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LACTC WILL TEST ELECTRONIC FARE PAYMENT METHOD ON BUSES

 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire -- The Los Angeles County Transportation Commission will be testing a new electronic Fare Debit Card system which may replace currency, monthly passes, tokens and tickets used by passengers when boarding buses and trains in Los Angeles County.
 "This system will make it easier for passengers to transfer from one bus company to another and from bus to rail," said Jack Bacharach, LACTC commissioner and Southern California Regional Rail Authority chair.
 "The Fare Debit Card will make public transportation more user friendly," said Nick Patsaouras, RTD director and LACTC commissioner. "Riders won't have to be looking for change in their pocket or purse. They just insert the card in the machine and sit down."
 An initial 8-week demonstration project will test passenger's acceptance of the new system and equipment performance.
 The first phase will begin in January on RTD Line 484 serving Ontario, Pomona, El Monte and downtown Los Angeles. A second phase includes testing on Foothill Transit Buses and Culver City Municipal Bus Lines.
 The overall demonstration project will take 26 weeks. The LACTC has approved $4.6 million to pay for the testing project and the equipment, which includes 300 scanners installed on buses, 16 card- sales machines and card stock.
 "Under the Fare Debit Card system one card will pay for any bus, rail or transfer trip," said Neil Peterson, LACTC executive director. "Each bus or rail transit company will electronically collect the fare for the service it provides and the appropriate dollar value will be deducted from the card."
 When the stored value drops under $10 the machine will remind the passenger to buy more value to the card by printing out the remaining value.
 Customers may purchase a card for any number of fares they wish at selected transit stores, ticket-sale outlets, and places where they buy the monthly passes.
 The credit is coded on a magnetic strip on the back of the card. When boarding a train or bus, passengers simply slip the card into a scanner and the machine automatically subtracts the fare amount for that trip from the card's stored value. The scanners will be installed on each bus and at each rail station.
 "The system enables each transportation provider to collect the fares for the service it provides," said Bob Khun, Foothill Transit president. "The information collected by the scanner machines will be downloaded into a computer which will bill to a clearinghouse station and credit to the appropriate transit provider."
 "The Fare Debit Card incorporates added protection against counterfeiting," said Dave Ashcraft, transit director of Culver City Bus Lines. "It will be difficult to create fake magnetic encoded cards capable to work properly in the system."
 The fare debit card is currently used by rail transit services in the Bay Area and in Washington, D.C. Los Angeles will be the first county using the card as a universal method of fare payment for bus, rail and transfers.
 The system handles different fare levels for different companies and fare variation by time of day and day of week. This feature enables the system to accommodate the price variations of rail systems and bus companies and to handle discounts for seniors, disabled and students.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Michael Bustamante or Stephanie Brady of the LACTC Transportation News Bureau, 213-244-6591 or 213-244-6792~


CO: LACTC ST: California IN: SU: EH -- LA028 -- 1364 11~16~92 14:16 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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