Happy Birthday, Charlie!

1196800981How quickly time flies. A year ago today, a little piece of plastic was handed out at T stations or by the HR person at your office. We were so afraid when we became responsible for that bundle of joy. Would he really be the thing to make our commute easier? Our minds reeled with the possibility this new life held for us.

Today, our little CharlieCard turns one. Get out the warm muffins, Joe Fitzgerald. We’re in the mood to celebrate.

So is MBTA General Manager and proud Charlie daddy Dan Grabauskas.

The public’s embrace of the card has raised an additional $13.5 million in fare revenues in fiscal year 2007, according to the MBTA, a figure that has transit officials swelling with pride on the CharlieCard’s first birthday.

“I guess you’d have to say that Charlie is a precocious child,” said Daniel Grabauskas, the general manager of the MBTA.

As much as we love to complain about the T, we actually like the CharlieCard. It’s much nicer to look at than the heinous old T passes. It’s greener than the passes too.

Charlie also facilitated the installation of the new turnstiles that are easier to maneuver a big bag through. Instead of keeping a stash of tokens around the house for out-of-town guests, you can keep a few bucks on a spare card. Charlie even inspired some cold-weather gear that put an end to fumbling for T fare.

Daddy Grabauskas has big plans for his precocious child’s toddler years.

By his second birthday, CharlieCard will be the fare of choice on commuter trains, with ferries and parking lots on the horizon, said Grabauskas, who took the toddler metaphor a step farther.

“Maybe we should have called him Baby Einstein,” Grabauskas mused. “Actually, the smart ones are our customers.”

Bad metaphor, Dan. But we appreciate the attempt. We look forward to spending more time with Charlie as he continues to grow.