Metro will begin installing new fareboxes on all MetroBus vehicles starting in early September, as part of building a better transit experience for customers. Since last fall, the new fareboxes have been tested on 40 MetroBus vehicles on several high volume routes. Feedback from customers and MetroBus operators allowed Metro to make adjustments before introducing the technology to the full fleet and the more than 92,000 customers who ride MetroBus on an average week day.
A federal earmark grant specifically intended for system and equipment upgrades is being used to purchase the new fareboxes.
The new fareboxes will replace old fare equipment that is becoming expensive and difficult to repair. They will provide more detailed passenger count information which will allow Metro to plan routes that better meet customer needs. The new fareboxes will assure collection of correct fares and help reduce fare evasion. The equipment has advanced software that better identifies counterfeit bills and foreign coins. The new system will also allow customers to use faster and smarter payment methods in the future with smart cards.
The new fareboxes will still require exact change. Customers currently holding valid passes can continue to use them. The fareboxes will still accept $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins.
Changes customers will notice include:
· One person will be able to pay for everyone in their group without paying for each person at a time
· A new display screen shows how much money has been inserted and any balance due
· Payment confirmation with an on-screen “Thank You” and an audible “DING!”
· The insertion of bills and coins one at a time
· 50-cent coins and $2 bills will not be accepted by the new equipment, and pennies will no longer be accepted beginning in October 2013
“During our testing phase, customers adjusted to the new fareboxes within a few weeks,” said Ray Friem, Chief Operating Officer of Metro Transit Services. Friem reminds customers to expect delays in the beginning, and suggests taking an earlier bus to help make connections. “Please be patient. We realize it may be a challenge at first, but the process will get easier, and customers will see the benefits of a better fare collection system,” Friem said.
Metro Ambassadors distributed brochures and answered customers’ questions at some of the busiest MetroBus stops and transit centers August 26 – 28. Metro will keep customers updated on the new fareboxes on its website (www.metrostlouis.org/FaresPasses/NewFareboxes), social media channels, and blog (www.nextstopstl.org), along with onboard signage and decals.
MetroBus customers may email questions or comments about the new fareboxes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can contact Customer Service at (314) 982-1406 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.