Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Slight Departure...

...from my normal raging.
It seems that this CharlieCard thing is actually good.
I know, I can't believe it either.
While the CharlieTicket makes sense vs. tokens and cash, it's still incredibly slow to use since it has to be fed into the fare gate.
Oddly, London Underground uses a similar ticket system, but they engineered it so the the ticket screams out of the machine and the gates open immediately.
So I went into South Station, walked up to the window, asked for one of the new (semi, i.e.; 3-5 year lifespan) permanent CharlieCards, got it (free, which I'm sure is temporary), put cash on it, and went on my way.
It's great to just tap the card on the sensor. Getting on a bus takes a second, and the gates on the subway open with no delay.

Now don't fuck it up, MBTA.


Anonymous said...

Wow this is quite a departure from the normal raging of "The Transport Avenger"!

paul said...

3-5 years? I think someone pulling your leg about that one. If the London experience is anything to go by 3-5 months might be nearer the mark. O.K. I'm exaggerating a little, but I've gone through two Oyster Cards (our Charlie Card) in a year, and I fear my current one is on the way out.

While we are on the subject Oyster cards are still quicker than paper tickets, maybe be not by much, but its still noticeable in the rush hour. Of course all this means is you get to have your face squashed in someone else's armpit 0.5 seconds earlier. Complaining Boston commuters should note that the gangway on a tube train is half the width (or less) of the equivalent on the T (well on proper e.g red line trains. Those tram/bus things pretending to be trains are just plain weird.) We do get plush seats though.

If you think thats bad consider this. Our new years fare hike means that travel in Central London on the tube will cost approx $8, flat rate, without an Oyster Card and between $3 & $7 with depending where you are going. The tube has always been more expensive but they have been steadily ratcheting up the differential (& cash prices) since the introduction of the Oyster card so be warned.

transport avenger said...

That's what the T claims anyway, which I imagine is stats from the vendor.
2 Oysters in a year though? What are doing, chucking them in with your wash?
I've had an RFID card for work for 5 years, and it's still going.

I'm guessing you are presently in London.
I've not had the chance to use the Oyster, the last time I was there was in 2001 and just got the normal paper tickets.
That's what I meant in the Underground comparison, not the Charlie vs. the Oyster.
Really though, the gates here open at the same time as the card is tapped, no delay, but the paper tickets make you wait until it's been read, popped out the top, half a sec, and then the gates open.

The first time I came back from London and stepped on the Red Line, I couldn't believe the size difference.
I think our Blue Line trains are a similar width to the tube trains (at least on the deep level lines).

Yes, your system does cost much, much more than ours, and has the zone system. Curiously, we had a zone-type system on the 'D' Green line, but now it's all the one fare.

TfL also does not seem to have an public hearing process for raising fares every year. Red Ken does what he wants.