PSTA Conducting Research to Improve Regional Fare Collection and Efficiency

Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)

What: Asking riders for feedback to help improve bus fare technology

When: December 1 – December 7, 2014

Where: Throughout Pinellas County

Why:  To help determine the best way to streamline PSTA’s fare collection systems and policies

How: Through an online survey available on PSTA’s website and social media

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is surveying riders this week to learn more about their preferred method of fare payment and pass types when riding. PSTA is working with HART and other transit agencies throughout the Tampa Bay area to implement a new regional transit payment system to allow seamless travel between counties and more efficient bus service. The survey will provide background data to ensure that the options offered in the new system meets rider demand and preferences.

PSTA officials say that the technologies being considered are a “ticket app” and a durable, reloadable card that would hold a specific dollar amount (similar to a gift card) with no expiration date. Along with giving riders greater flexibility for their transit dollar, it will significantly speed the bus boarding process as compared to current fare collection methods. These mobile  phone and “Smart Card” technologies are used at other transit systems throughout the country, such as Atlanta and Miami. However, agency officials also emphasize that even with the new system, cash will continue to be a payment option when riding PSTA.
The project, which is expected to be implemented in the second half of 2015, is being funded by a fare technology development grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. Officials also stress that this survey is for fare paying methodology only and does NOT involve any increases in bus fares.
Riders can participate and help with this project by vising www.PSTA.net or social media at Ridepsta.

Media Contact:

Bob Lasher
External Affairs Officer
blasher@psta.net
(727) 540-1874 Office
(727) 580-7135 Cell

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “PSTA Conducting Research to Improve Regional Fare Collection and Efficiency

  1. JohnB

    “…it will significantly speed the bus boarding process as compared to current fare collection methods.”
    PSTA is spending more taxpayers’ money (“funded by a fare technology development grant from the Florida Department of Transportation”) to improve service for riders.
    One of the (many) reasons PSTA cannot provide the service that riders believe they are entitled to is that PSTA is charging an average of 91 cents/ride and taxpayers are paying/subsidizing another $6.00/ride.
    Efficient transit services (i.e. those that have adequate coverage and ridership) have fare recoveries closer to 50% of operating costs.
    Of course that will never be possible in a low density area such as Pinellas County, but PSTA could legitimately expect to collect 30% of operating costs.
    One way to collect higher fares is to consider a means-tested fare discount formula rather than giving away free rides, heavily discounting passes for everyone regardless of their financial need and providing low cost rides to tourists.
    The Greenlight scheme was touted as being a way to get more money out of tourists (as much as 1/3 of total funding). Here is another opportunity to squeeze more money out of tourists – if PSTA really believes they offer a valuable service that tourists will actually use and pay for their services.
    A fare card is a very effective means of collecting fares quickly. They are used in Hong Kong for everything related to transit – buses, trolleys, trains, toll roads, other tolls, parking, etc.

  2. Reblogged this on Public Transit As Told By HARTride 2012 and commented:
    In preparation for the roll out of a regional fare collection system, PSTA is wanting to gather some data as to what customers would prefer for fare payment and passes. This will ensure that when the new system does roll out, that we’re using fare collection methods that people want.

    Please take a moment to fill out PSTA’s survey. Your opinion means a lot for the entire Tampa Bay region, not just Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Remember, multiple counties are taking part in this regional effort.

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