This past Sunday I went to Berkeley to give a talk. Like all good Transportationists, I took BART from SFO to the Downtown Berkeley station. As noted previously, I carry a BART fare card with me, and so I used that to enter the system at the airport. When I got to Berkeley, despite the a few dollars on my card (the amount was unreadable due to the poor printing from previous trips), I still owed money, so I went to the Addfare machine. It said I needed to add $4.05. I had 4 dollar bills and some twenties. The machine only took singles and fives. It further did not take credit cards. How was I supposed to leave?
I was literally Charlie on the M.T.A..
The station agent (at least there was a station agent to keep me from being a gate-jumper), pointed to a change machine, outside the gate. A fellow traveler in the same predicament went with permission of the agent, outside the gate, to get change, to get back inside the gate, to put money on the card, so she could go outside the gate. She went before me while I watched her bag, to get change, which she then put into the machine.
I begged a nickel from her and completed the transaction. I figure, since I am in Berkeley, might-as-well ask for handouts.
[Pictures of BART machines, out-of-order, from the last decade. I assume they are fixed by now and there are no more broken BART machines.]