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Possible CharlieCard side effect: Fewer performers underground?

Harold M. Clemens reports he wanted to reward a cool harmonica and guitar player on an Orange Line platform at Downtown Crossing yesterday, but realized he couldn't, because he had no change:

... in an instant I recognized what must be an externality - Charlie Cards have likely put a pinch on pan handlers, curb-side musicians and others. to be more specific: since automated machines have obsoleted the exchange of petty cash at train stations, passengers probably have less exchange change, if any at all, to give to impromptu performers.

that's kinda messed up and not only because of the human element of it. curb-side performers are often good entertainment and pleasant background noise while waiting for transportation. it's safe to say they've become hallmarks of many major cities. ...

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I've definitely been in this situation in the credit card era, which Charlie Cards are just an offshoot of. Just last weekend, wanted to tip a good band playing Harvard Square's pit, and had no hard currency whatsoever. Maybe with Wi-Fi, performers will start setting up PayPal options....

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The buskers will be able to accept Charlie Card payments before the Commuter Rail will.

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Maybe the T could add an electronic tipping kiosk so you tap your card against a 50 cent or dollar donation sensor, and that is transferred into an account for the musician.

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Maybe I'll start tipping subway musicians with $1 CharlieTickets. I have plenty of them, since people are fooled by the machines into buying a $5 ticket, and then throw it away with $1 left.

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