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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 2, January 8, 2006, Article 7

BOSTON "T" TOKENS GO BY THE WAYSIDE

A January 8 Associated Press story covers the story of
the end of transportation tokens in Boston:

"Transit tokens have jingled in the pockets of Bostonians
since 1837 -- from the silver-colored coins of the
horse-drawn Roxbury Coach, to the worn brass discs that
have been plunked into MBTA turnstiles since 1951.

But soon, in the city that is home to America's first subway,
where folk singers have rhapsodized about public transportation,
tokens won't be good for a ride.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recently
announced that the $1.25 token will be phased out in early
2007, making way for fare cards.

"I think there is certainly something symbolic in the
passing of the token," said transit system general manager
Daniel A. Grabauskas, who has already ordered his set of
commemorative token cuff links."

"Chicago killed its token on May 31, 1999. The New York
Times ran an obituary for its 50-year-old subway token on
the last day it could used in turnstiles -- March 14, 2003."

"Tokens were as revolutionary a technology change in their
day as electronic fare collection is today," said Clarke,
who has written nine books on public transportation. "Instead
of fishing in your pocket for two dimes and a nickel, you
just had to find a single coin."

There been have about 12,000 different transit tokens minted
in the United States and Canada, said Rev. John M. Coffee Jr.,
editor of The Fare Box, a monthly newsletter for transportation
token collectors. Three hundred to 400 are still in use in
smaller cities and towns, he said."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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