The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 14, 2013

DMT looks into fare boxes

DANVILLE — Increased technology could soon be coming to city buses in the form of new fare boxes.

Danville Mass Transit Director John Metzinger told aldermen this week that bids will be opened on March 22 for new fare box technology. He could bring a proposal for aldermen to approve next month.

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

The data reporting system is an old MS-DOS system with possibly the only remaining form-fed dot matrix printer in the Midwest, according to Metzinger.

“We have a great need to replace our technology,” Metzinger said.

DMT has federal grant money to replace the fare boxes. Metzinger said the money is there waiting to be spent.

Positive benefits for riders with the new fare boxes:

  • DMT will be able to offer new fare options that use magnetically-encoded bus passes. DMT will be able to offer a monthly pass or day pass or any other type of pass for unlimited trips.
  • 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.
  • Depending on which bid is selected, DMT may be able to offer the ability for riders to pay a fare with a credit card or smart card at the fare box. A smart card could be loaded with cash such as at the DMT office.

Riders also would just have to tap the card on the fare box instead of swiping it, Metzinger said.

  • Other benefits include increased data collection and reporting tools. Ridership reporting would be made easier.

Metzinger reported to the city council’s Public Works Committee this week that revenue is down 4 percent for the year, but remains on track to exceed budget.

February revenue was up 11 percent from last year at $39,324.

Ward 5 Alderman Mike Puhr said his children don’t carry cash. They’ve also used one-day city passes for public transportation elsewhere.

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