MBTA to launch contactless payment methods on various transit methods Aug. 1

July 10, 2024
The contactless payment methods will be accepted on MBTA’s buses, Green Line trolleys, Mattapan Line trolleys and at all gated subway stations to modernize the way riders pay fares.

Contactless payments will be accepted onboard Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) buses, Green Line trolleys, Mattapan Line trolleys and at all gated subway stations beginning Aug. 1, 2024. The new contactless payment methods are part of the MBTA’s goal to offer an easier, more convenient and modern way for riders to pay fares.  

“Transitioning to this contactless system is a part of the next generation of transportation that our riders deserve. This will allow them to save time and make it easier for riders and travelers to pay and board as they use the system,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt.

“I’ve seen directly at other transit properties and heard firsthand from many riders about the importance of contactless payment and how it would greatly enhance the experience of using mass transit. Last year, this project needed a course correction and I’m proud of the progress made to deliver this important amenity for our riders, bringing our payment system for our bus and subway system into the 21st century. This lays the groundwork for the fare payment system of the future, incorporating our fare structure including the recently approved Income-Eligible Reduced Fares,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “The MBTA team’s steadfast dedication to bring this initiative to fruition along with our partner Cubic, worked collaboratively, solving challenges to demonstrate our commitment to the public.  I thank our riders for their patience as we continue to build a system that they can rely on and be proud of.” 

MBTA notes contactless payment options provide better flexibility and allow riders to pay by tapping a contactless credit/debit card, phone with a mobile wallet or watch on fare readers. A one-step option for pay-as-you-go travel, riders can save time by using their contactless credit/debit card, phone or watch instead of purchasing and reloading a CharlieCard. Riders can look for the contactless symbol, tap their card or device on the reader at the fare gate or the reader at the vehicle door, wait for the green checkmark, then ride. 

The agency says riders with weekly or monthly passes or those who would like to continue to use their CharlieCards will not be impacted by the change. The current ways to pay will remain the same. While onboard buses, Green Line trolleys and Mattapan Line trolleys, MBTA notes riders should be mindful of the location of the tappable fare readers near the vehicles’ doors. To avoid the possibility of accidental taps and charges of their contactless credit or debit cards, riders are encouraged to hold their purses, bags and backpacks away from the contactless readers. 

According to MBTA, riders in reduced fare programs (such as Senior, Student, and TAP) will have the option to link their benefits to their contactless card, phone or watch. Riders who do not want to link their benefits to a contactless card, phone, or watch will be able to continue using their current payment method.

MBTA says riders will be able to manage their contactless cards, phone and/or the watch they use for travel through an online Charlie account or by calling the Customer Support Center. A Charlie account allows riders to check their balance, manage their charges, view their trip history and access other self-service tools for quick and easy account management. The agency notes registration for a Charlie account is optional.  

“Cubic Transportation Systems has been a proud partner of the MBTA for several years and we thank the MBTA for their collaboration throughout this project,” said Cubic Transportation Systems President Peter Torrellas. “The upcoming launch of Automated Fare Collection 2.0 system-wide will transform public transportation across Greater Boston and significantly enhance the rider experience. Millions of MBTA riders will soon be able to benefit from increased convenience with this modern, efficient and user-friendly contactless payment system.”