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Boston developing ‘key to the city’ for use with public, private transportation options

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Working with state, Zipcar

People boarding a subway trolley. Boston Globe/Contributor

Boston and Massachusetts officials are considering creating either a CharlieCard-like plastic card or a mobile application—or both—that will work on the T and commuter rail as well as with the Hubway bike-share system and private transportation modes such as Zipcar and Uber.

Such a “key to the city”—as the administration of Mayor Marty Walsh calls it—would probably be unique among metropolitan transportation systems because of that private-mode aspect (users would also be able to use it to pay parking meters).

How close is the city and the state to developing this super-duper transit charm? Not too close, it turns out.

Per the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro, “the proposal is in its early stages.” But there is a kind of deadline. The MBTA wants to modernize its fare-collection technology across the T and commuter rail by 2020. This card/app/whatever would fit in with those plans.

Zipcar says it’s already been in touch with City Hall about the project, and ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft are not opposed. Stay tuned.