Today being the first workday under the new fare structure my observations indicated by and large that things went well during the morning rush hour. A major reason for this was the fine work by the Customer Service Agents deployed at the stations. The CSA’s armed with a stack of CharlieCards in their hands did their best to make sure nobody was forced to pay the extra fare by not having a CharlieCard. The T got this right.
I rode outbound to Chestnut Hill on the B line and I found the drivers were incredibility patient in trying to explain to riders that they now must pay to go outbound. Some riders were understandably grumpy by this as this changes a system that has been in place on the Green Line for at least 30 years.
The fare inspectors I observed on both the B and D lines were very polite in dealing with riders. I observed one potential problem that the T will need to address. A rider got on the train at Copley and at Harvard Avenue he was asked to show his proof of payment and he produced a CharlieCard that had no value on it. He explained he paid $1.70 at Copley but the scanner on the inspectors wrist only showed that their was no value on the card. My best guess is that the inspectors will be instructed only to ask riders they see getting on the train above ground.
I would suggest to the monthly pass holders on the “D line” who have their pass on the CharlieCard to use the validators which are located at every stop as you will be issued a receipt will prove you have paid. Riders who are paying a single fare by either CharlieTicket or CharlieCard can also use the validation machines which deduct the fare and issue a recepit. Monthly pass holders who were given a CharlieTicket have no reason to use the validaters for now but expect this to change once the Commuter Rail switches to CharlieCard. When that occurs all monthly passes will then be on CharlieCard system wide.
There is a major learning curve for all of us in this switchover but today was an indication the system will work once riders get used to it.