOLD THE CARD IN PLACE ON THE READER TARGET UNTIL THE TRANSACTION IS COMPLETE."