Talbot points out two points to consider when procuring a fare collection system. Total cost of ownership is often underestimated within the operations of a fare collection backend, mainly due to costs for IT services, such as 24/7 monitoring, system administration and maintenance, PCI compliance, ensuring of security and availability of the backend and alike. He also suggests making sure the specification for components within the system are functional and not brand-specific, and leaving options for alternative suggestions to allow vendors to put their best solutions forward.
The new system will lead to changes in the fare structure, which Grant says will be worked out by late summer. MCTS works with nine colleges and universities for UPASS services. “I believe we were the first property to introduce the pass.” He explains, “There is a sticker attached to the student ID that validates it. We’re currently in communications with the universities of the fact that we’re going to be switching over. We’re trying to figure out whether they will be able to switch over to the smartcard or will we continue to work with the student IDs in some other form of path.”
Aside from its passes for colleges and universities, there are a couple of other programs that have been successful for MCTS. The Commuter Value Program is where MCTS provides bus passes to employers for employees. Employers pay half the pass and the employee pays half the pass, so for $33, an employee can get a monthly pass. It’s been in place more than 8 years and Janz says they’re continuing to grow the program.
The other program that Janz says they’re fortunate to have been a partner with for 25 years is the Miller Light Free Ride Program for New Year’s Eve free ride service. MillerCoors sponsors the program and about 15 years ago they extended it to include St. Patrick’s Day, as well.
In the last five or so years, MillerCoors expanded the program. MillerCoors has a division focused on drinking responsibly and they expanded the program to include other communities, including Waukesha, Madison and Ozaukee in Wisconsin and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. “I can’t keep up with the cities they’re in,” Janz says. “There’s a number of them and I really think they’re going to keep going because it’s so successful; the program is such a good program.”
Janz continues, “We have people that ride that don’t normally ride, so they can try it; it’s easier to jump on a bus and not pay anything.
“We’re very fortunate, very happy that they have been such a great partner. Twenty-five years to stick with it is just incredible.”