Christina Wallace in the Friday METRO may have a more accurate read on the numbers released by the T yesterday.
Since the beginning of January, 1.2 million CharlieCards have been distributed and approximately 86 percent of boardings during that month have been with the card or a monthly pass as opposed to the Charlie Ticket. That means, out of 22 million boardings in January, 19 million were made with CharlieCards or passes. “To get this result in 30 days is pretty remarkable,” said MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas, during yesterday’s board meeting.Ok that is a big difference in what the Globe reported as it does account for the CharlieTicket monthly passes. Wallace however came up with a much higher number of CharlieCards being in circulation saying the number is 1,200,000 over the Globe's number of 575,000. This would indicate that over 50% of the cards that have been handed out since December 4th are not being used.
However I still find the 86% boarding number cited by the T as being high simply from the number of passengers using the vending machines on a daily basis.
UPDATE 10:30 AM
The T has taken the Mac Daniel story off their website.
UPDATE 9:45 AM Friday
The print edition of the Globe has a more in depth article on the first month of the Charlie system and there is a significant change in wording from what first appeared on boston.com on Thursday and is still on the T website. Mac Daniel now writes
Based on the statistics released yesterday, by the end of January, 86 percent of T riders were using CharlieCards and 14 percent used CharlieTickets or paid cash and had to pay the surcharge. Grabauskas hopes to lower the percentage of people who rely on the paper tickets in the next several months.
The 86% figure still seems to be too high given the fact that many monthly passes in January were still CharlieTickets and all Commuter Rail and Express Buses passes still are tickets.The article in the print edition also focuses on the T's claim that fare evasion is being stopped by the new system
The T, which previously projected that the new system would boost revenues 3 percent, now expects a jump of 9 percent -- or about $21 million -- in fare collections by the end of this fiscal year, June 30.
That increase is over and above the 25 percent fare increase that took place Jan. 1, MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas said. "The numbers that we have seem to indicate strongly that fare evasion was greater throughout the system than we thought," he said.
The effort to curb fare evasion is being helped by additional security cameras , new, higher fare gates, and more T "ambassadors," who assist passengers in learning the new pay method but also are alert to people trying to jump the gates
I showed this article a few minutes ago to workers at Harvard Square and their reaction was laughter.
I think the system is collecting more revenue but fare evasion wasn't the problem. One of the main reasons the T wanted "Automatic Fare Collection" was the documented fact that T employees were robbing the system blind at the T's counting room in Charlestown. Also with the new fareboxes on the bus and trolleys dollar bills can actually be recorded which was not possible with the old fareboxes.
As far as fare evasion is concerned I have seen more people pass through faregates without paying in the last month than I have ever seen before. It is much easier just to follow somebody through a gate. A CSA isn't going to do anything unless the Transit Police happens to be there.
Original post from Thursday night 2/8/07 11:45 PM
The T is using a story by Mac Daniel on boston.com as an official press release
This story, written by Mac Daniel, appeared in the Boston Globe on February 8, 2007.
Numbers for the first month of CharlieCard usage show that despite fare increases the T's new automated system is being quickly adapted by riders, with 575,000 of the plastic cards in circulation after the program's first 30 days.
By comparison, the Chicago Transit Authority's ChicagoCard had 372,000 in circulation as of December, nearly four years after its introduction for bus and subway service.
The use of the CharlieCards has also seemed to change the way people pay to ride on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subways, buses, and trolleys. For the first time in the authority's history, the new fare card has made credit and debit card transactions account for more than 40 percent of the T's revenue.
"We have exceeded our expectations for the first 30 days," MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas said today in a telephone interview.
In January, 86 percent of T riders used CharlieCards and paid the lowest amount under the new fare structure. About 14 percent of riders paid a new surcharge by using CharlieTickets or paying cash, a number Grabauskas said he want to lower in the next several months.
In addition, 87 percent of all bus passengers used the low-fare CharlieCards, while 13 percent of riders paid a surcharge. On Green Line surface stops, 96 percent paid with CharlieCards and 4 percent paid a surcharge.
OK what the article DOESN'T tell you about Chicago.
Chicago Cards cost $ 5.00 and are only good for Pay-Per-Use fares or a 30-Day Pass.
While the Chicago Card does offer a .25 cent discount on the 'L a regular farecard ( similar to the CharlieTicket) has the same value on a bus and transfers are issued. Chicago bus riders have not warmed to the Chicago Card since a trip and transfer is still $2.00 when boarding on a bus ( it is $ 2.25 when boarding at a rail station )
Chicago Card info
Reading the Chicago blogs the problem is the Chicago Cards have an alarming failure and it takes about a week to process a replacement unless you travel to the CTA office in the Loop.
Plus the monthly and weekly passes are still offered by CTA Transit Card for the same price so there is no compelling reason to switch to the card.
This statement from Grabauskas can not be true
In January, 86 percent of T riders used CharlieCards and paid the lowest amount under the new fare structure. About 14 percent of riders paid a new surcharge by using CharlieTickets or paying cash, a number Grabauskas said he want to lower in the next several months. In addition, 87 percent of all bus passengers used the low-fare CharlieCards, while 13 percent of riders paid a surcharge. On Green Line surface stops, 96 percent paid with CharlieCards and 4 percent paid a surcharge.It can't be true for the simple reason that many January passes were issued on CharlieTicket stock as the retail locations had not been converted. I think anybody who has ridden a bus or the subway in the past month would find these figures out of whack at least for January.
Of course the T is being cute with this. Instead of issuing a press release on their own they simply republish the Globe article by Mac Daniel.
Mac you have been had. Any commuter will tell you these figures are not correct.