Paper or plastic for Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority?
At the grocery store, shoppers are sometimes asked, “Paper or plastic?”
For local transit riders, the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority will soon be making the transition from paper ride tickets to plastic.
Within the month, the ConnectCard smart card system will be unveiled, and the authority is recruiting regular riders for a pilot test of the credit-card-sized cards.
“We're looking for 55 to 60 people who ride regularly to test this out for us,” said Marco Roncone, executive director of the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority.
Participants in the test will be eligible for random drawings for such gifts as free 31-day passes.
Riders interested in joining the program can do so at www.mmvta.com.
The ConnectCard will offer three base products — 31-day rolling passes, 10-day trip tickets and stored value.
“Right now, we hold everyone to a calendar pass,” Roncone said of the 31-day passes. “With this, you can buy a pass any time in the month.”
Riders will pass the card along a light on the fare box. Passes will be available for all MMVTA routes.
Under the stored value product, the card user can put cash on the card. Eventually that card's value can be used to pay tolls for rides on the Port Authority of Allegeheny County. Westmoreland County, City of Washington, Butler and Fayette transit rides.
The system will automatically inform the rider how many days are left on a 31-day pass or multi-ride trip ticket.
The pilot program will begin in mid-March when the cards are distributed to test riders for use by the beginning of April. The test will run through the end of June.
“That should give us enough data to make sure the cards operate the way they should,” Roncone said. “When we're done, other agencies will use them. We're the first agency, other than the Port Authority, to test them.”
Eventually, transit riders will be able to purchase rides on line, similar to how E-ZPass operates on line.
“It's the same concept as E-ZPass in that you can use this system in other transit participants,” Roncone said. “It is proven technology, but we are tailoring it for MMVTA use.”
The stored value and 31-day passes can be used on all MMVTA service runs.
Roncone said the system will eliminate most of the cost of printing paper tickets and will give authority officials better accountability of which passes are being used by riders.
“We can't fully take cash out of the system, based on our demographics,” Roncone said. “But the ultimate goal is to limit cash as much as possible.”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.