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Credit cards to cover bus fares.

Phoenix, Ariz., took a big step toward allowing riders to pay bus fares with credit cards last year by rigging the fare boxes to read magnetic stripes on plastic cards. To set up this system, the city added card readers to about 350 electronic fare boxes that had been installed on buses during the 1980s. Since April 1991, the readers have accepted monthly and employee passes and a special bus credit card, says Thomas J. Ross, an engineer with the Phoenix Transit System.

The reader checks the card's number against a list of bad or recently used cards and then beeps to verify that the payment has been logged into its memory. The user receives monthly bills showing the date, fare and location of each trip made with that card. Eventually, the city plans to work out ways to use credit cards in addition to -- and ultimately, instead of -- transit passes, says Ross.
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Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 25, 1992
Words:153
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