Giving Back Salesian Boys & Girls Club Kids to Get Free Charlie Cards

The Salesian Boys & Girls Club on Byron Street has been an oasis for working parents that need after school care for their children. Knowing their children are in a safe place for the afternoon when school lets out and involved in enriching activities has made the Salesian a go to place for hundreds of families. 

However, getting there by public transportation has been tricky for some club kids who rely on MBTA buses or trains to get to and from the Salesian program. For others the cost of public transportation can sometimes be a barrier for kids who want to participate at the Boys & Girls Club on a more frequent basis. 

However, a new program by the MBTA may increase participation at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club, as well as Boys & Girls Club programs across the city. 

Last week the MBTA announced that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston have joined the ongoing program to increase the availability of CharlieCards to Eastie kids who rely on public transportation.

Under the program, free no-balance CharlieCards are now available at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club as well as all Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston during their open hours. 

“Expanding this program ensures that more customers have access to lower fares through the use of our re-loadable CharlieCard,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “I want to extend my appreciation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for partnering with the T in expanding this access that ultimately allows the MBTA to be even more accessible for our customers.”

 The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston join a growing list of organizations, cities, and towns partnering with the MBTA to increase access to CharlieCards. 

“Thanks to the MBTA’s initiative to increase accessibility to CharlieCards, our children and teens will have the opportunity to travel outside their neighborhoods to discover opportunities in Boston and beyond related to education, the arts, jobs, and more,” said Josh Kraft, Nicholas President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. “Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is grateful for the chance to partner with the MBTA.”

Unlike CharlieTickets, CharlieCards are reusable plastic cards that can be routinely loaded with stored cash value or one-day, seven-day, or monthly passes. As a way to encourage use of CharlieCards, cardholders pay lower single-ride fares on bus and subway services than customers who pay cash or hold a CharlieTicket. CharlieCards also offer enhanced options for transfers over tickets and cash.

“We are always grateful for the relationship we have with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston,” said Salesian Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Mike Triant. “Josh (Kraft) and his team have been incredibly supportive of me and Salesian Boys & Girls Club since my first day on the job here.  This is a great example of how cohesiveness leads to opportunity. Our club members and community members are our greatest resources and we strive to simplify their lives however possible.  As a kid who grew up in Eastie, I know how at times we can feel disconnected from other parts of the city so access to Charlie Cards is a great step toward making travel for our club members a lot easier.”

CharlieCard availability has historically been concentrated around major rapid-transit hubs. Similarly, fare vending machines are clustered around rapid-transit stations. Under this program, the MBTA continues to acknowledge that access to cards needs to increase, especially in communities with a higher reliance on buses. 

The MBTA hopes to partner with nonprofit organizations or cities and towns to provide residents with CharlieCards, either blank or pre-loaded with a dollar amount for purchase. By providing easier access to CharlieCards, the T hopes to incentivize riders to use CharlieCards and fare vending machines throughout their travels, resulting in a savings of both time and money. Organizations and communities seeking to partner in this effort should contact MBTA Chief Customer Officer Danny Levy at [email protected].

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