BOSTON (CBS) – Lawrence Brayman knows the frustration of waiting to get onto an MBTA bus. “Sometimes you see a good amount of people waiting in line outside the bus handling cash. I find it quicker if people use passes and Charlie Cards,” said Brayman.
Cash is about to become a thing of the past when boarding buses and trolleys as the MBTA moves to a cashless system where passengers can use smartphones or credit cards swiped against a pad installed at all vehicle doors or at stations.
“That would imply everybody has smartphones. That would limit things for people who don’t have that technology,” said rider Bevin Rives.
In fact, the MBTA says if you have to use cash, you can use it at what will be newly installed payments machines that will be more plentiful than the current number of Charlie Card stations, and available at a number of convenience stores so no passenger is actually paying on board.
But riders like Andreas Zorilla like the electronic option. “While you’re putting money into a Charlie Card the train sometimes comes and you miss it,” Zorilla said.
David Block-Schachter, the MBTA Chief Technology Officer, says it will also improve service. “By removing cash from on board vehicles you can increase speeds ten percent on buses and green line vehicles,” he says.
It’s a move to modernize that some long-time riders admit they’ll have to get used to. “I do have a credit card but I don’t like to use it for everything,” said Louise Baxter. “I’m afraid of using it and losing it and keeping track of payments.”
The MBTA Fiscal Control board Monday approved the $723-million contract but riders won’t see the new system in place until at least 2020.