Farewell to the Token

Charlie has infected the MBTA to the point where they are now refusing to sell T tokens—as if the Charlified subway stations were the only places tokens came in handy. There are plenty of situations where it’s easier to use a token ($1.25 at the size of a pfennig, as discovered by an exchange student who dropped the latter into turnstiles until she got caught), for example when you need to get $1.25 into a Charlie card reader on an overpriced bus with no Charlie ticket-selling machines for miles around—one coin at a time, because the slot only takes one coin at a time.

That’s what I used tokens for until they stopped selling them to me at Government Center. Despite their party over the last token, they haven’t actually installed any vending machines there yet, and the Charlie-style turnstiles aren’t plugged in for some unknown reason. So you have to pay them in cash (or tokens, if you stocked up) if you don’t have a pass. Charile only knows what they do to commuters who actually have CharlieCards or non-pass CharlieTickets.

Probably they wave them through. Fare collection is at an all-time low across the system. Of course it’s always been nominal on the Green Line, but I’ve only paid in full for about half my pricey bus rides to the ‘burbs this month. Mostly the driver waved us past Charlie because he’s slower than a traffic jam on 93 (when he’s not completely toast from the Rainbow Screen of Death).

Then there’s this one driver who never sets the machine to the right price, so I’ve gotten a few 25 or 35 cent bonuses on those runs. He even tried to give me a 35 cent CharileTicket as a refund for my last token. I looked at the poor guy like he was trying to sell me a squid. What would I do with it? Save up four of them and run them through Charlie one at a time? The other commuters would lynch me.

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