Starting Wednesday, Metro Transit will begin installing new fare boxes on all of its buses, and if your daily commute includes a MetroBus ride, you might want to plan on some delays.
Metro tested the new fare boxes on around 40 buses, and customers won’t be able to drop all of their money into the machines at the same time. Metro Spokeswoman Patti Beck says they’ve learned from their pilot program that it takes some time for people to get used to a new way of paying.
“But then that reverts to the normal boarding process about after a three week period,” Beck says.
The move is part of a larger shift toward "smart-card" technology, which will take around two years to fully implement.
“The smart card would be able to be pre-loaded with the amount the customer chooses for trips on MetroLink, MetroBus transfers and will be as simple as tapping the card on the fare box on the bus,” Beck says.
Beck recommends that riders, if they can, take an earlier bus for the next few weeks.
The new fare boxes will replace old ones that metro says are expensive and difficult to repair, and they will allow Metro officials to get more accurate ridership numbers. Money from a federal grant is being used to pay for the upgrades.
Beck says it will take several weeks for Metro to put the new machines in all of its buses. The machines will no longer accept 50-cent coins, $2 bills and pennies.
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