PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The way you pay to ride the bus, the T or the Incline will soon be changing.

The Port Authority is in its final phase of developing the Connect Card electronic fare system.

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The Port Authority is in the process of installing a new smart card fare collection system using machines that will allow riders to swipe a prepaid card rather than have exact change.

It’s something some commuters see as a real hassle.

“It’s inconvenient and often times we are running late and you want to catch the T and it’s coming and people are still rummaging,” Carole Donofrio said.

“I think it’s a good idea. I was up in Chicago and they did the same thing and it was really easy, very convenient,” Heather Ambrose said.

Currently, the Port Authority is recruiting volunteers to test out the Connect Card system.

“About 600 riders later this summer, early fall, will be out testing the Connect Card for about two months and we are still in the process right now of seeking applicants to participate,” Port Authority Spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

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The Port Authority is looking for a wide range of regular riders from Pittsburgh, the North Hills and the South Hills, whether they use a monthly or weekly pass.

Information collected from the test will be very valuable.

“You want to work out all of the glitches in the system. You can put everything down on paper that you want, but until you really test it in the field, you are not going to know for sure whether everything works properly,” Ritchie said.

If all goes well, the system could be completely rolled out by late fall.

You can apply to be a volunteer up until June 22 on the Port Authority’s website.

Test program participants will have the chance to win a month of free ride.


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