The MBTA doesn’t want my money — March 15, 2010

The MBTA doesn’t want my money

One thing I’ve always found weird about the T is that you can’t buy a monthly pass whenever you want. Suppose that on the last day of February, I decided that I wanted to get a monthly pass for February. That’s $60. Surely no one in his right mind would do that, right? But suppose I wanted to. Why would the MBTA stop me from giving them $60 for a day’s worth of rides?

Likewise, I have this habit where, if I get a small windfall (a particularly large contracting check, say), I try to find upcoming expenses that I should pay so that the money doesn’t burn a hole in my pocket. So I was in the T station the other day and decided that I’d put April’s T pass on my CharlieCard. The machine told me that I couldn’t do this, because only tickets up to March were available.

Suppose I wanted to buy passes a year in advance. Why wouldn’t the MBTA want that? They’d get about 720 of my hard-earned dollars, which they could put in a bank and earn interest on. I guess they’d have to add a bit more code to their kiosks, but that seems like a small price to pay.

While they’re at it, how about allowing recurring payments through their website, so that I don’t even *have to* interact with their kiosks?

Oh, and also: how about having their commuter-rail-ticket-dispensing machines ask you which *town* you’re going to, rather than which *zone?* I have no idea which towns are in which zones.