Port Authority Delays Implementing “Proof of Payment” System on the T

The Port Authority has just announced a postponement of the implementation of the “Proof of Payment” system on the T until at least October! While we agree that the implementation should be delayed, we are disappointed that the Port Authority has not addressed our coalition’s concerns about the use of armed Port Authority police to check fares.
We expect the Port Authority to use this additional time to create a fare policy that is more just; we believe fare-evasion should result in a civil charge rather than a criminal charge, and that penalties as high as a $300 fine, jail time and even deportation for our undocumented neighbors is too steep a price to pay for a $2.50 fare.
We will continue to make our voices heard in the boardroom and in the streets!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Port Authority of Allegheny County is postponing the implementation of the cashless proof-of-payment system on its light rail system.
The postponement is the result of several factors, including a delay in the delivery of additional ConnectCard machines, the devices that dispense fare cards and tickets at stations around the system. It was expected that ten of these machines would be delivered and installed in June but manufacturing delays have moved that back to October.
Additionally, issues have developed with software performance on existing ConnectCard machines as well as validators that are part of the new system. Port Authority is working with on-site experts from the company that manufactures and installs its fare collection hardware and software on each of these items.
“The goal of the policy is to make the customer experience better, but in order to make that happen all of the equipment must be available, functional and reliable,” said Port Authority Interim CEO David Donahoe. “Because these items will take time to resolve, I’m not prepared to announce a new start date until I see the results of the work now underway, including field testing .”
The Authority plans a 60-day public education campaign before putting the new system into service, providing riders with the opportunity to learn about and plan for the changes before they occur.
The changes to the light rail system include eliminating cash payments in favor of pre-purchased ConnectCards and tickets that riders would validate on the platform before boarding the car at stations. The system is designed to speed up boarding by allowing all doors to be opened at more locations.