michael orlitzky

CharmBypass pt. 1: introduction

posted 2023-11-04; updated 2024-02-02

Update 2024-02-02
law man got me

the newest way to not pay for mass transit in maryland

we’re doing transit equity whether you like it or not

what is it

CharmBypass lets you ride mass transit in Maryland for free. It’s both:

If you like details, read the second article in the series, CharmBypass pt. 2: Analysis.


Because mass transit should be free.

but fares fund mass transit

Shut up, tax the rich.

is this legal

Absolutely not. Fare avoidance is prohibited under MD. Transportation Code Ann. ยง 7-705 (2021). I am not encouraging you to break the law. If you decide to break the law, it should be because this is Baltimore and you feel like it.

how do i use it

The same way you would use CharmPass. Go to https://charm-bypass.com/, choose your ticket, hit the button, and then act cool.

the daily security code

CharmBypass is almost perfect. The MTA has no way to verify the QR code on your ticket, and there’s only one other anti-fraud measure in place: a two-letter daily security code.

CharmBypass screenshots with the daily security code highlighted The daily security code

This daily security code changes every day (surprise). In theory, the MTA reveals the daily code to every bus driver and fare inspector at the beginning of each day. It doesn’t happen often, but you will sometimes get caught trying to use the wrong code. If you know the real code, you can enter it before you generate your ticket. There are a few ways you might find it:

If all else fails, put your finger over the code and start tapping the screen to toggle night/day mode. In other words, pretend that you’re demonstrating the authenticity of your ticket while “accidentally” obscuring the fare inspector’s view of the security code.

tips and tricks

Full-screen mode

For best results, you should put your web browser in full-screen mode so that it’s not obvious you’re looking at a website. Usually this happens automatically when you scroll down on a page, but CharmBypass is full-screen and doesn’t scroll.

In Chrome or the Samsung Internet browser, there’s a trick you can use: zoom in, scroll down (to hide the URL bar), and then zoom back out. In Safari or Firefox though, you’ll just have to go fuck yourself, because it’s impossible.