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Bus Fares

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Read our step-by-step guides to paying your fare on each MBTA mode, and find info about transfers, where to buy tickets, and more.

People 12 and older who do not qualify for reduced fares pay the standard fare. Children 11 and younger accompanied by a paying adult ride for free (up to 2 children per adult).


One-Way Fares

Local Bus One Way

CharlieCard: $1.70

Travel on all Local Bus routes, SL4 and SL5. Includes 1 free transfer to another Local Bus, SL4, or SL5 within 2 hours of your original ride.

  • Transfer to subway: $0.55
  • Transfer to Inner Express Bus: $2.30
  • Transfer to Outer Express Bus: $3.55

CharlieTicket or Cash: $2.00

CharlieTickets include 1 free transfer to another Local Bus, SL4, or SL5. No transfers with cash.

Inner Express Bus One Way*

Routes: 170, 325, 326, 351, 424, 426, 428, 434, 448, 449, 450, 459, 501, 502, 503, 504, 553, 554, 556, and 558.

CharlieCard: $4.00

Includes 1 free transfer to subway, Local Bus, or any SL route within 2 hours of your original ride.

  • Transfer to Outer Express Bus: $1.25

CharlieTicket or Cash: $5.00

No free or discounted transfers.

Outer Express Bus One Way*

Routes: 352, 354, and 505.

CharlieCard: $5.25

Includes 1 free transfer to subway, Local Bus, Inner Express Bus, or any SL route within 2 hours of your original ride.

CharlieTicket or Cash: $7.00

No free or discounted transfers.

*If you are riding an Express Bus locally (you board and exit the bus before it reaches the highway), you pay the Local Bus fare. Let the driver know your exit stop to pay the lower fare.


Passes

1-Day Pass

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket*: $12.00

Unlimited travel for 1 day** on:

  • Local Bus
  • Subway

*CharlieTicket also valid for travel on Commuter Rail Zone 1A and Charlestown Ferry.

**CharlieTickets are valid from the time of purchase. CharlieCards are valid from the first time they are used.

7-Day Pass

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket*: $21.25

Unlimited travel for 7 days** on:

  • Local Bus
  • Subway

*CharlieTicket also valid for travel on Commuter Rail Zone 1A and Charlestown Ferry.

**CharlieTickets are valid from the time of purchase. CharlieCards are valid from the first time they are used.

Local Bus Monthly Pass

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket: $55.00

Unlimited travel for 1 calendar month on:

  • Local Bus*

*Does not include routes SL1, SL2, or SL3.

Monthly LinkPass

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket: $84.50

Unlimited travel for 1 calendar month on:

  • Local Bus
  • Subway

Inner Express Bus Monthly Pass

Routes: 170, 325, 326, 351, 424, 426, 428, 434, 448, 449, 450, 459, 501, 502, 503, 504, 553, 554, 556, and 558.

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket*: $128.00

Unlimited travel for 1 calendar month on:

  • Inner Express Bus
  • Local Bus
  • Subway

*CharlieTicket or pre-printed CharlieCard with date also valid for travel on Commuter Rail Zone 1A and Charlestown Ferry.

Outer Express Bus Monthly Pass

Routes: 352, 354, and 505.

CharlieCard or CharlieTicket*: $168.00

Unlimited travel for 1 calendar month on:

  • Outer Express Bus
  • Inner Express Bus
  • Local Bus
  • Subway

*CharlieTicket or pre-printed CharlieCard with date also valid for travel on Commuter Rail Zone 1A and Charlestown Ferry.

Have a Question?

Browse our Fares FAQ


How to Pay Your Bus Fare

MBTA fixed-route bus and Silver Line bus fares are paid at the onboard fare box located at the front of the bus.

Tip: Some Silver Line stops are underground, so you will pay your fare the same way you would pay a subway fare

First, choose your how you’ll pay your fare

There are 3 ways to pay your bus fare: CharlieCard, CharlieTicket, or in cash at the onboard fare box.

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CharlieCards are reusable plastic cards that can be loaded with cash value or 1-day, 7-day, or monthly passes.

CharlieCard holders pay lower single ride fares and can manage their accounts online. 

Standard one-way CharlieCard fare: $1.70 

Where to get a (free!) CharlieCard 

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CharlieTickets are reusable paper passes that can be loaded with cash value or 1-day, 7-day, or monthly passes. 

Standard one-way CharlieTicket fare: $2.00

Cash fare payments are accepted onboard all MBTA buses. 

Cash fare payments do not include transfers to other modes of transit.

Standard one-way cash fare: $2.00

Then, choose where to buy your ticket or pass

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You can buy or renew 1-day, 7-day, cash value, and monthly passes on CharlieTickets and CharlieCards at fare vending machines. They are located at all subway stations and at the Lynn and Worcester/Union Commuter Rail stations.

Most machines accept cash and major credit/debit cards. Some machines only accept credit/debit cards and are clearly marked to indicate they don’t accept cash. 

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You can add up to $20 in cash value to a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket at onboard fare boxes. 

How to use the onboard fare box 

You can get new CharlieCards and load them with cash value or a 1-day, 7-day, or monthly pass at stores located throughout the Greater Boston and Providence areas.
 
Cash and credit/debit cards accepted.
 
Find a store near you  

Cash value and passes can be added to CharlieCards online. You can also sign up for auto-pay, a monthly LinkPass that automatically renews each month.

We recommend registering for a MyCharlie account to protect your card if it is lost, stolen, or damaged. 

Sign up for Auto-pay 
Sign up or log in to MyCharlie 
Reload your card without creating an account 

When you’re ready to board the bus

Pay with your preloaded card or ticket

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Simply tap your CharlieCard on the fare box target to pay your fare.

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With the orange arrow facing up and away from you, insert your ticket into the fare box. Your ticket will be returned after the machine reads it. 

Tip! If the fare box beeps once, your fare payment has been accepted. If it beeps quickly 3 times, it was unable to read your card or there wasn’t enough money on it to pay your fare.

Or, add cash value to your card or ticket

Fare boxes accept coins and bills up to $20. Daily, monthly, or weekly passes are not available for purchase at the onboard fare box.

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  1. Tell the driver you need to add value to your CharlieCard. 
  2. Press the white button in the upper right corner on the fare box.
  3. Tap your CharlieCard on the fare box target.
  4. Insert cash or coins up to your desired value. Change is not returned from onboard fare boxes, so any cash you insert (up to $20) will be loaded onto the card.
  5. Press the white button again.
  6. Tap your CharlieCard to complete the transaction.
  7. Tap 1 more time to pay your fare.

charlieticket-insert-fare-box-wide.jpg

  1. Tell the driver you need to add value to your CharlieTicket, and then insert it into the machine with the orange arrow facing up and away from you.
  2. Press the white button in the upper right corner on the fare box.
  3. Insert your CharlieTicket into the machine with the orange arrow facing up and away from you.
  4. Insert cash or coins up to your desired value. Change is not returned from onboard fare boxes, so any cash you insert (up to $20) will be loaded onto the ticket.
  5. Press the white button again.
  6. Remove your ticket from the machine. 
  7. Insert it 1 more time to pay your fare.

Or, pay in cash

  1. Tell the driver you are paying your fare in cash.
  2. Insert the amount displayed on the fare box. 

Tip! If you insert more than $0.25 over the required single ride fare, the excess will be loaded onto a CharlieTicket and dispensed from the fare box.

When you arrive

You don’t have to validate your ticket when you reach your destination.