Greater City Providence

Your ‘Charlie Card’ could soon take you further

fares-charlieThe Rhode Island General Assembly is considering a bill to allow the MBTA’s farecard, the Charlie Card, to work on RIPTA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 39-18 of the General Laws entitled “Rhode Island Public Transit Authority” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

39-18-25. Create parity with MBTA commuter passes. – The authority shall consult with the Massachusetts Bay transit authority on the feasibility of allowing commuter rail passes to be used on all Rhode Island public transit authority buses. Such rail passes shall serve as dual Rhode Island public transit authority passes and Massachusetts Bay transit authority passes, if possible. Such consultation shall also include proposed methods to apportion and share the costs of such passes between the two (2) authorities.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

I know RIPTA has wanted to crack this nut for some time, with the official blessing of the Assembly, let’s hope they find a way to figure it out. Anything to make utilizing transit easier is a good thing.

[alert type=”muted”]h/t to ecoRI News’s Tim Faulkner[/alert]

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Thanks for calling attention to this bill. Such fare coordination is also included in the 2015 workplan of Statewide Planning so perhaps there is momentum building. The legislation references transit passes rather than Charlie cards, are they the same thing?
    As far as I jnow, you don;t swipe Charlie cards on the commuter rail.
    With RIPTA eventually going to need new fareboxes, perhaps the coordination of fares can be advanced further if the details of apportioning costs and revenue can be worked out. Long term a transit “E-Z pass” can be a goal that could also include Amtrak.

  • Barry, I’m pretty sure RIPTA fareboxes already have RFID capability. They’d just need some kind of software update.

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