Some Metro Transit riders saw new fare boxes as they boarded buses today.
The agency is testing the new fare boxes, which look a little like vending machines, on 40 of its buses.
The new fare boxes don’t allow customers to drop all of their money into the machines at the same time, and Metro Transit spokeswoman Dianne Williams said that change has been the source of most early complaints.
“It takes a little longer to put one dollar bill in at a time,” Williams said. “We knew that was going to happen, and customers will adjust to it. They’ll get used to having one bill at a time, one coin at a time. We’re expecting that the first day is the toughest and it gets easier as we go along.”
Williams said the new fare boxes will pave the way toward so-called “smart card” technology, which will eliminate the need for paper tickets and make transfers easier.
“But the first stage of this is equipping the entire system with all of the hardware, and that’s going to take a couple years,” Williams said.
In the meantime, she said the agency is logging complaints to help it fine tune the digital system before expanding it to the rest of its fleet.
Williams said it will take years to put all the hardware in place and to work out all of the bugs before switching over to smart fare card machines.