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CharlieCard Access Initiative

CharlieCards decrease transit costs for MBTA riders. We are making these cost-saving cards more accessible.

Update: For the duration of the MBTA Orange Line shutdown, there is no charge for the commuter rail for anyone holding a CharlieCard — even if it is unloaded! 

You can pick up CharlieCards at all Boston Public Library locations, Boston City Hall, and these BCYF community center locations:

Initiative details


Image for charliecard

The price of an MBTA trip depends on several things: 

  • Mode - bus, subway, trolley, commuter rail
  • Type of service - express, local
  • Discount qualifications - student, youth, seniors
  • Payment type - single trip, weekly pass, monthly pass
  • Payment medium - cash, CharlieTicket, CharlieCard

We're focused on getting riders as discounted a trip as possible. For that reason, we want to make access to the most cost-saving payment method, the CharlieCard, easy and convenient. 

Before the Initiative went into affect

You could only get a CharlieCard by:

  • going to the Downtown Crossing pass sales office
  • ordering one online
  • receiving one from your place of employment
  • asking an MBTA station attendant, or
  • using the MBTA's online portal to find a retail vendor near you that offers them. 

These access points were not evenly distributed across the City. The locations benefitted people who worked Downtown or had easy access to subway stations and chain retailers.

Thanks to the CharlieCard Access Initiative:
  • CharlieCards are available at all Boston Public Library locations, as well as at Boston City Hall.
  • These cards are unloaded and free to all who request one.
  • Check out the access location maps below and ask your librarian how and where to add value to your card.

By partnering with Boston Public Libraries, the City and the MBTA have increased access across Boston. With this partnership, we also sought to consolidate civic information. Our libraries are places that Boston residents should feel confident and comfortable visiting to learn about City opportunities.

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