Our own BUG member, Dan Panke, has swapped out some of the lyrics in the classic tune "M.T.A." to have a little fun with Ottawa's own LRT system! Dan says: "I originally changed the words for a friend's wife who is currently taking one bus. When the LRT begins her trip becomes 2 buses plus the LRT." The melody is the same as The Kingston Trio video below.
The original song's lyrics tell of Charlie, a man who boards an MTA subway car, but then cannot get off because he does not have enough money for new "exit fares". These additional charges had just been established to collect an increased fare without replacing existing fare collection equipment. Perhaps the same thing could happen in Ottawa - you never know!
"M.T.A.", often called "The MTA Song", is a 1949 song by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. Known informally as "Charlie on the MTA", the song's lyrics tell an absurd tale of a man named Charlie trapped on Boston's subway system, which was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The song was originally recorded as a mayoral campaign song for Progressive Party candidate Walter A. O'Brien. A version of the song with the candidate's name changed became a 1959 hit when recorded and released by The Kingston Trio, an American folk singing group.
The song has become so entrenched in Boston lore that the Boston-area transit authority named its electronic card-based fare collection system the "CharlieCard" as a tribute to this song. The transit organization, now called the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), held a dedication ceremony for the card system in 2004 which featured a performance of the song by the Kingston Trio, attended by then-governor Mitt Romney.