Monday, May 31, 2010

Cash, tickets or passes: the same but with some tweaks

Installers will be busy the weekend of June 5 and 6 installing new, state-of-the-art fareboxes on all 78 LANTA Metro city transit buses. The new fare collection system from GFI Genfare retains revenue security features while adding some new, customer friendly conveniences. As a result of this new technology passengers should be aware of the following changes.

1. Exact change continues to be preferred for all rides, but, in the event that someone overpays, the new farebox will produce 'paper change' - a voucher good for use for future bus fare payment.

2. Checks can no longer be accepted on the bus. Passengers wishing to pay with checks must purchase passes from LANTA offices, transit centers and current ticket agencies.*

3. A display screen facing the customer will show the total amount deposited.

4. LANTA Metro bus operators will no longer sell tickets or passes directly; all passes and tickets will be purchased through the new farebox. Repeat: all fare payments - cash, tickets and passes will go through the farebox. LANTA offices, transit centers and current ticket agencies will continue to sell passes.*

5. All 31-Day pass purchased through the farebox will be activated at the time of purchase. However, if you need to purchase a 31-day passes that is not activated (such as for a gift for later use) these will continue to be sold at agencies* and will not be activated until they are swiped through the box on board.

6. LANTA will no longer sell 40-Ride tickets after this week. The 10-ride ticket will be issued through the farebox.

7. ALL tickets and passes purchased prior to June 7th will still be accepted in the new fareboxes until they expire.

On Monday June 7th, boarding LANTA Metro buses may be slightly slower due to the new fareboxes as customers - and drivers - get acclimated to their unique features. Important note: NO changes in fares are being implemented with this change out of fareboxes.

*Metro tickets and passes are also sold at the following locations:

Allentown:
  • Allentown Transportation Center, 6th & Linden
  • Family Center, 8th and Hamilton Streets
  • Little Apple IGA, 7th and Allen Streets
  • LANTA Customer Service, 1060 Lehigh Street

Bethlehem:

  • Plaza Cards and Snacks in The Marketplace
  • Guetter and Broad Metro Transit Center, Downtown Bethlehem

Easton:

  • LANTA Customer Service, 3610 Nicholas Street, Palmer Township

9 comments:

Bob in Jersey said...

I was surprised personal checks were accepted to begin with. You'd be hard-pressed to find businesses of other types that take them.

Moving LANTA Forward said...

Always trying to be accommodating, LANTA drivers were permitted to accept checks in payment for tickets or passes that drivers had on them as a consignment. It is true: LANTA was one of the few - if not the only transit agency in the US - who's drivers agreed to sell tickets and passes directly. It had been past practice so remained so, again, for the convenience of customers.

The new fareboxes have the capacity to issue ticket and pass media and drivers will no longer need to do so. The 40-ride ticket is being retired because there is such a small market for them.

Over time, there were very few defaults on checks since drivers knew their customers and most bus riders have been honest. Honest!

hodge said...

sweet love the new fare boxes great timing nd its gonna basically stop all the crying over change i ben riding for 15 years july 2 and i tell ya ive heard al the crying over spilled milk i bet the drivers are happy well i know 7of them are just all around easier>>>hodge todd

Moving LANTA Forward said...

"Exact change please" is one of those requirements of public transit that discourages some from using it. Hopefully new systems that provide an alternative will mean more will be welcomed aboard.

carlj said...

How about adding more bus serivce?

Mr. French said...

Next step - enabling the fareboxes to accept credit cards. I know that'd be difficult, since very secure wireless data communication from each farebox would be necessary, but that sort of transaction is increasingly common.

Oh, BTW, a website complaint: this farebox info page being on Blogger means I couldn't view it at work; my employer uses Websense and has Blogger flagged as "social networking," so I couldn't read this page 'til I got home. :(

Thanks for allowing comments, though - and for responding to them in a timely fashion.

Moving LANTA Forward said...

Carlj - Adding service is what LANTA is all about. All funding available from federal, state and local sources is invested in service. When these sources grow, service grows.
LANTA has, in the past 10 years, added about 20% in new service - we've taken some off too because of low usage.
But the selections must have been positive as ridership has grown 70% in that time period.
Want more service? We are ready. Just provide more funding.

Moving LANTA Forward said...

Mr. French:

You are welcome.

Credit cards for fare payment is indeed the next step but with a slight twist that conforms to trasnportation not retail.

The technology is close but not quite there for smaller agencies like LANTA. Philadelphia, Chicago and other large agencies are moving towards a proximity card which functions like the EZ Pass: you sign up, link a credit card to it and then, when you board, flash the pass at the farebox and, bingo, the fare is paid. And, eventually, you'd be able to ride any transit system in the US with such technology, just as drivers can pay their tolls universally. It would be great if it where done with one central service.

While we posted an article on the new fareboxes at the blog site, we also posted information on the front page of the website: www.lantabus.com

These things are linked now: blogspot, Twitter, Facebook. The website still works independently though.

Moving LANTA Forward said...

carlj, see this post:

http://movinglantaforward.blogspot.com/2010/05/state-funding-crisis-current-lanta.html