Charlie Card and Farebox FAQ


Proudly Serving the Montachusett

Community Since 1978!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Are the fares changing?

A:  No, the fares will remain the same as they are now.  The way the fares are paid is the only thing changing.


Q:  When will the new fareboxes be on the buses?

A:  The new fareboxes were installed on all of the buses at the end of February 2012.  We have also installed Charlie Card Validators on our vans, which provide fixed-route service, in June 2012.


Q:  What will the farebox accept for fares?

A:  The fareboxes accept $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills.  It also accepts nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollar coins.  The farebox also accept smart cards which are sold at the ‘MART’ offices in Fitchburg and Gardner.


Q:  Do the fareboxes give change?

A:  No, exact fare should be used.  However, the fareboxes will issue magnetic “overpayment” tickets that can be used for future rides only.  These tickets will NOT be redeemable for cash.  A minimum overpayment of 25 cents is required for ticket issue.


Q:  What kind of fare cards will I be able to buy at the ‘MART’ offices?

A:  ‘MART’ will be using the Charlie CardTM as a smart card fare media.  These cards can be loaded with a bus pass (Monthly or 14 Consecutive Day) – or you can add stored value.  Stored value can be used to deduct the fare directly.  The balance is displayed on the farebox screen.  Additional value can be added to the card by asking the driver first and then feeding when prompted cash into the farebox, or at any Sales Outlet.


Q:  Is there anything else new?

A:  ‘MART’ is instituting a new fare product with the fareboxes – a new 14 Consecutive Day Pass.  This pass is half the price of the Monthly Pass and has no month restrictions.


Q:  Where can I purchase my ‘MART’ Charlie CardTM?

A:  Pass products and stored value can be purchased at the ‘MART’ Offices located at 1427R Water St (Lobby) and 100 Main Street (Ticket Agency) in Fitchburg and at 555 Main Street in Gardner (Dispatch Window).


Q:  Can I still use my ‘MART’ tickets?

A:  These tickets will still be accepted by the drivers after the new fareboxes are introduced.  Please DO NOT put the ticket into the farebox.  ‘MART’ will no longer distribute these tickets.  Stored value can be placed on the fare card instead.  Cash will always be accepted.


Q:  Will ‘MART’ exchange my old tickets for a new fare card?

A:  No, but these tickets will still be accepted.  Once you’ve used up your old tickets, you can then purchase a Charlie CardTM.


Q:  Will ‘MART’ replace my lost, stolen, or damaged fare card?

A:  No, ‘MART’ will not be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged cards.  However, you can register your Charlie CardTM on the MBTA’s website.  This allows a consumer to obtain a replacement card within the confines of MBTA’s regulations. 


Q:  What else can I do over the web with my Charlie CardTM?

A:  Stored value can be reloaded on the MBTA website (as well as the farebox or ‘MART’ ticket agency).  However a ‘MART’ bus pass (14 Consecutive Days or Monthly) CANNOT be renewed on the MBTA website.  (The Monthly Pass renewal on the MBTA website is only for MBTA products only.)  The ability to renew a ‘MART’ Monthly Pass online is not ready yet.


Q:  Can I use the ‘MART’ Charlie CardTM on the MBTA system in Boston?

A:  Yes, but only if you have stored value on the card – or if you load a MBTA pass product thru the MBTA website or at a MBTA reseller or ticket vending machine.  ‘MART’s version of the Charlie CardTM allows access for three fare types – stored value (cash), MBTA pass product, and a ‘MART’ pass product.