The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

August 16, 2013

New bus fare boxes to be rolled out Monday

BY JENNIFER BAILEY jbailey@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Starting Monday, Danville Mass Transit buses will be equipped with new fare boxes offering riders new ways to pay.

What’s new are free transfers, one-day and 31-day passes, DMT smart cards — which will be coming soon — and change cards.

Riders still can pay for bus rides with cash, but they now will have more options, including buying the magnetically encoded passes for trips.

The fare boxes work by having the rider insert tickets, transfers and passes into the slot. The weekly and 31-day passes can be swiped.

There also is an option to insert cash and coins.

The cost for a regular bus fare is $1. The reduced fare for students, people with disabilities and veterans is 50 cents.

Seniors and others under certain requirements can ride for free.

DMT also will soon be having a Smart Card where it can be purchased for $3.50 and pre-loaded with any dollar amount for easy fare payment.

Change cards also are available. Exact change isn’t needed for a bus ride. The DMT driver will issue a change card that may be used for other fares.

The change card doesn’t expire and it is not redeemable for cash.

“Paper tickets can wear with time,” Danville Mass Transit Director John Metzinger, however, pointed out.

The fare boxes now in use on the buses are from the 1980s. They are no longer supported by the manufacturer, Metzinger said.

DMT purchased the new fare boxes and revenue collection equipment from GFI Genfare for $328,111.

Funds for the new fare boxes came from grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration and the State of Illinois Toll Revenue funds.

Positive benefits for riders with the new fare boxes include: transfers between buses will be made more secure, protecting DMT fare revenues. New transfer tickets will be magnetically encoded for the time valid, issued to the rider from the fare box. Riders will swipe the transfer so that the fare box can validate it when boarding, removing the driver from having to determine if a transfer is valid.

Other benefits include increased data collection and reporting tools. Ridership reporting is easier.

“It’s a very secure system,” Metzinger added.

The fare box changes are just part of more DMT improvements coming, including with the downtown transfer zone and new bus routes.