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"Unlimited" has its limits

In Boston last week, a guy named Gregory went into the subway terminal, then turned around and left when he remembered he'd left his cellphone in his office. He ran back to get it, then went back to the subway. He didn't have to worry about paying the fare twice, though -- he had shelled out $44.00 for a monthly pass.

Au contraire.

You see, in order to keep folks from simply handing their passes back across the gates for others to use, the MBTA puts a limit on the "unlimited" passes -- they cannot be used at the same station within 20 minutes. Gregory found his pass wouldn't work, so he tried a couple other gates at the station -- to no avail. Finally, he sought assistance from a couple friendly T workers.

Once Gregory explained the situation, the T workers exercised the modicum of common sense the situation called for and waved him through.

Whoops -- I forgot this was Boston. They told him that the rules were the rules, and he could wait for the 20 minutes to expire or pay the full fare. Disgusted, Gregory went through the gate anyway, chased by an employee who threatened to have him arrested.

The T is in full damage control mode, saying that the employee (I just can't bring myself to call the person a "worker") was in the wrong and promising a full investigation.

And I'm SURE that there will be a marked improvement in service by the time they're done.

Comments (7)

It sounds like most of the ... (Below threshold)

It sounds like most of the fault is with the passenger. If this is a new policy, maybe it wasn't publicized that well - I don't know. But if that happened to me here in NY, I would just wait the short while, or go to another station, or use a pay per ride card. The passenger here seems like a whiner.

Kind of reminds me of the K... (Below threshold)

Kind of reminds me of the Kingston Trio song M.T.A.

Hmmm.Looks like a ... (Below threshold)


Looks like a classic false advertising case or a bait and switch. Probably the former and very likely something that could be certified as a class action.

MBTA Monthly pass

There is literally nothing, that I could find, on the MBTA website that stipulated that there was a 20 minute wait before uses at any particular station.

Instead there are many repeated uses of the word "unlimited" and I believe there are specific legal ramifications for using that particular word.

It's not just Boston. The ... (Below threshold)

It's not just Boston. The CTA here in Chicago has the same rules about monthly passes, and the employees in Boston sound very similar to our wonderful transportation workers.

Occasionally in the winter the train doors freeze open or shut, slowing everything down considerably. One such winter a few years back I was on my way to work as soon as we entered the underground portion of the track going downtown, the doors wouldn't open. We waited on the train, which was already late, for 20 minutes before they got them open. I still had to wait two more stops to get to work, so I waited for them to start the train for another 10-15 minutes and got fed up, deciding to walk the last 6 blocks up on the freezing surface. Now, my boss was a hardass and now I was late and thus far unable to call because we were underground, so I went to the attendant booth to get a "late note". When the train is delayed the CTA attendant will give you a little yellow slip telling that it was and by how long. It's a stupid thing, but sometimes you need it. Anyway, this guy tells me the train was 5 minutes late, which it was, until it had reached that station and sat still for over half and hour. He refused to put anything but five minutes on the slip. I almost punched the guy, but ended up just taking his employee number and not doing anything about it later on.

Can Jay Tea say "boring"? ... (Below threshold)
viet vet:

Can Jay Tea say "boring"? It's sad/amazing/ how trivial Jay's and Kim's posts have become. As the president's approval ratings (32%) sink even lower than his IQ, Wizbang posts articles about someone's subway ride? How pathetic has it become for you guys that you're reduced to avoiding politics anymore?

Gregory should consider him... (Below threshold)

Gregory should consider himself lucky that he lives in Boston.

If he lived in London, the card wouldn't work anyway, and if he tried to run onto the platform or train, he'd probably be shot dead by a passing trigger-happy cop on the grounds that he looked suspicious, or Arab, or both!

Yes Jay, I agree with viet ... (Below threshold)

Yes Jay, I agree with viet vet....I don't want any light amusement/enetertainment here. I want to go through every moment of the day with furrowed brow. This post does not provide me ANY opportunity to hurl partisan or ideological epithets at opponents.

(I think a class action sounds delightfully mischievous).






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