Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The Allegheny County Port Authority is one step closer to installing the smart card fare system on buses and T stations, by testing the new system on 10 North Hills buses. Port Authority Spokesman Jim Ritchie says the pilot program, which selected frequent bus riders to use smart cards, is to continue through most of August and will look to fix bugs that participants may encounter before installing it on all Port Authority buses and T stations this fall. Ritchie says the $33 million system will continue to take cash, but smart card capabilities will be available, which gives riders the option of prepaying for bus fare and having it get deducted from a card they carry. A flash of the card in front of the reader will deduct the amount the cost of one ride. Ritchie says there is also a possibility that Port Authority will begin to put weekly and monthly passes onto cards for easier use. Scheidt & Bachmann USA Inc. are the fare system providers, and Ritchie says that they hope to have the new fare collection up and running by the beginning of 2010.