Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Discarded CharlieTickets will find a good home tomorrow

For those of you following the saga of my discarded CharlieTicket project:

Yesterday, I brought 50 CharlieTickets worth $67.85 to the Charlie office in Downtown Crossing station. In return, I got a CharlieCard with all of that value on it -- but it took 45 minutes for them to do it. I then added 15 cents to it so that it has an even number of subway rides (40).

Tomorrow morning, I'll donate this card to the Somerville Homeless Coalition. They have assured me that they will find a client who can use the card.

Below the break: A guide to finding discarded CharlieTickets with value.

- If the ticket says "ADULT Stored Value" in big letters, it was bought in 2006 or even 2005, before the fare increase. These very likely have value remaining. For instance, if someone bought a $5 ticket and took three $1.25 subway rides last year, the ticket still has $1.25 on it. If he took one $1.25 ride last year and one $2.00 ride this year, it still has $1.75 on it.

- If the ticket's initial value was $5, it is likely to still have $1 on it, after being used for two $2 subway rides. Unfortunately, the fare machines make it very easy to buy a $5 ticket.

- If the ticket was bought with an initial value less than $2, or for a strange amount like $3.40, the buyer probably didn't understand the fare system properly and left some or all of the value unused.

- If the initial value was exactly $2, it isn't worth looking at because it was probably used for a single subway ride.


Charlie said...


Ron that was very kind of you to do that

Anonymous said...

45 minutes! Holy crap!

What exactly did they do for that long? Even if their machines aren't set up to combine cards, and they have to feed each of the 50 tickets into a machine to get its balance and add them up using a pocket calculator, I can't see it taking more than 5 minutes for someone quick, or 15 for someone slow.

All they had to do to solve this probelm was to *remove* the line of vending machine software code that distinguishes between ChangeTickets and regular CharlieTickets, since the machines let you combine ChangeTickets.