The MBTA's Charlie Crud continues to suck

This morning, as usual, I got to the train station at Roxbury Crossing and smacked my monthly pass (encased in one of those luggage ID holders attached to my messenger bag) against the allegedly smart reader on the Charlie Crud. Today, instead of letting me in, the gate flashed "PASS ALREADY USED." I tried a couple more times, same thing. So I held it up to the person in the Charlie Bubble (chubble?) and told her the reader said "PASS ALREADY USED." She asked what kind of pass it was, I said it was a monthly link pass. She said, "You can't use those more than once at the same station." I told her that I'd just gotten here, hadn't used my pass today, and was just trying to get on the train. She then told me, "Well, it's not working because you tried to do it without taking it out of that wallet. Here, go ahead on through the gate."

Except for how the thing works every other day without being taken out. Since, you know, this is the whole point of it. If they didn't want it to work through wallets and bags and things, why didn't they choose a chip that requires contact with the reader? And if the pass had in fact "not worked," why was the reader recognizing the thing as an MBTA pass at all? Maybe it's because my card holder is just fine, and your Charlie Crud is screwed up. Fuckers.


Lane said...

I agree the cards suck but you should try scanning it again -- it often says "See Attendant" on the first pass but for me but will read properly on the second. I use a stored-value card. I wonder if you're swiping too quickly -- you shouldn't tap but instead slide the card along the reader.

eeka said...

Yep, sometimes if you try it again, it works. Other times, it says "see attendant" the first time, then "pass already used" the next time.

It just really pisses me off when people blame something on a total bullshit excuse that's clearly illogical and can't possibly be correct. Just acknowledge that sometimes the machine doesn't work right and let me walk through the gate. Don't insist that you get through to me that I was using my pass wrong because you let me walk through the gate.

Kathy Podgers said...

I like the new (senior, access) tap card. true, it doesn't alwaws work properly, but it is difficult for me to dig out a small plastic card, fumble trying to insert, and often can't get the right side up.

The problem as I see it is with the "sass" one gets when requesting help.

eeka said...

Oh, yes, the MBTA folks are generally awful with giving people help. When they started having the new equipment (that sucks in the pass and spits it out), I called to inform them that this method was really inconvenient for people with poor balance/mobility like me, because I couldn't swipe it while it was on my keychain anymore, which means having to carry it loose and be pretty much screwed if I drop it. (It's hard for me to retrieve stuff from the ground, plus I'm likely to not notice that I dropped a weightless item when I'm also trying to walk and maneuver through a confined space.)

The person on the phone was really nice and said that I could continue to punch a hole in it, and at stations with the suck/spit thing, just ask the attendant to let me walk through. Yeah, didn't go over so well with the attendants. They insisted I take it off the keychain, even when I told them the person at the disability office had said they would let me walk through.

I'd be really curious to hear what's happened with people with no hand movement who've asked for help with the devices.