Then she boarded bus 2137 that had left Harvard Square for Dudley on the #66 route around 10:30 AM. The driver flat out refused to let her do it saying “Not on my bus lady, I can’t be bothered.” This was not a rush hour situation as there were perhaps 8 people on the bus and no one was waiting to board. This woman did EXACTLY what the T asks riders to do. From the T website it says
using on-board fareboxes to add stored-value can hold up boarding lines and cause transit delays. Consider loading value at full-service in-station fare vending machines or retail sales terminals prior to boarding. She did that and for her trouble wound up paying $1.75 more to get to work.
This is no small matter and it is something the T has to address NOW. This woman was now forced to spend $3.00 for 2 bus rides instead of $1.25 because the only way you can get a bus to bus transfer now is on a CharlieCard or a CharlieTicket that has value on it before you board. If you pay cash there is no transfer.
Now who really is at fault here? One can question the driver’s attitude but in the memo the drivers were given about the new changes the adding value at a farebox was not mentioned. In my opinion the driver was wrong but he is a product of the T’s culture towards customer service. Riders can complain and nothing ever changes.
The new fareboxes were designed to do this so obviously this is what the T wanted in the first place. For example in Chicago you can not add value to the Chicago Card on a bus, you have to go to an L station or retail location.
The T has to make a policy decision on this now and in fact if they want riders to have this option then the drivers have to be told it is the rule PERIOD. If they don’t want riders to do this then disable the option and take the instructions off the website.
The T is trying to instruct people to load up their cards before getting on a bus. On the #66 route they now have signs at every bus stop telling people where to go to do so. But the woman I mentioned tried to do so and was rebuffed. Yes everybody is trying to adjust to the new system and it will have growing pains. However there needs to be clear direction from T management on how things are implemented in the field. This is a prime example.
It really would be nice if the managers at 10 Park Plaza actually rode a bus once in awhile they might learn something about how public transit is supposed to work.