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Port Authority wants volunteers to test online account system

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 12:44 a.m.

Port Authority of Allegheny County is seeking up to 100 volunteers for a pilot program that will allow them to manage their ConnectCard accounts online.

“It's the No. 1 request we get from customers,” Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said of the online option.

The ConnectCard system allows transit users to pay for rides by tapping prepaid plastic cards on electronic readers on fare boxes.

Customers can buy and replenish cards at Port Authority's Downtown service center and Giant Eagle stores in the South Side and Shadyside. Cards can be replenished at more than 40 ConnectCard vending machines throughout the transit system.

Ritchie said the program — slated to begin within a month and last two months — will allow customers to replenish their cards and check their balance online.

Port Authority is seeking riders who frequently use one of 26 routes. For a complete list and more information, visit http://bit.ly/ZEtmGV.

Officials predict the ConnectCard system will ultimately boost revenue up to 10 percent — or by as much as $8.5 million a year — based on the amount of money the agency expects to collect in tolls this fiscal year. It should reduce expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars, including what the agency spends on money-handling and to print paper passes, officials have said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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