Dear MBTA Customer Relations Manager
Last month I decided I was going to stop buying monthly Charlie Cards and bike to work as much as possible. When it rains, I figured, I will take the bus and train. Your transportation system is fine, as far as I’m concerned, but cannot beat the mixture of exercise, fresh air, and sincere smiles from other riders that bicycling to work offers.
This morning I couldn’t bike because it was raining. I had two Charlie Tickets in my desk drawer which, between the two, had a $1 on each and would certainly get me on the bus and to Forest Hills train station where I could load up a Charlie Card with an emergency rain fund for myself. “Easy enough,” I thought.
When the bus fare reader registered my first card as only one dollar the driver snapped at me, “You’re short on fare!”
No problem, I communicated to her, “I have this other Charlie Ticket with additional money on it.”
She told me, “It doesn’t work like that. Multiple tickets aren’t allowed.”
“That’s crazy!” I exclaimed (truly shocked), “it’s currency, why not?”
Instead of telling me why not she glared at me with the hateful intensity of a thousand hot, angry, bitter suns and said, “Sir, I work here. It doesn’t work.”
It’s my contention that “I work here” is the equivalent of a parent telling a child, “cuz I said so.” Fair enough, the buck has to stop somewhere, but doesn’t that seem like the shittiest possible explanation she could’ve offered a man desperately trying to board a bus with a line of rained-on, increasingly impatient people behind him?
The passengers behind me turned against me without hesitation. Not interested in the details of my case, they just saw me as the man causing them to continue to get rained on.
“It’s not her fault you don’t have fare!” and “You’re holding up the line!” and “Why should you ride for free? and “Hey asshole….”
And other thoughtful niceties were shouted in my general direction.
The bus driver continued her hateful stare. Now, from years of riding the bus I know exactly how to overcome this kind of scenario. You just walk onto the bus, pretend not to hear any more human voices, and you get away with it every time. I’ve seen it work for numerous people on multiple days in a row, people who are purposefully taking the bus for free. I’ve never liked these people and I didn’t feel like becoming one of them so I exited the bus and walked to the train station in the rain. The remaining line of bus passengers may have cheered as I walked away, I’m not sure, my brain is already doing weird protective things with the memory to deal with the light trauma of the sad event.
I’m not writing you to have the driver reprimanded. I’m not writing you to suggest your policies about multiple tickets is an embarrassing technical stone-age travesty. I’m not even writing you to express my complete, legitimate rage which coursed through my veins during the entire walk to work and made me question every life decision I’ve ever made.
I would just like my $1 dollar back which the fare machine registered. I didn’t get to ride the bus so why should I pay YOU a dollar to feel like a human piece of shit walking down the street in humid rain? Seems sort of unfair.