A few suggestions to the T in helping riders adjust to the new system. We are not trying to criticise the T on everything they do but simply offer suggestions and point out how other transit systems have coped with situations.
The T really needs to publish a CharlieCard brochure in Spanish or if they have to really get it out into the stations. While the vending machines themselves have Spanish instructions I get the sense that many riders who don’t speak or read English have any idea about the savings the CharlieCard offers.
The T needs to take a trip to Chicago to see first hand how the CTA uses smartcards on the bus system. What the CTA has done is so simple yet it cuts boarding time IN HALF on their major bus routes. Most of the newer CTA buses have installed smartcard readers to the left of the door as you board. Passengers with the ChicagoCard simply touch the card reader and board the bus and not be forced to wait for passengers that must use the farebox.
The other thing that Chicago has done concerning smartcards is that every farebox and faregate has a decal of the ChicagoCard on the card reader itself that indicates at a glance where to touch your card. It would be very simple for the T to put a picture of Charlie on the black target.
The T also needs to give CharlieCards to the bus drivers so they can pass them out to riders who don’t go to a subway station.
I observed some confusion at the Porter Square commute rail this morning with conductors over the LinkPass and the Zone 1-A passes. While both passes cost $59 there is a MAJOR difference.
The Zone 1-A pass which can be used at Porter, West Medford, Malden, Chelsea, Ruggles, Forest Hills, Uphams Corner and Morton Street for commuter rail and is also good on the Inner Harbor ferries plus unlimited bus (with the exception of the outer bus express service) and subway. The LinkPass is only good for unlimited bus and subway. For now at least MBCR conductors have been told NOT to accept the LinkPass. Since they are exactly the same price they should be interchangeable.
Speaking of MBCR they need to update their website as many of their links are looking for the old T website and when you click you get the “Error 404 We apologize but the page you are looking for no longer exists.”