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Expiring Charlie Card? [Sep. 16th, 2011|06:41 pm]
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[ron_newman]
When I tap my CharlieCard to the vending machine and look at details, it says that the card (and all of its stored value) will expire on October 31, 2011. I don't see any way to extend this lifetime, nor do I understand why it needs to expire when it still works perfectly well. I'm reluctant to add any more stored value (it now has $6.80).

An e-mail to custserv@charliecard.com elicited a reply (from ctsservice.com == Cubic Corporation, not the MBTA!) saying CharlieCards expire after 5 years. CharlieCard was introduced in December 2006, so that's going to hit a lot of people very soon. I'm not even getting the full 5 years from mine.

Has anyone else encountered this?

ETA: I don't currently have a monthly pass. The machine separately shows the date when my last monthly pass expired, which was a long time ago.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: myselftheliar
2011-09-16 10:48 pm (UTC)

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That's just the next time your pass ends. When you buy a Nov pass, it will say the end of Nov and so forth.
[User Picture]From: myselftheliar
2011-09-16 10:49 pm (UTC)

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Unless I am way off the mark and you don't have a monthly. Then it's silly!
[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-16 10:51 pm (UTC)

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I don't have a monthly pass. Just stored value. The machine shows separately when my last monthly pass expired, which was a long time ago.

(btw, I edited my post some after you saw it)

Edited at 2011-09-16 10:53 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: myselftheliar
2011-09-16 11:08 pm (UTC)

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Wow then it's just weeeeeeeeird.
[User Picture]From: bikergeek
2011-09-16 11:02 pm (UTC)

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I had read, back-when, that CharlieCards were intended to expire because unredeemed fares have to be accounted for on the T's books as a liability. In the era of subway tokens, each token that was sitting on someone's dresser or in a coin jar somewhere was equivalent to a liability of the value of one subway fare. Giving the unused value on a CharlieCard an expiration date is a way of limiting that.

I'm not sure how to extend the validity of the stored value that's on the card, though.
[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-16 11:04 pm (UTC)

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That makes sense for flimsy paper CharlieTickets which are intended to have a limited life anyway, but not for durable reusable CharlieCards. (The tickets expire after 18 months, and have the expiration date clearly printed on them.)

Besides the stored-value folk like me, this is also going to wreak havoc upon people who have monthly passes automatically placed on their cards each month.

Edited at 2011-09-16 11:05 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: bikergeek
2011-09-16 11:12 pm (UTC)

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Are you talking about the card itself expiring and becoming invalid, or the value expiring and essentially zeroing out the card?
[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-17 12:38 am (UTC)

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As far as I can tell, those are two ways to say the same thing.

ETA: Or maybe not. I have ten other CharlieCards at home, and I just now tapped all of them at a vending machine in Davis. Many of them expire in the middle of months, the soonest being November 18, 2011. What happens to that card if I put a November pass on it?

Edited at 2011-09-17 04:49 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: unquietsoul5
2011-09-16 11:16 pm (UTC)

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I'm going to have to check our cards now... we may be in the same boat shortly (which is ridiculous on their part).
[User Picture]From: koifishkid
2011-09-17 02:02 pm (UTC)

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I hope that's not the case. If it is illegal in Massachusetts for gift cards to have expiration dates, then the MBTA shouldn't be able to do it for CharlieCards' stored value, which is essentially the same thing.
[User Picture]From: thesoxgap
2011-09-17 03:29 pm (UTC)

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Good point.
[User Picture]From: fe
2011-09-16 11:58 pm (UTC)

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I guess I always thought that it had something to do with the management of the serial numbers. This is pure speculation.
[User Picture]From: paradoox
2011-09-17 02:27 pm (UTC)

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I hope someone will post an update here once they call or go see the MBTA and figure this out.
[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-18 01:27 am (UTC)

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I've passed this on to Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub who will ask some questions of the MBTA's Joe Pesaturo. Take a look over there in a few days.
[User Picture]From: cndnbcn85
2011-09-18 03:05 am (UTC)

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uuuuhhhhhhh
Get a new card and add value to it and use up what's left on the old one.

BOOM. I just saved everyone a ton of time dealing with customer service and hunting down an answer to this. I iz teh smartz.
[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-18 11:27 am (UTC)

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Sure, I have a bunch of other CharlieCards sitting around my house, but most people don't, and it's not that easy to get a new one at a station. Also, very few people actually click the 'Card/Ticket Info' box on the touchscreen so they're going to be taken quite by surprise.
[User Picture]From: paradoox
2011-09-18 01:42 pm (UTC)

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Um, some of use our Charlie Cards once in a while (when we go to the airport, etc.) Since I've been getting rides to the airport, I probably haven't used my card in about six months and don't know when I'll use it again.
[User Picture]From: blondeamazon
2011-09-19 12:26 am (UTC)

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Crap. Thanks for the heads up. I have a decent amount on mine, I think (somewhere between $10-$20) and don't use it as much as I was a few months ago. I better check to see if I am imminent danger of loosing that. Bollocks.
From: boblothrope
2011-09-19 06:46 pm (UTC)

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At http://www.universalhub.com/2011/impending-fifth-anniversary-charliecards-could-mea , Joe Pesaturo is quoted:

"T riders may have the value on their expiring cards transferred to a new one at the T's Customer Service windows at Downtown Crossing (in the underground corridor across from Macy's)."

If the card transfer process is anything like the CharlieTicket transfer process, this is going to be a total disaster. The ticket transfer/combining process is incredibly slow, and much of the time they are unable to deal with expired tickets.

On one of the ticket machine's screens, the wording is something like "Card must be used by 10/31/2011 to stay active." That's very misleading if the card actually becomes unusable on that date. That same screen has two different expiration dates listed, and they're sometimes a few days apart.
[User Picture]From: dsrtao
2011-09-19 07:51 pm (UTC)

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Having done this for a malfunctioning Charlie Card, I can tell you that it is an incredibly slow process at 1:15 in the afternoon of a weekday with nobody standing in line. Doing it for a thousand or so people in the course of a week? Not likely. They might not be able to accomodate a thousand requests in a month.
From: boblothrope
2011-09-20 05:13 pm (UTC)

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Also, the T pays about $1 to buy each CharlieCard from the manufacturer. So making them all useless after 5 years is a tremendous waste of money.
[User Picture]From: mindways
2011-09-27 12:33 pm (UTC)

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The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the cards' expected lifespan is a bit longer than 5 years, in which case expiring them in a predictable fashion might be better than dealing with ever-increasing random failures...

...except that from what I read, passive RFID items have a more or less unlimited lifespan, so that makes no sense.

(Plus, the lack of information / publicity on the expiration means "predictable fashion" is only loosely true.)

Keeping card money as debts on the books is certainly a concern, but why not expire cards N months (/years) from last use?
[User Picture]From: aynatt
2011-09-30 03:31 am (UTC)

Charlie Cards Do expire

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I went to use my Charlie Card the other day and since there was someone from the MBTA working there, I thought I'd ask her about them expiring. She said if you picked up a Charlie Card when they first came out 5 years ago...they will indeed expire at the end of October (check your card, the numbers at the bottom of the card would be light brown in color). She just so happen to have a new card (the numbers are black at the bottom) for me to use when the monies put on it, run out.

It does seem like such a waste that everyone will now have to throw the old cards away. Makes me wish for the old token days where they were recyclable.

[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2011-09-30 03:40 am (UTC)

Re: Charlie Cards Do expire

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I have brown-numbered cards whose expiration dates range from 10/31/2011 to 11/11/2013. My black-numbered cards have expiration dates ranging from 12/14/2017 to 4/14/2021.
[User Picture]From: aynatt
2011-09-30 03:55 am (UTC)

Re: Charlie Cards Do expire

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None of this makes any sense, so random.