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The CharlieCard is a MIFARE-based, contactless, stored value smart card used for electronic ticketing as part of the Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system installed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) at its stations and on its vehicles. The last metal token was sold on December 6, 2006, at Government Center station.

The CharlieCard is named after a fictional character in a folk music song often called "Charlie on the MTA", which concerns a man trapped forever on the Boston subway system (then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA) because he can't pay the 5-cent surcharge required to leave the train.

Since the card's introduction, the Charlie character has been used on a variety of MBTA signs, including construction signage and for directing passengers to various locations.


The CharlieCard is named after the title character in the 1948 protest folk music song, "Charlie on the MTA". The song was written to protest a fare increase in the form of an extra five cent exit fare for longer rides and was later made popular by the Kingston Trio in 1959.

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The CharlieCard can store value (keep a cash balance) and hold a combination of time-based passes which allow unlimited rides during a set period of time. Passengers use the plastic,......
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