TriMet is installing new ticketing machines on its buses that will produce studier, more legible two-hour tickets and day passes.
The machines are currently being tested on buses in lines 17 and 70. Plans call for installing them on all buses by July 1 at a cost of $1.5 million.
The machines are made by INIT, a leading supplier of fare collection systems. TriMet decided to install them after the regional transit agencys board of directors eliminated the previous three fare zones in the current budget.
Until now, all bus transfers were printed on thin paper and punched by drivers, who then handed them to passengers. The new tickets and passes are the same as those currently issued on the MAX and WES rail systems. They have a foil security strip and the two-hour tickets more clearly state how long they are valid.
For years, most bus transfers have not matched those on the rail systems, but these new printers will ensure that bus riders will get a full two-hour ticket, says Chris Tucker, TriMets director of revenue operations.
Unlike the ticket vending machines found on MAX and WES platforms, these printers are located inside the buses and are about the size of a toaster. Riders put the necessary fare into the fare box for either a 2-hour ticket or a day pass, just as they usually do.
Instead of tearing off a newsprint transfer receipt with the ticket type and day code punched out, however, the bus operator will pressa button on the console for the corresponding fare. The ticket prints and pops up out of a slot on the top of the machine. The rider then takes the ticket and proceeds with boarding.
TriMet believes the new system will be easier for operators and fare enforcers, and may speed up the boarding process for riders.
In addition to the new printing system, TriMet will also be piloting a new mobile ticket system in the coming months that was created by local software company GlobeSherpa. The TransitSherpa app will allow riders to buy and use tickets on their smartphones to ride buses, the MAX and WES.
According to TriMet, a beta test of the mobile ticketing app will launch by the end of April with a full systemwide launch expected sometime this summer. For more information about the TransitSherpa app, visit http://trimet.org/mobiletickets.