It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...


So the Boston Globe is reporting that the MBTA is looking into going all Smart Card by 2006. That means getting rid of our old pals, the golden (formerly silver) T tokens and switching completely to those crazy space-age automated fare Metrocard-like things that other modern light transit systems use. This also means, as slyly noted in one line of the article, that they plan on going to a structured fare system and raising the fare during rush hour periods. It'd be a dream of mine that all proceeds from the higher fares would go towards developing a cure for the overpowering stench of urine which can be enjoyed at certain spots in certain T stations (Nature's Miracle for people?) or perhaps finding a way to put more than two trains on the Orange Line on a Sunday of a holiday weekend. Maybe they can even put some of this extra money towards developing artificial intelligence which will be able to override human judgement -- the human judgement that scheduled Red Line track repair on the aforementioned holiday weekend, for one.

Oh, but I snark. What got me most about the article was the fact that they need a name for these smart cards. The article mentions what other cities have done for their card systems -- given them a simple, catchy name that reflects the region or at least gives the card character. Seattle and Puget Sound will get the "Orca", Hong Kong has the Octopus, and London has the Oyster (I'm guessing the slogan there is "the city is your..." ?)

And what did the inventive geniuses of Dinkus, Dorkus and Malorkus come up with for Boston? Check out these winners, which were bandied about in a focus group:
  • T Liberty
  • T Hub
  • T Zap
  • T Go
  • T Vantage
  • T Plus
Oh, wait, wait, here, let me add a suggestion of my own:
  • T These Names All Suck
I realize this joke would've been 100% better had the letter been G instead of T, but I guess they really really really really like that T motif.

However, the best suggestion so far came almost as an ad-lib from a MBTA board member: The Charlie Card. That's as in Charlie on the MTA. One of my favorite songs ever, but that's beside the point -- this name comes complete with its own ready-to-sing jingle and, in some cases, accurately describes the T to a, well, tee. (O ye citizens of Boston, don't you think it's a scandal / How the people have to pay and pay?)

Of course, being a town of stubborn Yankees and almost-stubborn transplants, I predict everybody'll just be calling them "T cahds" no matter what. Now there's a good idea -- why not call it the Cod? Excellent pun and we get that seafaring creature angle that the other cities seem to like. And it pays homage to the fish that kept this state solvent during the lean years. Don't believe me? Visit the Massachusetts State House sometime and check out the Sacred Cod in the representatives' chambers. They open their sessions by pledging allegiance to the Sacred Cod, I kid you not.

Ah well. The T is the transit system I love to hate, and I eagerly look forward to having more reasons to do so.
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded