Despite my recent post on the accidental merits of the MBTA, I have recanted my previous opinion that the T is occasionally worthy of my love. Last week I once again found myself without enough money on my card for a round-trip. I had $1.70 and added another $1.70 at the Symphony stop. A person walked through the T gates and I tapped my card after him and proceeded to walk through. When you tap your card the gates make one of two noises. If it reads your card and deducts the fare you hear a pleasant chime sound as the gates open. If it is unable to read your card or you don't have enough money it makes a loud and obnoxious beeping sound at you. On this particular occasion it made both noises simultaneously. I paused for a second, confused by hearing both sounds at once, before walking through the gates which had remained open from the last guy to walk through.
Once through the gates I looked straight into the face of an old and very angry looking MBTA officer. He was sitting in the enclosed booth on the other side and without speaking a word he made it abundantly clear that I should walk back through the gate. I hadn't looked at the screen on the gate to see if money had been taken from me but the man continued to twirl his stubby finger in the air while glaring at me so I walked back out. The gates closed and I tapped my card a second time to hear the familiar chime, only my balance appeared on the screen appeared as $0.00. I walked up to the angry man and told him that the gate took my money twice. He simply stared back at me, although his gaze had softened somewhat from the harsh stare I had received earlier. "The gate took my money twice. You made me walk back through and it took my money both times." The man neither spoke nor moved to show that he had even heard me. I could hear the T as it ducked under Huntington Avenue and slowed down to approach the station. "Are you going to do something?" I asked him.
At hearing this he finally stood up and opened the door to the booth. I was then lectured for walking too close to the person in front of me. The T had arrived and the doors were opening which cut his lecture short. He took a folded piece of paper from his pocket and thrust it into my hand. I jogged over to the T and got on before the doors closed. As the train started to move I unfolded the paper, expecting to find a Charlie ticket loaded with $2. That would be giving far too much credit to the MBTA for customer service. The paper was a customer service form which I am supposed to fill out and mail in along with my Charlie card. It's not worth the effort or the 42 cent stamp. While some might utter the cliché of "you win some, you lose some," I refuse to submit so easily. I will keep this blog updated as my battle against the MBTA continues. Viva la revolucion!