Cash-using transit riders to be offered taste of modern technology

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Still using cash to pay your bus or rail fares? Port Authority is about to try to lure you into the 21st century.

Sometime in March, the agency will make the new plastic ConnectCards available to those who prefer not to buy monthly or weekly passes. It is the next step in the phased implementation of the smartcard technology.

The card is tapped briefly on a target on the farebox, which reads it and deducts the appropriate fare.
Currently, the cards are being issued primarily to monthly and weekly pass holders, who can renew them at the Downtown service center, two Giant Eagle stores (Shadyside and South Side) or about two dozen vending machines placed at stops and stations.

One of the changes coming next month is that people who want cards with a specific cash value (rather than a pass) will be able to get them. For example, if you are an occasional rider, you might start with $20 on the card. Each time you use it, the fare will be deducted. The cash value can be replenished at the above-referenced locations.

Also coming next month: ConnectCard sales will be expanded to about 50 Giant Eagle locations that currently sell passes. And Port Authority will stop selling books of paper tickets (although they’ll still be valid for fare payments for an undetermined time).

Farther down the road, the authority will allow first-time card buyers to get them at the vending machines; it will activate and pilot-test the ConnectCard readers that have been installed at major rail stops; and it will implement online card renewals.

Cash will still be accepted on buses and railcars. But do you really want those angry glares from the riders you delay as you fumble with bills and coins?

roadworkaheadParkway West bridge and overhead sign inspections will cause lane closures from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday outbound between Banksville Road and Parkway Center and from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. outbound between Green Tree and Interstate 79. On Sunday, lane closures are possible from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. inbound between GreenTree and Banksville and outbound from Green Tree to I-79.

Reminder that Boyce Road from Lawn Shadow Drive to Summit Ridge Drive in South Fayette will be closed for water line replacement from 7 a.m. Feb. 27 around the clock through March 1.

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