Usually on the first (business) day of any given month, there’s a terrible line at the charlie card machine. I guess many people don’t know you can buy next month’s T pass about halfway through the current month. But I’m not here to shame procrastinators, I’m here to ask a weird dumb question about public transit payment systems. I know, you’d never expect such a thing from me.

Why aren’t there Charlie Card machines on the platforms of the T? Or MetroCard machine in the NYC subway system for that¬†matter.

Duh, you say, you don’t need to buy or top up your transit pass when you’re on the platform, you obviously already have one or you couldn’t get there. I understand that, but while you’re waiting for the train after you’ve paid your fare is the perfect time to buy your return fare or next month’s pass! There’s less likely to be a line and there’s less time pressure since you can see when the next train is coming. Sure, you could buy the return when you get where you’re going on the way out of the station, but just as often there’s a line there of people wanting to buy a ticket to get in. Why not let people use the dead waiting time on the platform, and save a minute here or there?