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Charlie Card Goes Online

This article is more than 10 years old.

MBTA riders can now pay for their Charlie Cards online, the transit authority announced Wednesday.

New features on the T's website, mbta.com, will allow customers to add value to Charlie Cards, set up recurring monthly pass purchases, and register cards for loss and damage protection.

"This is smart, user-friendly technology that not only allows customers the convenience of managing their Charlie Card accounts online," said MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas in a statement, "but, also provides a safety net for customers."

The MBTA introduced Charlie Cards in December 2006. Riders requested online options early on, and T officials promised the automated fare collection system would allow web-based payment and account management.

The features took three years to launch, T officials said, in order to address rider concerns regarding sharing personal financial information with the authority.

The new system allows users to add money to Charlie Cards anonymously. Credit card information will be verified with the bank upon purchase, but not stored in MBTA databases. Online purchases made before midnight will be available for use after 5 a.m. the following morning.

Other options include creating a MyCharlie Account online. Users can cancel lost or stolen cards, and manage multiple cards through a single account. T officials say lost or stolen cards will be replaced, with their existing stored value, within three to five days at no charge. Monthly passes can also be automatically purchased five days before the end of the month.

MBTA officials say no other transit agency offers as many customizable options.

However, the options exist in different combinations at other major metropolitan public transit authorities. New York's MTA and the Washington Metro have online fare payment systems. San Francisco's BART offered open source scheduling data in 2007 and now boasts more than a dozen third party applications for trip management.

This program aired on July 29, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Meghna Chakrabarti Twitter Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.

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