"Unlimited" has its limits

In Boston last week, a guy named Gregory went into the subway terminal, then turned around and left when he remembered he’d left his cellphone in his office. He ran back to get it, then went back to the subway. He didn’t have to worry about paying the fare twice, though — he had shelled out $44.00 for a monthly pass.

Au contraire.

You see, in order to keep folks from simply handing their passes back across the gates for others to use, the MBTA puts a limit on the “unlimited” passes — they cannot be used at the same station within 20 minutes. Gregory found his pass wouldn’t work, so he tried a couple other gates at the station — to no avail. Finally, he sought assistance from a couple friendly T workers.

Once Gregory explained the situation, the T workers exercised the modicum of common sense the situation called for and waved him through.

Whoops — I forgot this was Boston. They told him that the rules were the rules, and he could wait for the 20 minutes to expire or pay the full fare. Disgusted, Gregory went through the gate anyway, chased by an employee who threatened to have him arrested.

The T is in full damage control mode, saying that the employee (I just can’t bring myself to call the person a “worker”) was in the wrong and promising a full investigation.

And I’m SURE that there will be a marked improvement in service by the time they’re done.

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  1. DF May 7, 2006
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