MetroLink Fare Collection

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
the central scrutinizer wrote:
Who gets the cards? Do you buy them somewhere and reload them? How about the tourist who is in town for 1 day and wants to ride it once? Seems like a waste to issue them a plastic card. The article seems short on details.


I'll never forget my horror when I flew into O'Hare a few years ago and asked the station agent to break a dollar for me so I could buy train fare. He was like, "If you go up the hall and make a right you'll find a gift shop. If you buy something there, they'll give you change." :roll: Then about a month ago my Korean in-laws came to the US for the first time, landed at O'Hare, and together we repeated the experience. OMG man.

In large Asian cities with with large subway systems, every station has a guy in a glass booth with a cash register. You can buy a card off of him or you can sell a card to him. Or you can ask him for information, tourist maps, or whatever.

In Singapore, you can buy a card from the staiton agent or at a 7-11, or online, or at a mall kiosk (for the cute keychain baubles with chips in them) and add money to it at machines, 7-11s, etc.

The machines look like this,
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On those days when I stupidly left my EZ-Link card at home, I would buy a ticket from one of the machines. The ticket was about two sing dollars and dropped right out of the machine. It looks like this,
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After I made my journey, I stopped by a machine, inserted the card, and a dollar coin dropped out, my returned deposit.

Generally if somebody was coming to Singapore to visit me, I got a card and loaded it with ten bucks for them before they arrived and just handed it to them at the airport.
That's a thoughtful way to greet a guest!
It sounds like Metro has implemented the new fare boxes (admittedly I haven't ridden for a while so I haven't seen first hand... I work in Illinois)

http://www.metrostlouis.org/FaresPasses ... boxes.aspx

Does anyone know anything more about the time frame for implementation of the "Smart Card" technology? As an infrequent rider of Metro, and someone who rarely has cash on my person, I am anxious for this system to get up and running!
^Those are only on select bus routes and it doesn't look like they even take credit cards. Groundbreaking.

I am excited about the smartcards, BUT it looks like they first announced they were considering them back in 2010 and here it is three years later and.......no smart cards. I'm not super optimistic about a time frame.
^^^ One more link:

http://www.mygatewaycard.com/
That's great. Now they can integrate with iOS Passbook: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5483 and a similar Google solution.
A great first step, but still missing the crucial "point of entry" component and the problem with hop-ons (you're gonna get some hop-ons). If Metro is serious about making public transit a respected/viable mode of transportation, it needs to lock down its passenger loading system. Invest in some fare control stalls and station staff so that NOBODY is getting a free ride.
According to an officer I overheard on the Metrolink the other day, fare dodging has been up recently, so Metro police are currently increasing enforcement until things return to normal. I have personally witnessed a dramatic increase in ticket checking over the past month or so.

In an related note, a guy in a wheelchair was fare dodging.
When I see someone laying across two seats, being loud or obnoxious in general, I do wonder whether the reason they don't 'respect' their 'ride' is because they didn't pay for it.
I ride the same ~4:15 train from downtown to Shrewsbury most weekdays (let's say 3+ a week on average). And not once in EIGHT YEARS has my ticket been checked on this train. If I go home around noon, or later at night, maybe, and then it's usually around Wash U.

Full fare control will never have a payback period. It's a terrible investment economically. So I support 'on your honor' ticketing. But spread it around a little. I notice fare hopping most between Union Station and CWE for the blue line. At least, that's what I assume it is when a 'watcher' at the door notices a security guard on the platform and motions for his group to run off that car and onto the next.

The red line I really haven't ridden enough to tell.
bprop wrote:
I ride the same ~4:15 train from downtown to Shrewsbury most weekdays (let's say 3+ a week on average). And not once in EIGHT YEARS has my ticket been checked on this train. If I go home around noon, or later at night, maybe, and then it's usually around Wash U.

Full fare control will never have a payback period. It's a terrible investment economically. So I support 'on your honor' ticketing. But spread it around a little. I notice fare hopping most between Union Station and CWE for the blue line. At least, that's what I assume it is when a 'watcher' at the door notices a security guard on the platform and motions for his group to run off that car and onto the next.

The red line I really haven't ridden enough to tell.


You're right in that they never check during weekday rush hour. Though when I rode westbound around 6pm they checked a lot.

It seems like the fare cop typically does the rear train between Grand and CWE and the front train CWE to Forest Park. But a lot of the time they never get to the front train as they often catch someone in the rear then escort them off and write them up at the CWE station.
I always get checked on the 12:19 or 12:39 train out of Shrewsbury, normally around Maplewood to Richmond Heights or Clayton.
Any update on this card? Haven't heard any news at all in awhile

This card would be the most convenient thing for me - I use public transit sparingly and rarely have cash so I avoid the bus.
What seemed to make sense for me in terms of fare collection and control Is the system they use in London. You buy an Oyster card and you just top up with money on it to be used for the transportation system. There is a daily cap on how much is deducted in a day and you can load weekly, monthly, or yearly passes on it. Also fare jumping is nearly impossible with proper controls.
This story from a couple of days ago reports NY is doing away with the metro cards there.

https://nyti.ms/2h32Rb0
UrbanReview ST [email protected]

Stopped at the @STLMetro store at 8th & Pine, got a full fare Gateway Card for my husband to use. Still waiting on a reduced-fare card for myself. #stl

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I'm seriously hesitant to say this due to the conservative backlash I'll receive but I'll say it anyway...
Speaking of MetroLink fare collection, I don't take the MetroLink very often but every time I've been on it recently, I've had my pass checked. Even twice on one trip.

Positives: It's a sense of security, even if it's a false one. White people that want to use the park & ride lots won't think that the MetroLink system is complete anarchy. The honor system for transit actually works really well. I think we've over compensated on enforcement lately, but it works.

Negatives: For every "trouble maker" that gets kicked off the MetroLink, 10 well meaning St. Louisans just trying to get to work or visit friends and family get kicked off as well. Can they really not afford a $2.50 ticket? I have no idea, I've never lived in poverty before. But Bi-State is not a for-profit company. Being able to get around St. Louis is a human right, and frankly the powers that be have spent the last 60 years making that as difficult as possible.

Fare enforcement is an attempt to solve a problem that is an NRA problem, and GOP problem, and a racism problem.
Yes, it's enforcing the law but it misses the mark. It won't improve ridership. It won't desegregate the city. It won't decrease KMOV and KSDK's need for clicks on their Facebook posts to feed their online Ad revenue. It will simply disrupt hundreds of people just trying to get around the city the only way the know how.
I'm against turnstiles, but all for fare inspection. I find it encouraging that you've experienced thorough fare inspection recently. I think it's an important enforcement mechanism for what's otherwise an honor system.

It's an interesting philosophy to categorize public transportation as a human right. Has any earthly society or even city (and not just small resort or college towns) upheld such a right?
I've been cited for not having a valid MetroLink ticket.
quincunx wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:39 pm
UrbanReview ST [email protected]

Stopped at the @STLMetro store at 8th & Pine, got a full fare Gateway Card for my husband to use. Still waiting on a reduced-fare card for myself. #stl

Image
Can we finally get Gateway Cards?
aprice wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:06 pm
I'm seriously hesitant to say this due to the conservative backlash I'll receive but I'll say it anyway...
Speaking of MetroLink fare collection, I don't take the MetroLink very often but every time I've been on it recently, I've had my pass checked. Even twice on one trip.

Positives: It's a sense of security, even if it's a false one. White people that want to use the park & ride lots won't think that the MetroLink system is complete anarchy. The honor system for transit actually works really well. I think we've over compensated on enforcement lately, but it works.

Negatives: For every "trouble maker" that gets kicked off the MetroLink, 10 well meaning St. Louisans just trying to get to work or visit friends and family get kicked off as well. Can they really not afford a $2.50 ticket? I have no idea, I've never lived in poverty before. But Bi-State is not a for-profit company. Being able to get around St. Louis is a human right, and frankly the powers that be have spent the last 60 years making that as difficult as possible.

Fare enforcement is an attempt to solve a problem that is an NRA problem, and GOP problem, and a racism problem.
Yes, it's enforcing the law but it misses the mark. It won't improve ridership. It won't desegregate the city. It won't decrease KMOV and KSDK's need for clicks on their Facebook posts to feed their online Ad revenue. It will simply disrupt hundreds of people just trying to get around the city the only way the know how.
Freedom of travel is a human right but I wouldn't say that free public transport is a human right. Unless you mean walking. I'm all for public transport but stopped using the metro after my laptop got stolen. Still, I'm for implementing a comprehensive light rail system as a legitimate car alternative but not in its current form.

-Make it a private company because Metro is too political
-Cut overhead. Self driving trains have been a thing for a very long time. That's 1,100 people off the books from just buses and trains.
-Make it secure. Fingerprint and facial recognition for ticketing info. Everyone inside a station is scanned when they enter. If your phone has these features it shouldn't be that difficult to implement. Keep a couple of officers/personnel at every station.
-Charge what the actual cost of the service is. 2-300 per month is still cheaper than having a car with all associated costs. The MO/local/fed gov can support those that can't afford it with 50% or whatever to help.
-Encourage people walking and living a healthier life. Everyone just sits all day in their house/car/work.
- I think that a private company could actually do it without tax assistance.

How is fare enforcing a race issue? What does it matter if ridership increases if it isn't paid for?
I've been a "tester" for 18 months for the Gateway Card, and it's awesome. I ride the bus 10x more than I ever did before, due to not having to worry about having cash for the bus.

It's also awesome not to have to break out my wallet at a Metro vending machine next to a bunch of sketchy characters. Rather, I can re-up my card at the vending machines that aren't swarming with weirdos. Internet loading would be nice, but I don't think we've gotten there yet (or have we?).

How many years have they been testing this now? Gotta be some kind of record.
I think what Aprice was trying to get at is this:

We've built a society where you cannot get from affordable housing to paying work or even to a good food source without access to a transportation system. That transportation system costs money. We used tax money to build it. We did not build a society where everyone had equal access to wealth. We use tax money to support some . . . but not all. To get the full benefit of that tax money you have to have some money in the first place. Maybe there's a better way. It's short and darned oversimplified, but does that sound about right?
eee123 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:25 am
I've been a "tester" for 18 months for the Gateway Card, and it's awesome. I ride the bus 10x more than I ever did before, due to not having to worry about having cash for the bus.

It's also awesome not to have to break out my wallet at a Metro vending machine next to a bunch of sketchy characters. Rather, I can re-up my card at the vending machines that aren't swarming with weirdos. Internet loading would be nice, but I don't think we've gotten there yet (or have we?).

How many years have they been testing this now? Gotta be some kind of record.
I assume they give the capability of buying unlimited (weekly/monthly) passes?