Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finally Baltimore Has Smart Cards!

(photo credit flickr jpete)

...only took them 3 years since all the Maryland Transit Pass fare boxes and gates were added! Case-in-point, the above picture is from December 2006. Notice the Maryland Transit Pass COMING SOON! smart card tap pad on it.

Baltimore Sun article

Plans are to have it up and running by October, while now it isn't operational with the WMATA system yet, something about who gets what money, the systems are compatible to make it so in the future.

This is a great start. Next step - make it work for the MARC Train. This will help speed up efficiency on the Light Rail and Buses, get people through the fare gates in the Metro faster, and cut down on trash from the paper passes.

I am interested to see how the MTA will be policing fares on the Light Rail with this system. In Boston the MBTA has handheld fare readers that inspectors carry. It's also helpful with efficiency. During rush hour inspectors are placed on Green Line platforms to help quicken the boarding process. A similar system would work for the Light Rail and the MARC.

It's yet to be seen how much the cards will cost at the beginning, and none of the fare boxes can accept credit/debit cards yet, but that should be updated eventually (i.e. next couple years). Cash is the only option right now.

Can't wait for October.

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