In the summer of 2009, RTA put into service new “smart” fareboxes on all streetcars and buses. These fareboxes are capable of issuing transfers and other kinds of tickets, printing them as needed, and reading their information. Each has a magnetic stripe similar to the stripe on a credit card, which encodes all the information necessary for the particular type of ticket issued. Here is a sampling of the kinds of tickets issued, and recognized, by these fareboxes.
The first picture shows a “local transfer.” Note that it shows the date and time, the route and vehicle (bus or streetcar) from which it was issued, the direction of travel, and an expiration time, two hours after issuance. (Unfortunately, all transit vehicles are referred to as “buses” on the cards.) To use the transfer, the rider puts it into the card slot on the farebox of the streetcar or bus, which takes it in and interprets the coding on the magnetic stripe; if it is invalid, it emits a warning beep and displays an explanation on the operator's screen; if it is valid, a normal beep sounds, and the “Used” section is imprinted. The card is then returned to the rider, who can use it to continue on another route. The sample shown was issued on bus number 166 operating inbound on route 108 (Algiers Local); it was then used to board a streetcar outbound on route 47, Canal. Multi-coupon transfers, such as shown in Picture 12-41 above, are no longer in use.
The second picture shows a similar transfer issued to an ADA or senior reduced fare rider. Transfers are free to these riders, but cost 25˘ for everyone else.
The third picture shows an emergency transfer, issued by farebox number 2 on streetcar 2006 (so the car number is printed as 20062). This could be used in case of some unusual circumstance, such as a blockage or unexpected turnback of a streetcar.
RTA has long had a one-day pass fare option. These passes are now sold on the streetcars and buses, and are printed by the farebox. The fourth picture shows such a pass, issued on February 19, 2010.
The fifth picture shows a sample of something new: a change ticket. Since bus and streetcar operators do not make change, a rider who did not have the correct exact fare used to have to overpay, and had no way to claim a refund. The new fareboxes can issue “change” in the form seen here. This ticket was good for 50˘ toward the rider's fare on his next trip. We can see that it was issued on bus number 20232, and was spent on streetcar 2006, leaving a balance of zero.
The last picture shows the back of the fare cards (the same for all types).
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