How to Get an MBTA Reduced Fare Senior Charlie Card

charliecardIf you’re a Massachusetts resident aged 65 or older, you’re eligible for a reduced fare MBTA Charlie Card.

As of July 2016, you can ride the bus for 85 cents, the T for $1.10, and the commuter rail for half price. If you’re a frequent rider, it’s worth adding a monthly pass to your reduced fare Charlie Card for only $30. You can visit the MBTA website for details.

Ready to get your own reduced fare Charlie Card? You have 2 options.

  1. Go to the Downtown Crossing MBTA station with your picture ID showing your birthdate. A drivers license, passport, or Massachusetts state ID are accepted. Downtown Crossing is on the Orange and Red lines but can also be accessed by an underground walkway from the Park St station on the Green line. If you use this option, it’s my understanding that you will be given a temporary card that day.
  2. Come to a Charlie Card event at your local Senior Center or other community center. You will need to bring your picture ID showing your birthdate. Your cards will be mailed to you 6-8 weeks after the event. If your local senior center doesn’t sponsor one, ask them to and refer them to the MBTA website for advice on how to do it!

Lost your Senior Charlie Card?

We’ve had some questions about what to do if you’ve lost your Senior Charlie Card. Here’s the advice we were given:

  1. Call the Charlie card store at 617-222-2070.
  2. Choose 1 for English or 2 for Spanish.
  3. Choose option 2 to speak to a Subway, Bus, or Ferry representative.
  4. Choose option 2 (again) for information on The RIDE or reduced fare Charlie Cards.
  5. Choose option 2 (again) for reduced fare cards.
  6. Provide the agent with your Charlie Card number or, if you don’t have it, your name, date of birth, etc. They’ll deactivate your lost card and mail you a new one. Your new card should arrive within 7-10 business days.
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14 Replies to “How to Get an MBTA Reduced Fare Senior Charlie Card”

    1. Carol, good news: our well-informed, MBTA-savvy volunteers are assuring me that you do NOT need an MBTA Senior Reduced Fare Charlie Card to get the 50% senior discount on commuter rail fares. Just buy a reduced fare senior ticket and show your ID to the conductor when s/he punches your ticket on the train. You’ll need to show the conductor a government-issued photo ID that includes your birth date.

      Also, remember that buying your ticket from a station agent or vending machine is going to be much cheaper than buying it on the train, where conductors have to tack on a surcharge. Of course, if there’s no agent or machine available at the station where you board the train, you won’t be charged the surcharge.

      If you have any further questions, you can call the Keolis customer service center Monday through Friday 6:30am-8pm or Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30am-6pm. Call 617-222-3200 or 617-222-5854 (TTY) and follow the prompts for questions about commuter rail service.

      Good luck, and happy trails to you!

  1. Checking the MBTA site today, 8/29/17, it says that the Senior discounts are available to those who are 65+, and not 60 as stated above.

    1. Hi Bea, great question. Here’s what the MBTA tells us.

      You can apply for the Senior ID Pass 2 weeks before your 65th birthday, and it will be delivered to your home address in time to use on your birthday. The first time you apply for a Senior ID pass, be sure to bring a valid drivers license or state ID to prove age and go in person to the Charlie Card Store at Downtown Crossing Station (7 Chauncy Street, Boston, MA 02111). You can also come in person to a Charlie Card event at a local organization like your local senior center. The Newton Senior Center is holding one on the afternoon of November 29th, 2017. The Brookline Senior Center is holding one on December 20th from 1-3pm.

      Should you have additional questions, please contact the MBTA’s Call Center at 617-222-3200 or 800-392-6100 Monday through Friday 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM or Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, or visit their website at http://www.mbta.com.

      Good luck, and enjoy your Charlie Card!

      1. Can I fill out application for my senior pass I had a stroke in 2012 its hard for me to get to down town I am 64 .ill be 65 in July

        1. Unfortunately, you do need to apply in person, since they need to take your photo for the card.

          However, your local Senior Center might be planning to hold a Senior Charlie Card event that would prevent your having to go downtown. If they aren’t already planning to hold an event, please encourage them to do so! It’s fairly easy, and the MBTA provides a handy guide for doing so. If either you or the staff at your senior center have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at TRIPPS.

  2. Hi! Do you need to be a Massachusetts resident to get a senior id card, as I work in Boston, commuting, I will be 65 on Christmas Day, can i apply for one? Thank-you

    1. Hi Ms. G,

      No, you don’t need to be a Massachusetts resident to get a Charlie Card. And as for timing, you can apply for the Senior ID Pass 2 weeks before your 65th birthday, and it will be delivered to your home address. The first time you apply for a Senior ID pass, be sure to bring a valid drivers license or state ID to prove age and go in person to the Charlie Card Store at Downtown Crossing Station (7 Chauncy Street, Boston, MA 02111). You can also come in person to a Charlie Card event at a local organization like a senior center. Should you have additional questions, please contact the MBTA’s Call Center at 617-222-3200 or 800-392-6100 Monday through Friday 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM or Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, or visit their website at http://www.mbta.com. Good luck, and enjoy your travels on the MBTA!

    1. Hi Betty, no, there’s no charge! After you get the card, you’ll just need to add cash value to it at a fare vending machine. You can also add a monthly pass to your new card for (currently) $30 per month.

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