Okay, so it's been a while. I admit I wondered what more I really had to say about the Red Line. I admit others were saying it better. But does that mean I should quit? Well, perhaps. But I haven't quit. Not exactly. I've just been taking an extended break. I'm back with some new insight (or at least a warning to my fellow T riders).
Today's tale began a few months back. Heading home after another exhilirating day at the office, I swiped my T pass at South Station and noticed that instead of the usual message--valid through March 31--the fare box displayed something along the lines of "$10.90 left on card."
Hmmm, I thought. What's up with that? In addition to purchasing a monthly bus/subway pass, I keep some cash on my card, in order to pay my fare on the rare occasions when I take the more costly express bus. I didn't want to waste time on my way home from work that night, so I didn't stop to inquire, but on my way in the next day, I approached a T representative at South Station. He seemed reluctant at first to get involved, but then he came out from behind his desk, swiped his card at the pass purchase machine, then swiped my card. He was able to see all activity on my card and confirm my story. Although he couldn't reimburse me, he did give me a one-ride pass. I accepted this as a reasonable solution, figuring I can give that to my spouse or a friend to use.
I didn't think much of it until it happened a second time, at Charles/MGH. This time, the nice T person had a form that needed to be filled out, which she graciously did for me, in painstaking detail and with utmost care (three trains came and went while I waited for her to turn over the form to me for completion and mailing). I sent in the form, and the T mailed me yet another single-ride pass.
This week I had another such experience at Davis. The T person on duty really didn't want to get involved, and never heard of any form. He did swipe his supervisor card along with my own card, and verified what had happened, but he merely let me through the gate, he offered nothing in the way of resolution other than "you have to go to Downtown Crossing" to get your money back.
I'm beginning to wonder if this is perhaps a secret ploy by the T to generate additional revenue. The fare boxes are like those voting machines in Florida--subject to malfunction and not to be trusted.