The MBTA announced that eligible riders can now apply online for a new, renewal, or replacement TAP CharlieCard or Blind Access CharlieCard. People with disabilities (including low vision) and Medicare cardholders are eligible for reduced MBTA fares with a TAP CharlieCard and people who are legally blind are eligible for free MBTA fares with a Blind Access CharlieCard.
With the launch of these two online applications, the MBTA now accepts online applications for the following free/reduced fare programs: Blind Access, TAP, Senior, and Youth Pass. Riders will still be able to apply in-person at the CharlieCard Store for Senior, Blind Access, and TAP as they do now (and can make online reservations to visit the CharlieCard Store), and can also visit the MBTA Mobility Center for online application support. Riders seeking to apply for a TAP CharlieCard by mail or at the CharlieCard Store can download the updated application at the MBTA’s Transportation Access Pass webpage online.
“I am pleased to announce the launch of the online application portal to allow all of our reduced fare riders online access, which provides reduced fare riders with broader access and more convenience,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We have made significant investments in equipment, staff resources, and technology solutions to improve the experience of our riders with a specific focus on riders with disability- and age-based needs. Through our Fare Transformation journey, we continue to improve the experience of riders as we work towards modernization by investing in state of good repair and capital improvements that transform the system into a modern digital payment system.”
“Greater accessibility to MBTA resources supports independence and self-determination of individuals who are blind,” said Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Commissioner David D’Arcangelo. “We are pleased to collaborate with the MBTA on streamlining the process of obtaining and updating our Blind Access Cards. This is a game-changer for our consumers who no longer have to travel to an office in order to receive the cards, offering them a more equitable and efficient solution to travel in Massachusetts.”
The online applications for the MBTA’s free/reduced fare programs offer riders a convenient method to apply for and receive a new free/reduced fare CharlieCard without having to visit the CharlieCard Store. Riders can apply to these respective programs remotely and easily online from a computer or mobile device in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. Each application allows applicants to securely enter their personal information and upload the required documents, such as a photo ID and eligibility documentation. All online applications are accessible to screen readers and were tested by free/reduced fare riders to ensure usability. Riders who submit their email address as part of their application will receive application status notifications, including details on how to use their card if approved.
In addition to the online applications, the MBTA recently removed rider photos, names, and expiration dates from Senior CharlieCards for people 65 and older to simplify the card fulfillment process for these riders. Riders who apply for a new or replacement Senior CharlieCard will now receive the new Reduced Fare CharlieCards for Seniors, which are valid for eight years. Riders with current Senior CharlieCards can utilize them until they expire.
To learn more about the MBTA’s free/reduced fare programs and how to apply online, visit mbta.com/fares/reduced.