Topeka Metro will launch their new smart fareboxes on the Metro bus fleet beginning Feb. 2 to replace the current fareboxes. The last farebox update was more than 16 years ago.
The new Odyssey fareboxes have several special features that will be advantageous to riders, and will assist with route planning by providing data of when and where riders board. Susan Duffy, general manager for Topeka Metro, said, “It’s a ‘smart’ farebox – it can receive cash and gives back a change card, similar to how a gift card is used. We will also receive daily ridership data that we have not had before."
Fares and costs of tickets and monthly passes will remain the same. However, with the new smart farebox, Topeka Metro will offer a 10-ride card instead of 10 tickets. The new farebox will keep track of how many rides have been used and will print the remaining balance on the card.
Another new feature, the 31-day pass, is a bargain compared to the current monthly pass. “Some riders don’t always get paid at the first of the month and the 31-day pass allows purchasing flexibility,” said Duffy, “And over a year’s time, a rider will get to ride seven extra days with the 31-day pass.”
The 31-day pass will be valid for 31 days from the day the rider activates it. For example, if a pass is purchased on the first of the month but is not used until the fifth, the 31 days starts with its first use on the fifth. Riders can purchase two or three monthly passes at a time, and begin using the new pass once the old one expires.
There will be two open houses at Quincy Street Station to educate the public about the new farebox system. Examples of the new tickets and passes will be featured along with the new fareboxes.
Duffy reminds riders that once the change has taken effect, old tickets can still be used until June 1, or full sheets of tickets can be exchanged for new 10-ride cards. Previously purchased February monthly passes will also be valid through the end of the month.