Boston’s first mascot for mass transit was a horse named Old Billy. By far the best known of the city’s 8,000 streetcar horses before electricity, he achieved international attention for his longevity and durability. Old Billy labored 30 years, logged more than 125,000 miles, and never took a sick day, before enjoying a decade of semi-retired celebrity.
The MBTA’s newest mascot, a plush character named Charlie who debuted Wednesday, is a show horse, not a workhorse. Without peripheral vision, he needed a team of handlers to avoid falling onto the tracks or getting hit by a car on his first day. He also took frequent hydration breaks, ducking out of sight to remove a giant felt head that sealed in the summer heat.