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Sunday, October 5, 2008

UC Metro riders now need special card

If you're one of the many people out there who have been taking advantage of UC/Metro fare deal that allows University of Cincinnati students, faculty and staff to ride Metro for free then you will find this of interest. The program has been so successful that they are making some changes to better track usage and prevent abuse.

All you have to do currently is flash your valid UC ID to ride. This will only work until October 19th; at that point you will have to use the special card to continue riding for free. You can get the special card by logging in to your UC account and providing some basic information (name, address, etc). Metro will then mail you your fare card within three business days and you'll be all set to continue riding Metro for free.

The cards will function on a quarterly basis that corresponds with the UC quarter system. That means those who get their cards for this Fall Quarter will be able to use them until January 10, 2009 and then have to reapply for a Winter Quarter card. You can learn more about the program and its changes on Metro's website.

Metro is currently working on a new fare system that will replace the 12-16 year old fare system that is currently used. Colin Groth, Community/Government Relations Manager at Metro, said the new system is still under development and will hopefully be running with the next year or so, but cautioned that funding is an issue.

The new system will feature 'smart cards' that will allow users to deposit funds and will automatically deduct those funds when the card is scanned for use. It is something that could be purchased at local stores and possibly linked with user's banking accounts. It will be a proxy card system that will only require users to wave their card as they get on the bus.

Also new, Metro will be linked into GoogleTransit by the end of the year. This will allow users to go onto GoogleMaps and get directions the same way they always do. What this means is that users will have an option in addition to the walk or car options currently available on GoogleMaps for Cincinnati. Watch a quick YouTube video on how to use the map feature here.

16 comments:

Quim said...

I didn't see anything on the site about the smart cards (non UC).
Does this mean the unlimited flat rate passes will be kaput ?

Randy Simes said...

Metro is just working on the development of a new card/fare system. One that will update/replace their roughly 15 year old system. If you need more clarification I can check with my source and get back with you.

Quim said...

Nah
thanks - it is so far out timewise, they probably don't know for sure what they will wind up with, anyway.
Just so long as they don't want to start surgically implanting chips in me at that little booth down at Government Sq.

taestell said...

I'm really unhappy with this decision. I'm sure the system was being abused by non-current students or that IDs that fell into the wrong hands, but all this will do is make UC students less likely to ride the bus. Many students that might have just randomly tried riding Metro will not go through the hassle of requesting a pass online every quarter.

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