Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Two For One Special! Today Only!

I was doing my rounds today and found myself at Ashmont Station. The original platforms have been demolished and the temporary ones in place are made from two by fours, plywood, and roof tiling. Sounds safe enough to me! The platform now extends towards Codman Yard, almost into it in fact. There is also a new exit on the outbound platform to a side street where Tower Q used to stand.
Anyway, I wandered over to the faregates and asked the CSA (Customer Service Agent, the folks in the burgundy shirts) how things were going. And then the trouble started...

You see, all four of the CharlieCard Fare Vending Machines were broken! A software glitch prevented passengers from adding value to their CharlieCards. Don't have enough to get on the train? Well, you're going to have to buy a $2.00 CharlieTicket then. Or walk to the next stop, Shawmut. I'm sure their machines are working. Your choice. Naturally, the riders were less than happy about it.

Note that the "Add Value" icon is gray. Tap it, slap it, punch it; whatever you do will be in vain. It just isn't going to respond. The CSA eventually decided to let two people split the cost of a $2.00 CharlieTicket and go in together. Of course, many people were still mad about paying the extra $0.30 (and rightly so) when there was no one to go in with them. The CSA told me it had been like this since the start of service. That's about 5:00AM. He had called downtown, however it was a software problem not a mechanical problem. Thus the "Charlie Crew" could not fix it. Guess those IT guys must be pretty busy with all the computers down at Park Plaza.

So I did my part and explained to the passengers what was up and what their best option was. After that, I went onto the Mattapan Trolley to see how things were going...

I really expected to get a trolley with the wrong farebox code. For you see, off and on someone has been telling the trolley operators to program their fareboxes as Route 831. FYI, the subway and trolley lines all have route numbers like the buses (Orange Line = Route 903, Red Line = Route 931 or 933, etc.). On the Green Line and Mattapan Trolley, the routes are programed into the fareboxes so they charge the right fares and accept the correct transfers. As I was saying, misinformed operators were putting in Route 831. The problem? That is the farebox code for the C Branch of the Green Line! Thus, when you get off the Red Line at Ashmont going to Mattapan the farebox charges you extra. Dude, Cleveland Circle is no where near Ashmont! You definitely had to have left the system to get here. Many an extra $1.70 was lost in the confusion. But they got hip and started putting in Route 899, the Mattapan Trolley route number. But none of that nonsense today. The farebox had the right route number, it was just not accepting anything. No coins, no dollars, no transfers, no coconuts. Other than car 3262 (remember this car? It derailed on opening day) coming off the wire, not too bad a day. I'll have some PCC photos coming soon!

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