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With software glitch, it was 'Sorry, Charlie'

Many Red Line passengers had their CharlieCards rejected yesterday at MBTA gates due to a system glitch.

Hundreds of passengers who passed through the Red Line's Charles/MGH station had their monthly passes rejected over the past two days due to a software glitch at the station's new fare collection gates, T officials said yesterday.

Officials said the problem was fixed before rush hour last night.

Many workers at Massachusetts General Hospital couldn't use their passes yesterday and Tuesday because of the mistake, which happened after a new portion of the Beacon Hill station opened last week.

The problem was so widespread that the T dispatched employees to several stations along the Red Line Tuesday night and yesterday morning to visually inspect passes and allow anyone having problems to bypass the new gates, officials said.

The gates at Charles/MGH station were open to all this morning.

T commuter John Wayne Pint successfully used his LinkPass -- which allows commuters to ride buses, subway trains, and trolleys -- on the Red Line at Charles-MGH heading south to Braintree Monday night. But the next morning at Wollaston station, he said in an e-mail, the pass was denied, and the screen at the gate read, "Not Enough Value."

MBTA officials said they were contacted by about 200 passengers, nearly all on the Red Line, who had problems with their passes, but acknowledged that number could be higher.

MGH employees, 8,000 of whom hold monthly T passes, were affected most widely. The hospital's commuter service office sent out e-mails Tuesday, first saying the issue had been addressed, then later saying it had not.

MBTA officials said the problem occurred when old fare gates at Charles/MGH were replaced by new fare gates last weekend. Officials said software in the fare gates used in the station's old entrance was clashing with software in the new fare gates, failing to recognize LinkPasses and other corporate passes.

MAC DANIEL

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