MBTA

Contactless payment comes to the MBTA on Aug. 1

CharlieCards and paper tickets will still be sold and accepted, but commuters will gain additional options with the launch of so-called contactless payment

No CharlieCard, no problem.

Starting Aug. 1, MBTA riders will be able to tap a credit card or mobile wallet to pass through subway gates or board above-ground trolleys and buses, officials announced Tuesday.

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CharlieCards and paper tickets will still be sold and accepted, but commuters will gain additional options with the launch of so-called contactless payment. The change could also speed up the boarding process on trolleys and buses by allowing multi-door boarding and minimizing the need to reload a pass with cash.

The change marks the first major phase to go live in a delayed, over-budget project revamping how the MBTA collects fares. Officials in May agreed to a contract change with vendor Cubic that put the total cost at $926 million and the final end date in June 2027, forecasting at the time that contactless payment would become available at some point during this summer.

Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt said the new system is "part of the next generation of transportation that our riders deserve."

"I've seen directly at other transit properties and heard firsthand from many riders about the importance of contactless payment and how it would greatly enhance the experience of using mass transit," added MBTA General Manager Phil Eng. "Last year this project needed a course correction and I'm proud of the progress made to deliver this important amenity for our riders, bringing our payment system for our bus and subway system into the 21st century."

The contactless payment announcement was made on the same day that the T threw open fare gates on the Red Line and let riders use the system without paying any fare in acknowledgment of the disruption on the line during the morning's commute. The T said Red Line service would be free from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Copyright State House News Service
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