In late spring or early summer, Metro riders will no longer have to look under couch cushions and in forgotten pockets to scrounge together $1.75 to take a ride.
Efforts to increase accessibility and convenience started last November when Metro installed new fareboxes on all of the operations’ 342 buses. A new Glenway Crossing transit center opened in December. This year, Metro launches new payment options.
The new transit center gives riders on the West Side a more convenient place to board buses and establishes a park-and-ride with 70 parking spots. The new fareboxes will help Metro track rider numbers on routes in an effort to increase efficiency and serve riders better.
New payment options include change tickets, which will print out after a rider uses a five, 10 or 20-dollar-bill to pay. The ticket can then be used on subsequent trips until the change is depleted. Metro’s current monthly passes will be replaced by rolling 30-day passes that allow riders to start using them for any 30-day period, instead of just from the beginning to end of a month. Two other options are pre-paid cards, or a reloadable, go Smart card.
“Other cities already have options like this,” says Jill Dunne, public affairs manager for Metro. “We’re moving up to become one of the better public transit agencies.”
The 30-day rolling passes could be available as soon as March, with the three other options soon after. Another annoyance soon to be eliminated? The need for exact change. Since fareboxes don’t produce change, new prepaid options will make riding the Metro much simpler.
Riders will be able to take advantage of the new options in several places, including online and a vending machine at Government Square.
By Evan Wallis