Boston, MA - Boston is a city steeped in history. From the American Revolution to major discoveries by the famed Boston Globe, the city is truly one of the country's iconic historic locales. There is one thing that many Bostonians use on a daily basis with an odd origin tale: The CharlieCard.
The CharlieCard, as most know, is the transit payment method for the MBTA and some regional transportation systems throughout Massachusetts. It was created in 2006, but the name alludes to events much earlier.
In 1949, there was a new exit fare for train riders in Boston. A person would enter the T for 10 cents, but would have to pay an additional 5 cents to exit. This concept led to a fantastical premise that a people could be trapped in the subway system, thereafter.
The card was named after an anti-exit fare protest song which was popularly called "Charlie on the MTA," referencing a fictional character in the tune who became trapped in the MTBA, living on the trains for the rest of his life.
The purpose of the song was to inspire residents to call for an end to the exit fare. In the end, the cause was abandoned and the fare remained, but when officials were looking for a name for the new payment system in the 2000s, Charlie gained his position on the MT(B)A, permanently.